My #NeverTrump position has been altered. Yesterday, Dr. James Dobson reported that Donald Trump has accepted Christ as his savior. For those who don’t speak Christianeze, Dobson is claiming that Donald Trump is now an evangelical Christian. I have no way of knowing if it’s actually true, but I sincerely pray that it is. The potential (and hope) for the report’s truth, however, has caused me to reassess my #NeverTrump position.
In an interview after a meeting with evangelicals in New York City, Dr. Dobson told those in attendance that he personally knows the individual who led Donald Trump to Christ. Dobson added, “I don’t know when it was, but it has not been long. I believe he really made a commitment, but he’s a baby Christian.”
Skeptics have already come out of the woodwork calling Trump’s sincerity into question. Posts are popping up in my social media newsfeeds quoting the verse “by their fruit you will know them” in reference to Trump’s purported conversion. Since the news broke, I’ve had several conversations with friends who doubt that it’s true. For them, it smacks of a shrewd political move designed to give evangelicals a reason to vote for Donald Trump in November.
I get all of that. I mean, I understand the skepticism, but I refuse to join in. For me, as a Christian, I rejoice whenever sinners humble themselves before God in faith, repent of their sins, and place their hope in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. I’m not claiming that those who are skeptical aren’t happy at the salvation of sinners, but for my own heart, I want to assume that a profession of faith is genuine until proven otherwise. And that applies to Donald Trump, a man that I’ve excoriated here, here, and here, among other places.
My hope isn’t naïve though, and I temper my joy at the salvation of a sinner with the realization that it may indeed be false. It may very well prove to be a political stunt. But until that happens, I will thank God and continue to pray for Trump.
With that in mind, I’ve had to confront myself about my #NeverTrump position.
Prior to this news, I was #NeverTrump for a variety of reasons, most of which were directly connected to his integrity, obvious love of sin, and his unwillingness to humble himself. Well, if Donald Trump is now a Christian, my perspective on Donald Trump’s character does change. In seeking salvation that can only be found in Jesus Christ, Trump has humbled himself; he’s acknowledged that he is a sinner in need of help. And, as a Christian, he’s now indwelt by the Holy Spirit and is being sanctified for the glory of God. As a Christian, Donald Trump will begin to become more like Jesus and less like Trump.
Trump’s sanctification is the reason that I’ve had to reevaluate my #NeverTrump position. If Donald Trump has truly accepted Jesus as his savior, then Dr. Dobson is correct: Donald Trump is a baby Christian. And as a baby Christian, Trump’s priority needs to be growing in grace and the knowledge of God. Becoming the president of the United States, with all of its attendant duties, stresses, and temptations, will not help Trump as he begins his new life in Christ. The distractions and temptations that will come with being president are not advisable for a brand new Christian.
Think about it: Trump is known for being filled with self-love and pride, for loving power, and for using his power for selfish gain at the expense of others. Being president of the United States will result in a constant temptation for Trump to revert back to his self-loving ways.
Instead, Donald Trump needs to join a church that preaches the gospel of Jesus Christ, understands the importance of holiness in the life of believers, and is willing to do the hard work of investing time and energy into the discipling of new Christians. Donald Trump needs to place himself under the expositional preaching of the Bible and the authority of a biblically qualified pastor. Trump needs to dedicate his time and energy to learning who God is as revealed in the Bible.
Donald Trump is still not getting my vote, but I will now be refraining from voting for him out of love for someone who may be my brother in Christ. My reason for my #NeverTrump position is no longer because I believe that he is evil and will be a disaster for this country. I now hold my #NeverTrump position because I believe that Christians should place the sanctification of fellow believers over and above any other concerns. Come November, I will not be voting for Donald Trump—for the sake of his sanctification.