Therefore Pilate entered again into the Praetorium, and summoned Jesus and said to Him, “Are You the King of the Jews?” Jesus answered, “Are you saying this on your own initiative, or did others tell you about Me?” Pilate answered, “I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests delivered You to me; what have You done?” Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm.” Therefore Pilate said to Him, “So You are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say correctly that I am a king. For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.”
- John 18:33-37
Contrary to the likely belief of redcaps I know, I don't have any issue or problem with Christian pastors praying for Donald Trump's salvation. To the contrary, all true Christians should do so. We're commanded in I Timothy 2:1-4 to offer "entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings....on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity." It would be wrong not to uphold this, or any, president in our supplicative times in communion with the LORD. In the same way, it is a good and right thing for the man who has repeatedly proclaimed he "doesn't need forgiveness" to be surrounded by godly men who can and will counsel and disciple him and lead him to saving faith in Jesus Christ. I pray that is happening, and that Trump will someday heed the conviction of the Holy Spirit and accept the gift of forgiveness and spiritual birth that the Messiah paid for with his precious blood on Calvary.
I say that POTUS has not yet taken this step because he still, to this day, does not display the fruit of the Spirit described in Galatians 5:22-23: "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law." Such things are also virtually never in evidence in Donald Trump's public persona and behavior, which is marked and typified by most of their antitheses listed in verses 19-21: "Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God." Toss out sorcery and drunkenness, and all the other traits are Trump trademarks. Immorality, impurity, sensuality, and carousing could be summed up in the Stormy Daniels affair alone, before one even gets to his conga line of wives and concubines and "grab 'em by the pussy" and "the clap was my personal Vietnam" and banging chicks in the room down the hall from his pregnant wife and now First Lady. His narcissistic personality disorder and supremely excessive self-reverence falls under idolatry. And a cursory monitoring of his Twitter feed will provide enough enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, and envying to last a lifetime of lifetimes. I suppose it's statistically possible that the "private Trump," if there is such a thing, is the mirror opposite of the "public Trump," which would beg the question of why the former would want the latter to be his witness to the world. But there's not a shred of evidence that such a "private Trump" has ever existed, or that he is any less unsaved than he was three years ago when his quest for power and the ultimate ego gratification was launched.
Donald Trump, in short, while willed by God to be president of the United States in this time (just as Barack Obama was before him, don't forget - as divine judgments against America per the departures laid out in Romans 1:21-32, in my firm opinion), is not "God's man," nor is he any "man of God". He is a lost sinner still wandering in the darkness, self-convinced that he's the fountain of light.
And judging by how many one-time Christian leaders have bowed the knee to, morally compromised with, and circled the wagons around the 45th president, seduced by the siren lure of partisan tribalism and worldly power, it sure appears to me like it's Trump who is influencing and leading astray these one-time godly men rather than the reverse.
The roster is dismayingly large - John Hagee, Robert Jeffress, Jerry Falwell, Jr., James Dobson. But the one whose name I never would have believed would ever be found there is Billy Graham's son.
Franklin Graham has made his "conversion" to Trumpism pretty unambiguous in unfortunate public statements, but his most recent gambit to thoroughly politicize the Gospel has taken it to another level:
Rebuking "progressive" as "just another word for godless," evangelical Franklin Graham is organizing a grassroots campaign for conservative votes against the "blue wall" in California, according to theNew York Times.
Despite its deep blue voting pattern, California is a State with one in five evangelical Christians and more megachurches than any other State, according to the Pew Research Center, per the Times.
"The church just has to be wakened," Graham, considering himself a modern-day Paul Revere, told the Times. "People say, what goes in California is the way the rest of the nation is going to go. So, if we want to see changes, it is going to have to be done here.
". . . All of California is like a university town now. But you are beginning to see a groundswell of revolt out here. Orange County, San Diego County, are beginning to take on Governor [Jerry] Brown. It's good for Christians to capitalize on that. So, yah, we could help turn the tide."
Graham is pushing for those with Christian values to run for city council, mayor, or any other level of government to help stem California's blue wave.
"We're tired of being stepped on," Felix Martin del Campo told the Times. "Only as we change the heart of the people of California can California go red again."
First of all, Graham is delusional if he thinks the Aculpulco Golden State can ever be flipped "red" again. That ship sailed thirty years ago with the 1986 immigration amnesty. California is only slightly less "blue" than Venezuela. His time would be better spent trying to keep the Rust Belt "red," since that area's partisan allegiance is far more tenuous.
However, as a Christian pastor, his time would be best spent by remembering the mission to which the LORD called him in the first place. All Christians are to be, first, foremost, and always, ambassadors for Christ. Disciples. Joyful and humble spreaders of the Good News. Reflectors and transmitters of His image and holiness. Leaders in and of the Church have correspondingly greater responsibilities along these lines ("From everyone who has been given much, much will be required; and to whom they entrusted much, of him they will ask all the more." - Luke 12:48) in watching over and guiding their congregations - "flocks," if you will - biblically on Christ's behalf. And nowhere in Scripture do I find any Christian doctrine or teaching that exhorts clergymen to set aside the preaching of the Gospel to instead lead grassroots political campaigns. It's not a question of whether or not Graham is correct in equating "progressivism" with godlessness. For the record, he's right about that. It's a question of why he is not trying to reach godless "progressives" with the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, both by preaching it and by living it. Because that is both his job and his divine commission.
If Franklin Graham wishes to resign from the pulpit and become a reactionary political activist, that is his choice and right and he's free as the wind to do so. Frankly, he'd be more honest about his new "faith" if he did. But if he wishes to remain a Christian pastor, to not bring his own professed faith into question (any more than he has already) by this detour into overt worldliness and the moral compromises he's made to defend Donald Trump's serial moral transgressions rather than rebuking them and appealing to the president to repent and come to the LORD for His forgiveness and the Holy Spirit's regenerating power, then he needs to get his priorities straight, repent of his own waywardness, and "return to his first love [and] do the deeds [he] did at first" (Revelation 2:4-5).
I hope and pray he does. After all, he's got a godless progressive in the White House to reach, too.