Is Donald Trump the Christian President?

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There have been numerous things and will be numerous things written about the newly appointed President Donald Trump.  I have no desire to add to them – but I do want to deal with one question that has plagued my inbox for weeks – is Donald Trump the Christian President?

This question comes from two perspectives.  The hostile atheists and secularists take great delight in tweeting about a ‘far right, misogynistic, racist, sexual hypocrite, Christian (forgetting both his past as a New York, liberal Democrat and the sexual exploits of their hero JFK).  He is the ideal candidate for them to use to justify their hatred for Christians.

On the other hand there are Christians who think that Donald Trump is ‘our’ candidate, the one chosen and anointed by God.  The one who though he is flawed (the ‘we are all sinners’ card usually gets played at this point) is still far better than the alternative.  He is the Christian President.   The Spectator Podcast has a fascinating discussion on this.

Except it’s not as simple as that.  There are professing Christians who are strongly opposed to Donald Trump.   Perhaps not all are as silly as this church refusing to use his name in prayer in case it ‘triggers’ reaction, but there are more serious concerns. John Macarthur made clear his opposition to the ‘vulgar Trump’, as did Russell Moore of the Southern Baptists and many others.

Ah – but didn’t 80% of evangelicals vote for Trump?  Didn’t they do this partially because Trump appointed the clearly evangelical former Catholic Mike Pence as vice-President? Isn’t he beholden to Christians, and don’t most Christians support him?

So what can we say?   What is the answer to the question?

  1. Donald Trump is not a Christian –  So he cannot be the ‘Christian’ president in the sense that he is a Christian. He has given no evidence of having a real faith in Christ or shown any of the fruits (and as Christ said ‘you shall know them by their fruits’). As a Christian that is not a big issue for me regarding his role as president, although as a human being I do pray for his salvation.   I understand and rejoice in the fact that Mike Pence is a fine Christian with a real faith and understanding of the Scriptures.  That doesn’t necessarily make him a good politician, but I would hope he would be a Christian witness and moderating influence on the President.   Those Christians who voted against Bill Clinton because of his moral character and yet voted for Trump despite his moral character were hardly being consistent.

2) The majority of evangelicals did not vote for President Trump.   The 80% figure includes only those who voted, only whites (forgetting that many African-Americans and Hispanics and Asians are evangelicals) and includes as evangelicals many people who don’t even go to church – as this article from The Gospel Coalition explains.  However it is the case that the majority of white evangelicals in this broad sense who did vote, probably did vote for Trump.

3) Many Christians from different backgrounds did vote for President Trump –  but they will have done so for a variety of reasons.  Some cultural, some personal, some political.  Many did not like the alternative and they were not really given much choice.  They were also concerned about issues like the Supreme Court Judges, abortion and the fact that Hilary Clinton would have almost certainly limited religious freedom.   That however still does not make Donald Trump the Christian President. The fact that his policies were perceived to be less bad than the alternative is not much of an endorsement.

4) The ‘Christianity’ that supports Trump is often not Christian –   I don’t mean by this that real Christians don’t vote for Trump – many did, and for the reasons said above.  But many who profess to be Christian are either very loose in their Christianity or embrace heresies like the Prosperity Gospel.  See this about Paula White who was one of the appointed prayer leaders at the inauguration.  It may be that the Prosperity Gospel fits better with the gold of Trump towers than it does with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

5) God did not ordain Donald Trump as President, but he did ordain that Donald Trump should be President.    Spot the difference.  It’s not as though God said about Trump ‘he’s my man.  I choose him’.   But neither is it the case that the American electorate took God by surprise and now he’s on to plan B.  Often God ordains that we get the consequences of our own actions and wishes.   Because God can overrule any evil for good, does not mean that he approves of, or endorses the evil (please note I am not saying that Donald Trump is evil – at least no more than any other human being!).   If we had been talking about President Clinton the same would have applied.   We don’t know yet but it could be that God has ordained Trump for judgement – or mercy!

