How Christians REALLY Feel About Donald Trump

This election cycle has been something else, I’ll give you that. It has looked more like reality tv than a political race. Indeed, the last Republican debate seemed more like a wild west shootout, with the exception that the gunslingers used angry words in place of six-shooters.

And through the smoke and chaos of the OK Corral (or the cause of it?) emerges one candidate who has consumed the political landscape.

donald-duck-973226_1920The Donald.

No, this post won’t be an evaluation or critique of the man and his policies. Rather, I’d like to look at how Christians feel about him and respond to him and to his message. So, doing what I like to do, I took to social media to ask a simple question:

As a Christian Republican, if Donald Trump becomes the Republican nominee:

a) I will vote Trump
b) I will vote Democrat
c) I will not vote at all

The results of roughly 130 people (yes, yes, I’m not some big-time pollster) have been counted and tallied – there are not more hanging chads to argue about. This was the basic breakdown.

~ 41% said they would vote for Trump.
~ 20% said they would vote Democrat.
~ 39% said they would not vote at all.

Of course, Facebook responders also responded with several lengthy dissertations on why Conservatives are God’s chosen people. And other responders had lengthy dissertations on why Trump is the devil incarnate. What it really comes down to is recognizing that there is no monolithic Christian perspective when it comes to the presidential candidates.

I know fervent Christians who will be voting for The Donald.
I know fervent Christians who will be voting for other Republicans.
I know fervent Christians who will be voting for Bernie Sanders.

I haven’t met any fervent Christians who claim Hillary, so if you’re out there, drop me a line and let’s chat – you must exist somewhere in the Cosmos, and I’d like to hear your perspective.

white-house-451544_1920The point is this: though we have a say in electing our government officials (which is more than many Christians through history could say), a lot of us are going to not have our candidate of choice be the next leader.

And that’s okay. Or it should be.

Ultimately it comes down to trusting God to manage the affairs of the world no matter what human is running the show. In an era of the Roman Empire, where Christians were a persecuted minority, the Apostle Paul wrote:

Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. (Romans 13:2-4)

If Paul can urge Christians on to good conduct in spite of the authority at the helm of the government, should we do any less? Sometimes we act as if we, as American Christians, are above the biblical call behave decently even towards those with whom we radically disagree. We treat political opposition in a vile manner. It’s like the presidential candidates who pretend to be God-fearing evangelicals in order to win the evangelical vote yet are horrible to each other on the debate stage, acting in ways that do NOT honor Christ.

This isn’t supposed to be who we are. Our politics are not supposed to trump (low-case “t”) our faith. We can rise above the political muck and mire and still treat people decently. We don’t have to name-call. We don’t have to slander. We don’t have to rail against people.

We can live out a Christ-like faith in a God who is in control of human history, even when things seem dark and desperate. At least, that’s how I interpret WWJD.

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How about you? Did you vote in our poll? How do you respond to the candidates?

A Church That Loves Politics More than It Loves Jesus

I enjoy following politics. I really enjoy political races for office. I believe that citizens in a democratic republic (like America, if you didn’t know what we are) have a duty to cast votes and play an active role in the political process. It is the primary means by which we hold our leaders accountable and shape the vision and future of our society.

I enjoy my faith. I really enjoy Jesus. I believe that citizens of God’s kingdom (all of those who claim to follow Jesus) have a duty to be loyal to Jesus and play an active role in the life of God’s kingdom. This necessitates we understand the breadth and scope of Jesus’s life, mission, and call to those of us who follow him.

One of my favorite stories from Jesus’s life takes place during a visit to the temple. Jesus sees a bunch of merchants and vendors trying to make a profit selling sacrificial animals to worshipers traveling from out of town. The mark-up would have been considerable, and the vendors were there not so much to help those who needed to offer sacrifices, but to line their own wallets with cold, hard cash.

