As a pastor, I have been very careful not to way in on political candidates choosing rather to speak on the issues from a biblical worldview. However, this fascination with President Trump to the exclusion of biblical principle, morals and ethics is something I have watched and even grown disappointed with.
I completely understand the appeal of a man who has worked to protect some of the Christian values we hold dear. While he was not my first choice, I voted for him along with many other evangelicals because of his defense for the rights of the unborn and his stance on religious freedom. President Trump continues to hold the support of about seventy percent of evangelicals who want to make sure that their rights are safeguarded. Therefore, they will hold firm to make sure he is reelected.
But what is disturbing and disappointing is the blind eye that so many have when it comes to the President. It is as if we have ignored what the Bible says about righteousness and righteous leadership. The inconsistency, even hypocrisy, that is prevalent in the evangelical community is appalling. Many of the standards that we would expect of others, we do not expect of President Trump. Rather, we move into a frenzied defense of him on the basis of his political agenda. Once again, let me say that I am in agreement with the vast majority of the President’s policies. But that does not exclude me from calling him out on his behavior as a leader. Even more so, we should hold him to a higher standard because of his claim to be a Christian.
I have heard many say that he is a new Christian and that we need to give him grace as he grows in the Lord. I would agree if indeed he is a new Christian. But that in no way excuses him from basic human virtues that even a non-christian can exhibit. What has happened to the prophets of God that refuse to call our leaders to repentance? Instead we endorse ungodly behavior for political favor. When the prophets of old confronted the kings of old, they did so on the basis of morality and their behavior toward God. It was seldom if ever about policy and policy never kept the prophets from confronting the kings.
The church is supposed to be the prophetic voice of God today. Yet, we are so afraid of the left and their agenda that we are willing to accept anyone who faintly speaks our language. And when someone does confront the behavior or words of the president, many evangelicals lash out at those who would call our leader to account. Even to the point of aligning them with the other side. What has happened to us that we would display such behavior contrary to the Word of God?
I know all of the arguments. Some say we must support him because God put him into power. Of course, I support our President through prayer, and affirmation of the policies that are good and righteous. But I also support him by calling out those things that are wrong without excusing him blindly for political convenience. I do agree that God put him into office as God is sovereign over the affairs of men and nations. But God also put Barack Obama and Bill Clinton into office. And the evangelical church was quick to call them out on moral, ethical and political issues. We should do the same today with the fire and fervor displayed against past presidents that may or may not wear our political stripes.
The evangelical church believes that to speak honestly and directly about Trump’s inappropriate behavior, arrogant attitude and unwise speech is to strengthen the left. But this is not the political game that Christians are to be drawn into - carefully navigating around flaws and failures in order to maneuver power. We are to be a discerning people who then speak boldly and objectively where we see wrong and wrong doing. We cannot compromise the standards of God’s Word concerning morals, ethics, family values and authentic faith to fit our narrative - a political narrative.
I appreciate the policy stances that our president has taken on issues such as abortion, religious freedom, and the appointment of conservative judges. I also tend to see why God may have put President Trump into office. While some may think it was to restore our nation to its original foundations, I tend to think it was to test the church to see if it is as faithful to God’s standard of righteousness as it thinks it is. Will the evangelical church speak out against blatantly foolish and sinful actions rather than endorse and excuse them for personal gain?
The church is at a point where it can regain lost credibility by actually standing up for God’s Word no matter who is in office. Or it can continue to lose ground by putting forth a hypocritical and distorted view of Christianity.
We are followers of Christ first before we are Americans! Certainly I am proud to be American. I love my country, my nation. I pray for her and will stand to defend her, fight for her and even die for her. I pray for President Trump and long to see him become a man of God, not just a good man or a good president, but a man of God. Being a follower of Christ means that we will speak out when we see our leader not living up to his own declarations of faith.
President will come and go. Every four years when it is time to elect a president, it is said that this is the most important presidential election of our lifetime. Indeed they are all important! But there are some things more important - the exaltation of Christ Jesus, His Word and standard of righteousness, His kingdom and the new creation to come. May we not get so wrapped up in the temporal (politics, personalities, preferences, etc.) that we lose sight of what really matters! Yes, we work now until the day of the Lord comes, but let us do so with honor and integrity even if it means sounding the trump and speaking the truth in love!