6) You cannot have a Christian President, but you can have a President who is a Christian.  What I mean is that Christianity is not an ethnic, political or social force.   We don’t vote for people just because they share our faith anymore than we choose a plumber because they share our faith.  I know its a little more complex than that, because of course in politics there are more values issues, but even so it is the case that you could be a good Christian and a bad politician, and a bad Christian and a good politician (Winston Churchill springs to mind!).  There are also many policies which Christians will have different views on – is there a Christian view on Brexit?  Or on how much tax we should pay?  Or on immigration?  Our Christian values will influence all of these, but the bible is not a political manual.  Thats why you can have Christians who are right-wing, left-wing and all the feathers in between!  Is Socialism Satanic? – Why has the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals gone all Political?

There is much more that could be said but the above makes clear – Donald Trump is not the Christian President. To those atheists and secularists who want to pin Trump on Christianity – please don’t.  Because it isn’t true.

To those evangelicals who have signed up as Trump supporters and endorsers – please stop it!  If you think Trump is the next David or Moses, or God-forbid, Christ, then you are in for a big let down. Support him in terms of praying for him, respecting him, praising him when he does what is right and challenging him when he does what is wrong.  But please don’t tie Christianity in with Donald Trump.  Our faith is in Christ, not in Trump, nor in any of our leaders.   And please let us not identify Christ with our politics.  You will note that I have said nothing here about President Trumps politics (although after this afternoons speech I have been sorely tempted!).  The reason is that although we are all perfectly entitled to have political views and to express them, we should not confuse them with the gospel.  Thats why I’ve said nothing about them here.  Our sole question is simply that of Trump as the Christian president.

As John Piper says in this Excellent Article

Followers of Christ are not Americans first. Our first allegiance is to Jesus, and then to the God-inspired word of Scripture, the Bible. This is our charter, not the U.S. Constitution.

To those who are fearful and confused.  Remember that God is sovereign –  as John Haldane the Catholic philosopher points out – God can work through and overrule so that Trumps presidency would be a blessing to America and to the world.   That is what we pray for.

Trump is not the Christian President, but he is the President, and as Christians we therefore respect him and pray for him.  We are not to be those who join in the general superior and snide mockery, we don’t believe everything we read in the media, and we don’t give into a spirit of despair.    Who knows but that though some meant it for evil, this day may yet turn out to be a day that God meant for good?!

Trump is on the Throne? Revelation ch.4

 

 


26 thoughts on “Is Donald Trump the Christian President?

  1. Point 5 will by-pass some Christians and almost all secularist.

    Point 6 I’d add this from Piper’s :
    “Today we will inaugurate a man to the presidency of the United States who is morally unqualified to be there. This is important to say just now because not to see it and feel it will add to the collapsing vision of leadership that enabled him to be nominated and elected.
    Not only that, but if we do not see and feel the nature and weight of this sorrow, we will not know how to pray for his presidency or speak as sojourners and exiles whose pattern of life is defined in heaven, not by the mood of the culture.”

    As for Piper’s leadership points, that is a Phd subject in itself, particularly political leadership, and effective leadership. Little equates with the Servant Leadership of our LORD, to extend Piper’s illustration, His Himalayan heights of humility.
    I once asked a business studies prof at a leading Russell Group University, also a Christian preacher, if leadership can be taught. The Americans think it can. but his view was that it couldn’t- it was a matter of character and integrity that others would follow, aspire to.

    Point 6 The passage of Piper quoted could also apply to Islam, so some distinction needs to be made. Christianity is not a political system.

    1. “Christianity is not a political system” – thanks, Geoff, that’s an important point to emphasise. To listen to the secularists spout their polemic, you’d think that Christianity was exactly the same as Islam, conveying with it the political system of Sharia Law. Mind you, most of them are so keen to pretend that there is no danger whatsoever in Sharia Law, that one wonders why they might bring up the issue in relation to Trump…after all, it’s all relative.

    1. If God had any hand in leading Trump to the presidency, he sure messed up. Either way, it’s not like that’s the first time in history. But who cares right, let’s just bow our heads humbly and accept God works in mysterious ways.

