When combing through history, and even theology, it becomes readily apparent that the word “God” doesn’t always refer to the God of the Bible. Case in point, for many Republicans, the motto “In God We Trust” could be better translated “In America We Trust.” Burrowing down even further, many in 2017 actually mean “In Donald Trump We Trust” when quoting our nation’s motto. One of the consequences of the rise of Donald Trump to the presidency is that many professing Christians have been revealed as placing their faith in someone other than Jesus.
The old gospel song that states, “This world is not my home, I’m just passing through” holds much truth for Christians. According to 1 Peter 2:11, Christians are “sojourners and exiles” in this world. We have a better home, a better country, and a better King; our affections should be directed towards Jesus and the new heavens and new earth.
Ironically, and sadly, many professing Christians have allowed the material blessings they enjoy in the here and now to cause them to take their eyes off of Jesus. Conflating the exceptionalism of America with the coming blessings of the eschatological Kingdom of God, the label of “Christian” has become synonymous with “patriotism,” and “God” is now whatever or whoever will ensure that the status quo of comfort and ease are left intact. Christians in America are often guilty of finding their identity in an earthly country instead of in Jesus.
The thing is, the true God and true Christianity are under attack in this country. The status quo that Christians in America have enjoyed is slipping away. Broader American society is quickly becoming dominated by anti-biblical sexuality, and anyone who questions the new dogma finds himself facing a mob attempting to push him out of the public square. Our government sanctions the murder of babies. The love of money runs rampant. America is not a Christian nation, and true Christians are discovering that broader society doesn’t want us here.
In the face of growing persecution, cultural Christians, in an attempt to save their man-centered culture, embraced a wicked man in Donald Trump during last year’s presidential election. A man who made his money off the broken souls of gamblers and the objectification of women became the savior for many in this country who profess to be Christians. A man who openly brags about his sexual exploits and who is vulgar and treats almost everyone with disrespect and contempt has become the face of American evangelicalism. A man who has no respect for self-denial is now lifted up as a hero by many professing Christians.
Even now, as multiple women have come forward detailing the sexual abuse they suffered at the hands of our current president, the wagons are being circled by Trump’s evangelical supporters. Never mind that the accusations against Donald Trump match up perfectly with what he’s bragged about doing. Hiding behind “locker room talk” to support our Predator in Chief is about as disingenuous and intellectually dishonest as you can get.
It is incredibly difficult for an individual who is serious about following Jesus to excuse and/or support Donald Trump.
With all of that said, broader American evangelicalism’s support of Donald Trump may be a blessing in disguise.
A reckoning is probably coming for those of us who follow Jesus in America. As America continues its slide into Sodom and Gomorrah levels of degradation, the last vestiges of cultural Christianity will crumble away. In the face of growing persecution, those who are Christian in name only will roll over and reveal that they never truly followed Jesus. Those left who still faithfully cling to the name of Christ and are producing the fruit of true faith will see the unfruitful branches culled away from the Church, to reference the Apostle Paul’s words of Romans 12:22. To put it another way, using Matthew 25, Jesus’ true sheep will be separated out from the goats.
Those who are placing their identity in America and their faith in Donald Trump are being revealed as fraudulent. They have given proof that followers of King Jesus cannot depend on them to take seriously the call to pursue holiness. They’ve signaled that when push comes to shove, they will abandon the truths of the Bible in order to preserve their own comfort.
Donald Trump has done Christians in America a service by exposing those who are merely cultural Christians. Distinguishing the faithful from the faithless helps us to better know how to pray for people, and it also helps us know whom we can rely on when true persecution comes to Christians in America.