It makes me so sad to see Evangelicals heaping praise upon Donald Trump and abusing the Bible to do so. “You will know them by their fruits” (Matthew 7) has to be one of the most misused texts of Scripture in our day. Politicians and their supporters use it to tell Christians to look past the commandment-breaking lifestyle of their choice for President, as if Jesus taught that someone’s doing some benevolent things in addition to blatantly evil things was sufficient proof of authentic faith.
The Lord Jesus, honoring the structure and content of the ten commandments, placed the command to love the true and living God with all that we are before the command to love our neighbor as ourselves (Matthew 22:37-40). The Savior, unlike many who claim him as Lord during election season, never severs the second table of the law from the first, nor therefore should Christian voters do so as we seek proof of a politician’s claim to be a Christian.
The dichotomy between private faith and public policy is false, and these politicians know it. Otherwise, why would they court Christian votes by constantly professing their faith publicly right before a primary boasting many evangelical voters? The Apostle John gives us an often neglected proof of faith, one which must be understood alongside and as advancing the same truth that Jesus preaches in Matthew 7. John tells us in 1 John 4 not to believe every profession of faith. True faith confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh and that he is from God. The same Apostle opens his gospel by proclaiming that Jesus is God and closes his book with eyewitness accounts of that same Savior’s physical resurrection from the dead.
Wouldn’t it be wonderfully revealing if debate moderators asked all the “Christian” candidates if they really believed all that, had really renounced their sins and would really be willing to give up their lives (and maybe even their shot at being President) for the sake of those truths? The very least the moderators could do is to raise the social issues which so often fall silent when talk of terrorism and borders abounds, as if our beliefs on social issues have nothing to do with the socio-political crises besetting us. That’s another expression of the same false dichotomy between faith and practice which keeps getting “Christian” politicians elected and exonerated by Christians happy to ignore their favorite politician’s ungodly policies and personal practices.
The most distressing thing about Mr. Trump’s public professions of faith is not his calling 2 Corinthians “Two Corinthians.” What’s most galling is that he claims personal Christian faith while he personally supports businesses which abuse people for profit (casinos and their related ventures of vice), talks so crudely about and to particular women who vex him, and viscerally berates anyone who dares to oppose his rise to Presidential power. Perhaps some of the Christian voter anger which he wants to personify and upon which he means to capitalize should be turned instead toward his implicitly dragging the name of Jesus through the political mud (slinging) of his tweets and the moral muck of some of his speeches and business endeavors.
Please God, grant us honesty among politicians, discernment among voters, and mercy upon this nation.