      1. Please do tell me how he does work then.

        I’m sure the many thousands of terminally ill infants would love to know too.

      2. If you would like to know then I am more than happy to tell you – but of course you are not really asking a genuine question, you are making a snide accusation. WHen you are ready to listen – I’m happy to oblige. Meanwhile I’ll give you a starter – he works through Christ

      3. I’d genuinely like to know.

        Just like the many thousands of condemned children would like to know why they don’t get to have a life.
        Or the animals bar the 2 of each species that were chosen for the ark.

      4. God doesn’t make mistakes. Well…… Maybe YOUR GOD does.
        The true God who created everything whether you believe it or not has quite a history of using unbelieving kings and rulers to protect Israel in the old testament. There is nothing new under the sun.

    2. I completely agree. The points were well spelt out and carefully addressed… Well done for such good analysis. I pray that Christ reign within us to help us discern issues.

  2. Thanks, David, for opening this up.

    I guess the helplessness many find as we look back on this result is that the alternative was no better, albeit it in different ways. Makes one more aware of the importance of praying for our own politicians and that the right people would be raised up to leadership – good leaders and, if they have a strong Christian faith, even better. But good leaders nonetheless.

  3. Thanks for thought provoking post, I kind of want to believe that Trump is at least a God fearing man but his past is too colourful. That said God can change people’s hearts and humble them. I was at a prayer meeting a couple of months ago and heard Teresa May refered to as ‘Your Child’ , in the context that she was a genuine Christian and had been chosen by God. I also heard the same sentiment expressed by a prominent Anglican at last year’s Keswick Convention. The problem for me is that at the Covention, I also attended a information session hosted by The Christian Institute. They spent about an hour explaining all the anti-Christian legislation and immoral laws that had been passed over the previous 5 years when Ms May was Home Secetary. Also when Cameron left office, he cited one of his biggest achievements being the introduction of gay marriage. I struggle to believe that our prime minister is a Christian just as much as Trump as they both appear to have no moral compass, based on what they have done in the past. Teresa May, may be a church goer but a Bible believing evangelical Christian, I doubt it. But I’m open to correction.

    1. I realized after I posted the above that I am effectively referring to two types of immorality. Donald Trump is a highly immoral man in regard to his personal life and arguably his business life and not fit to hold office. However whilst Teresa May appears to be a reasonable person, I don’t profess to know much about her except what she has done in government as Home Secetary, much of which I would consider immoral and anti-Christian. Suffice to say I have no faith in politicians!

  4. 1. Of course Trump is not a Christian. But he made the right noises and said the right things to get the Christian vote. He got endorsements from leading white Christians because he tickled them in the right way about their issues. Including the fact that he was solidly white.

    2. Not sure I agree with the GC analysis to be honest. And their credibility took a hit when they published that article that said it was a bad thing not to be critical of racist relatives. Although I suppose another way of looking at it from their perspective would be that a high number of white Evangelical Christians didnt oppose the xxxx and his other flaws like racism.

    3. Well yes. I suppose having a candidate who was the Goldman Sachs candidate wasn’t an alternative for those who dont really mind xxxxx racist candidate.

    4. I leave the who is the correct type of Christian arguments to Christians really.

    5. Apparently He ordains lots of things that are bad. Child rape. Childhood cancer etc. I suspect this is one of them.

    6. You may think that but few of your US colleagues would buy it. Republicanism and evangelical strands of Christianity have become entwined in areas of mutual convenience and hypocrisy. Both sides dont like abortion but neither side does an awful lot to help poor poor, ill and non-white babies when they are actually born. Also, neither side great on the idea of contraception to reduce unwanted pregnancies. I wonder, are there any evangelical churches involved in the sanctuary movement?

    “To those atheists and secularists who want to pin Trump on Christianity – please don’t. Because it isn’t true.”