This was simply unacceptable to Jesus, and he goes ballistic. He starts flipping over tables and driving out the cattle and animals, jesus-clears-the-temple

and He would not permit anyone to carry merchandise through the temple. And He began to teach and say to them, “Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations’? But you have made it a robbersden.” (Mark 11)

Then this week I saw a very interesting phenomenon.

During the Iowa Caucus, I saw many churches that had opened their doors and had become caucus voting locations. Pews were filled with voters carrying flags, buttons, and banners promoting their favorite candidate.

It got me thinking…

I’m pretty sure Jesus would visit these church caucus sites in Iowa and start flipping over pews and tables…

No, it’s not wrong for Christians to engage in politics. I think it’s a GOOD thing to do.

What I have a problem with is people turning our sacred spaces into political grounds. How can we worship Jesus and worship candidates at the same time? How can our sanctuaries be converted to multi-purpose rooms used for secular political activity? I’m not cool with it.

Our call as Christians is to influence and change culture, not let culture influence and change us. One of my favorite Ed Stetzer quotations goes something like this:

When you mix faith and politics you get politics.

This is what I see happening during this election cycle. Don’t let it.

Yes, vote. Yes, get election-978904_1920involved in the political process. Yes, make sure the right candidate takes office.

No, don’t mix the two. Jesus doesn’t ride beside our politics. He needs to be above our politics. Because he’s the Lord of Republicans AND Democrats…heck, even of the Socialists. Jesus supersedes politics.

Don’t get caught up in the political movement and sacrifice our sacred spaces and our very faith.

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What do you think? Are you okay with churches being voting locations? How do you respond to the blending of faith and politics?

Religion + Politics = Politics

Ed Stetzer once said something along the lines of: “When you mix religion and politics you get politics.”

While I am a big believer in Christians engaging in government through running for office and exercising our right to vote, I am an even BIGGER believer in keeping government OUT of faith.

I am a patriot, and proudly put on my uniform as a Chaplain in U.S. Armed Forces. As a pastor, however, I have a real hard time when politics and patriotism invade the worship service. Worship services should be just that – worship. When we allow patriotic elements and politics to enter the worship service we are saying, “Move over, God, because we want to address our political agenda alongside you.”

This is why I cringed when I heard that Liberty University allowed Ted Cruz to make a political speech and announce his run for the presidency at their weekly convocation.

Here’s the thing – I don’t care if Liberty wants to allow Mr. Cruz space on campus to make his announcement. That’s not my issue. My issue is the venue in which the announcement took place. Convocation is mandatory for students.

The University president, Jerry Falwell Jr., tried to explain away the dilemma we see established by a required worship service being turned into a political rally.

Convocation is not a worship service. Convocation is Liberty’s educational forum for students to hear from speakers with a wide diversity of viewpoints from all walks of life—entertainment, business, politics, ministry, and more—many of whom are globally respected as experts in their areas.

Sounds good, yes? Except I don’t think it’s accurate.

Liberty’s website (as of last night) looks like this:

Liberty Screenshot

Notice the left-hand side of the screen where they list “Worship Services” and the first thing mentioned is Convocation. Now flash back:

President Falwell:

“Convocation is not a worship service.”

Website:

Worship Services: Convocation

President:

“Convocation is not a worship service.”

So which one are we supposed to believe? Which one is inaccurate (or worse, intentionally deceitful)?

Talking to a previous undergrad student from Liberty, I was told: “Convocation was a worship service when I was there. There were worship songs, prayer, and then the speaker. If that’s not a worship service, what is?”

Mixing faith and politics is always messy. Worship needs to be about God – not politics. Don’t misunderstand me – I think there IS an appropriate time for Christians to engage in politics. Worship services is NOT the time.

This is because we cannot worship anything beside God. He alone is supposed to be the sole object of our worship. And, in the end, our ultimate loyalty lies with God and NOT with any political party or country. We are Christians who happen to be citizens of America (or wherever you are). We cannot blend them into one odd “Americhristian” category.

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I welcome all discussion, just keep it civil and polite. If this post resonates with you in any way, please share it on Facebook, Twitter, or email!