His name is a lightning rod. ⚡️
Whether you support his 2016 U.S. presidential candidacy or not, you probably have more visceral reaction to the mention of his name than to any other candidate. And now, his name and his campaign trail success is having another, albeit unintended, effect:
It’s making Americans wonder what it means to be a Christian.
Why is this?—Because so many people who self-identify as Evangelical are supporting him.
There was a time when the term Evangelical was nearly synonymous with the word Christian to millions of Americans. But now, as both political pundits and Evangelical leaders scratch their heads, Evangelical is a word in danger of taking on a new meaning: Sell Out. That is, it may be losing it’s meaning altogether.
Check out NPR’s fascinating March 3rd report on this issue: Evangelical Leaders Question Movement’s Support Of Trump (3:53 audio)
To me, a self-identifying Christian*, it’s no wonder. For, Evangelicalism has been a movement declining into theological chaos for well over a generation now. Where there was once a primary concern for creating an Evangelical identity and discipleship rooted in biblical and theological study, there is now a greater concern for relevance, marketing, and success measured in numbers. In short, the Evangelical church in America has sold its identity birth-right for a pot of beans. So now, Evangelical may simply mean that your daddy sent you VBS, or that you had a particular spiritual experience, or that you used to go to church more when your kids weren’t so busy with sports leagues on Sunday.
We must ask, if Evangelical Joe or Jane haven’t studied the Bible, haven’t been rightly taught the foundations and implications of the biblical faith, and aren’t committed to regular congregational discipleship and worship, (that is to say, if they are simply examples of Ameri-christianity), then is it any wonder that they are more products of the American consumeristic instinct for self-rule and self-faith and self-defined world view? And what’s more, is it any wonder they would cast their vote for someone who is cast from the same mold?
I’m not surprised.
*Full disclosure: My personal and theological commitments are to Jesus Christ as my Lord, and to the Father who sent Him for my rescue, and to the Spirit who unites me to the Holy Trinity, and to the tradition of Reformation Christianity that brought attention back to the gospel Jesus preached. My thoughts on what defines Christian Faith and Christians can be found here:
7 thoughts on “Donald Trump and Christian Identity”
If you look at the history of this country who were the “Christian” presidents? The election of 2012 was over Obamacare, and it didn’t matter whether Mitt Romney or Obama was elected….the socialization of healthcare was going to be forced on Americans. The election of 2016 is over immigration and the trade deals. Sen. Jeff Sessions, the only senator who even bothered to read the TPP, has tutored Trump over the past year on both issues, and has now endorsed Trump. Phyllis Schlafly of the Eagle Forum has endorsed Trump, because of immigration and the trade deals, and has mentioned Sen. Sessions.”So many people are fed up with the king-makers. People want someone who will stand up for America.” Don’t tell me that Sen. Sessions and Phyllis Schlafly don’t know what they are doing, are “suckers”, etc. You also personally know that I am not an “evangelical”, but a Reformed confessional Christian. I am voting for Donald J. Trump.
I will note that I am making a list of the evangelicals that have come out to tell Christians not to vote for Trump, such as Russell Moore. Perhaps he isn’t happy that his political power isn’t what it used to be? Max Lucado tells me not to vote for Trump because of “decency.” I watched Lucado’s 1999 National Prayer Breakfast speech with President Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton within inches of Lucado. The first thought that comes to my mind about the Clintons is not decency. “Jesus cleanses our mistakes?” “We should search and find the goodness that God has placed in each person.” That’s not biblical Christianity. That’s not the gospel.
When you come across the arguments being made to not vote for Trump, notice they will not mention the open borders and the trade deals. This is why Americans, young and old; white, black, brown; Republicans and Democrats, are voting for Trump.
Hello, You may have noticed that I did not make an argument against Mr Trump in my post. My own reasons for not voting for him are not the ones you list in your comment, but I will not give it here. This is because Average Us is not a political blog. The point of this post was to comment on the state of Evangelical and Christian identity on America, not Mr. Trump’s candidacy. I welcome you to comment on the point of the post if you want to share your opinion on that.
really good post
My opinion on this post? ” His name and his campaign trail success is having another, albeit ,unintended effect: It’s making Americans wonder what it means to be Christian.” If you are voting for Trump you can’t possibly be anything but a person who hasn’t read the Bible or attends worship services every Lord’s day? You can write a post about your opinion of the state of the evangelical world, but don’t use voting for Trump as a basis for your reasoning.
Thanks for a good, relevant comment.
I appreciate this thoughtful approach. It’s the hijack of evangelicalism.
While Scripture must guide our politics, many evangelicals now confuse conservative politics for the Gospel. We operate in the world, yes, but ultimately we belong to an eternal kingdom.
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