    Well not Christianity itself (after all, I am married to a black Christian who goes to Church and prays and can recite the Nicene Creed but is afraid of Trump and afraid for the black people she knows in the US who are now under threat thanks to the votes of other Christians – the Sachs Candidate would not have placed them under threat. We have spoken to them and they are indeed afraid.) but your next paragraph certainly points out the Christians who supported and endorsed Trump. Its why I make reference to the White Evangelical Christians and not Christianity when I am critical of President xxxxxxx

    1. President Donald John Trump. The reason he went into politics is that he has a loan with Goldman Sachs and Company and other leading Wall Street investment firms. He was involved in Trump University and was looking for suckers to buy his real estate courses. He lost a ton of money doing that as the saying goes TAKERS GET TAKEN… So, he told his employees to get those suckers to buy and use their credit cards and then call them back and load them even more. In the end, President Trump got taken he lost to a tune of over $600 million dollars is what he owes the wall street firms. That is the reason he did not want show his tax returns because at this point a guy a homeless guy in the street is worth more than he is…He became President to make back all the money he lost through his boiler room CHOP SHOP Trump University classes. Trump is the equivalent of my ex bosses: Alan Greenberg Gordon Daly Grenadier Securites Broker Dealer Limited and Howard Rash and Alan Funt of Discovery Biotech Wellington Securities. President Trump is a ex boiler room CHOP SHOP owner. TAKERS GET TAKEN… Is he better than Hillary Clinton well he does not have the stigma that Hillary has of having robbed the state department of over $6 billion dollars. He is a smaller thieve and robber than the Clintons who are criminals. But, Trump is there in office to enrich his 1% percent friends. Trump will do the exact same thing that Reagan did which was to separate the Rich and Poor and widen the gap between them. The reason for this is that the Holy Bible is right that in the Last Days there will be RICH and POOR there will be no middle class. Is Trump a christian well the answer to that is that he was raised a Presbyterian but he is a Freemason and part of the Mafia which are thieves and robbers.

  5. I find myself becoming increasingly bored with this issue. We in the UK are obviously and greatly affected by what goes on in the USA but we – or at least I – bring no influence to bear on it, apart, of course, from prayer. The media have spent far too much airtime on the topic and rather than speculating and deliberating on what might or might not happen I do think we have our own problems to sort out. That said I remain eager to discover what Mr Trump does actually achieve but I see no point in trying to guess.

  6. 1. The alternative was in many ways worse. Post-partum abortion anyone?!
    2. I have it from someone who is close to things over there that there is some serious belief that on the night of the election something remarkable happened to Mr Trump, and his comments and behaviour since then have been of a different order to those before. Less the buffoon and potty-mouth, more a committed conservative politician. They saw this change after someone spent some time praying with him. Maybe, just maybe…..

    1. 1. Really – when and where was this on the table?
      2. Wishful thinking. Look at today. He attacked the media for showing official government photos. He lied, openly and without any shame. And his tweets have not been dulled since the election although they will be now as he doesnt have a mobile to tweet from (they give POTUS a special mobile). He may well become conservative in that he now has the power to be remarkably authoritarian.

  7. Donald Trump is CHOSEN by God. We’ve not seen evidence of the anointing yet. Although, Trump is on the right path, seeking GOD’s will for our country. The evidence is within Father GOD’s attributes, and how He Loves His children and hate sin. Trump is not going to put GOD’s judgement on us. GOD’s judgement falls upon those who deserve it, in GOD’s heart.

    God IS Pure Love, Pure Joy, Pure Peace. Those who seek GOD adopt His ways and His attributes. It’s a supernatural spiritual exchange that occurs within our conversations when you become a child of GOD, we are born of His Spirit. Our struggle is within learning to let go of our selfish ways to enjoy the freedom of The Truth of the Spirit. Therefore, we can have Heaven on earth that flows from the LORD through us and into our lives.

    John 10:10 ► Parallel Verses – What Jesus said about our lives …

    New International Version
    The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

    New Living Translation
    The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.

    English Standard Version
    The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.

    Berean Study Bible
    The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I have come that they may have life, and have it in all its fullness.

  8. The Gifts of the Spirit and the Fruit of the Spirit are both evidence of the LORD in us. GOD’s Gifts to us help us obtain the Fruits of His Spiritual attributes flowing through us – as we become a child of the One True God.

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