For the Sake of Christ, Trump and Pastor Jeffress Must Be Rebuked

These equivocations aren't helping President Trump find Christ, and they do lasting damage to the church's mission here.

This is exactly what I knew was going to happen. Three weeks ago I wrote a column begging my fellow Christians, and particularly those who are recognized as Christian “leaders,” to stop covering for President Trump’s moral indiscretions, his philandering, and adultery. Supporting his policies when they are good for our people does not preclude you from being explicitly clear and unambiguous in expressing disgust over the president’s unrepentant moral failings.

As expected, I took in a fair amount of criticism suggesting that I was “unfairly holding President Trump to a standard of perfection,” that I was “muddying the waters” and “playing into the left’s hands” by dredging up past mistakes just to take away from all the good the man was doing today. I was even told that “no Christian leader is overlooking Trump’s adultery or his immorality.”

And yet, three weeks later, here we are:

“A pastor closely linked to Donald Trump said he’s against sex with adult film stars but isn’t holding the alleged affair with Stormy Daniels against the president. ‘Evangelicals still believe in the commandment: Thou shalt not have sex with a porn star,’ Robert Jeffress told Fox News on Thursday. ‘However, whether this president violated that commandment or not is totally irrelevant to our support of him.’”

Totally irrelevant? Does a man like Pastor Jeffress not even pause to consider what those words sound like to an unbeliever? Is he not even slightly alarmed at the possibility that such a statement will subject the name of Christ to public disgrace? If not, why not?

Keep in mind, Pastor Jeffress didn’t always take this kind of attitude of irrelevance to the moral qualifications of a presidential candidate. Never mind the condemnation of Bill Clinton’s infamous dalliances. Here was Jeffress opposing the candidacy of Mitt Romney, a Mormon, in 2008:

“Christians need to remember that the kingdom of God is not going to come riding in on Air Force One…The danger in all of this discussion is that Christians sometimes are willing to sacrifice the temporal for the eternal, that in order to get their candidate elected, to enact those laws that they feel are crucial, somehow we fool ourselves into thinking we are going to bring about the kingdom of God here on earth. We are not going to do that. I’m not willing to trade people’s eternal destiny for some temporary change in the law.”

Apparently Jeffress has made a calculated decision to ignore his own counsel from 2008. Why? Could it be the personal invitations to the White House, the high profile prestige that comes from his personal association with the King? Aren’t Christians supposed to forgo all those trappings of earthly power for the sake of proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus?

Don’t misunderstand, I have no issues with – in fact, I applaud – Christian statesmen having the ear and exerting influence on our elected leaders if and only if those statesmen are servants of Christ and not pawns of a president. Those who would sully the eternal riches of true salvation in order to receive their 30 pieces of silver in the West Wing are damaging our efforts to build the Kingdom of God. And to answer the question asked of me by a number of Trump-supporting Christians, that’s “my big problem.” Refusal to distinguish between appreciation for certain legislative accomplishments and a moral ambiguity regarding the president’s personal conduct is reprehensible.

To put it plainly, these equivocations are not helping President Trump find Christ, and they do lasting damage to the cause of Christ in our culture.

Comments
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Alex Wilson
Alex Wilson

Much of this was addressed in the run up to the election,

Specifically regarding the assertion that Trump is a Christian now, those claims all trace back to Paula White, who teaches the heretical "Prosperity Gospel" that is antithetical to the teachings of Christ and the apostles. (http://thefivepilgrims.com/2016/06/29/more-information-on-donald-trumps-alleged-conversion/)

Also keep in mind that following Trumps alleged conversion, he still had a profound misunderstanding of the Gospel making the truth of the claims doubtful. Specifically when he was asked about repentance he said, "Why do I have to repent or ask for forgiveness, if I am not making mistakes? I work hard, I'm an honorable person." Someone who has a true understanding of Christianity would understand that repentance and forgiveness is a central and necessary component of saving Faith in Christ. ( https://www.christianpost.com/news/trump-why-do-i-have-to-repent-or-ask-for-forgiveness-if-i-am-not-making-mistakes-video-141856/ )

As for why I'm in a position to judge Trump, the moment he claimed to be a believer he opened himself up to that kind of criticism. As Paul commanded the Corinthian church:
"I wrote to you in a letter not to associate with sexually immoral people. I did not mean the immoral people of this world or the greedy and swindlers or idolaters; otherwise you would have to leave the world. But now I am writing you not to associate with anyone who claims to be a believer who is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or verbally abusive, a drunkard or a swindler. Do not even eat with such a person. For what business is it of mine to judge outsiders? Don’t you judge those who are inside? But God judges outsiders. Put away the evil person from among yourselves." (1 Corinthians 5:9-13)
If Trump were to stop calling himself a Christian OR if were to repudiate his previous statements that he didn't have any need to repent, then I would be willing to welcome him as a Brother in Christ, but so long as he holds to the mutually exclusive positions that he is a Christian with no need to repent, I'll continue to oppose any attempts by Christians to dismiss his immorality.

Also as an aside, even if his conversion is genuine, the presidency is the last place we want a new believer who doesn't yet have strong roots facing the temptations that come from wielding that kind of power. As a writer at The Five Pilgrims put it prior to the election:
"You can’t take a toddler, throw him into a den of wolves, and expect things to turn out alright. You could, perhaps, throw the child to the wolves as a distraction to save yourself, but we would agree that would be wrong–period. Baby Christians are no different. They need time to grow in their faith before they are seriously tested...many Christians in fact seem eager to throw Trump between themselves and a government they feel might devour them–without any real regard for what it might do to him.

Therefore, if Trump is now indeed a Christian (and I truly hope he is), the best thing we could hope for him would be to withdraw from the election [now that he's elected, resign the presidency]. He needs to seek serious and regular spiritual instruction with no immediate timeline to re-enter public life. The fact that some are so excited to see him do otherwise shows far more concern for their own skins than for the eternal soul of Donald Trump."
( http://thefivepilgrims.com/2016/10/16/havent-you-heard-trump-is-a-baby-christian-now/ )

TimThomas
TimThomas

Editor

Ragan Ewing for the win.

DC1776
DC1776

I am a Christian. I attend church weekly. I am well aware of the accusations against President Trump. I still support him strongly. Because A) I have yet to find a political candidate who is a perfect human, B) I find the liberal side’s beliefs and actions far more offensive, C) I am accountable to God for my personal sins and failures, not anyone else’s

Katherine
Katherine

Christians have certainly said some silly things that soil their testimony. To say that we simply overlook adultery in a leader is worse than silly. However if we are to have any voice in public life at all, we will vote for, we will even campaign for sinful candidates whose platforms give us hope that our values for our nation will be upheld. We must be part of public life. We must speak, and it seems to me that the voices who cry for tolerance would be silent when we say that we vote for the best values in the marketplace rather than insist on perfection. It is Satan's glee to assault us for being judgmental and assault us simultaneously for being tolerant.