Donald Trump and Christian Identity

Donald Trump.

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.

Saddened? Yes.

Surprised? No.


*Full disclosureMy 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:

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Why Do You Believe?

In this age where many Christians are constantly looking for some new experience, new purpose, new word from the Lord, or new touch of God, we often forget that what is old is what lasts. It’s the good old Bible that God inspired and preserved for millenia to show us what we should believe about Him, how we can be belong to Him, and how to experience his favor and blessing in the midst of a troubled world.

Here’s a super helpful, four minute animation produced by the White Horse Inn describing  why it’s important for Christians to know what they believe, and why they believe it. I hope you enjoy this video. BTW, the White Horse Inn is my favorite podcast. I highly recommend it for those of you who are looking to understand, obey, and hope in the ancient text better than you do toay.

Grace to you, Lon

 

She Needed to Know: Is Jesus Pro-Women?

Dawn and I recently had a conversation about feminism with a young woman we have known and cared about for a long time.

The topic centered around how society had made this young woman feel “less than…” and how she felt that the ideals of feminism defended her value as a woman.

She identified “society” as anything and anyone (male or female, Christian or non-) who made her feel she had to look or act a certain way to be valued as a person. Whether it was pressure to look sexy in heels, or to like pink or dolls, or to not like math and science, the pressure was real to her.

Dawn and I spoke at length with her about this. Through the conversation it was evident that the pressure she felt took an emotional toll on her. It caused her pain. And we tried to be supportive.

The next day, reflecting on the conversation, I realized that we hadn’t told her one, very important thing.

THE thing, really.

So I wrote her this note.

Perhaps some of you need to hear this as well.


Dear _______,

It’s evident from what you said last night, that the environment you live in pressures you to believe that to be a woman is to be “less than…”

I understand the reality of what you sense. It’s wrong. And it’s sad. Because it’s not true.

And…

The best response I can think of is the gospel of Jesus Christ:

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.—Galatians 3:28-29

The idea that all of humanity, regardless of gender (or rank, or ethnicity), is equally valuable by God’s measure and equally heirs of God’s promised blessing was radical in the ancient world.

And it is the foundation of the best view of ourselves.

⟩ The extent to which our culture pressures women with “You are less than…” is the extent to which our culture has rejected the gospel of God’s unmerited favor toward women.

⟩ The extent to which women feel the need to assert “I am not less than…” is the extent to which they have not understood or embraced the gospel of God’s immeasurable value of them.

⟩ The extent to which christians or the church pressure women to feel “less than…” is the extent to which they have twisted or betrayed the gospel of God’s unconditional love toward women.

I glimpsed your emotion about this matter and I’m sorry. I can’t fix society or the church for you, but I can unashamedly recommend that embracing the gospel fully, is the best means of finding true liberty to be a woman who is never “less than…”

The gospel assures us that God embraces your value as a woman.

I hope there is some light in that for you.