I am glad that Dana Ervin interviewed several “evangelical pastors of six large North Carolina churches” and wrote an article showing their views as Christians of Donald Trump. While I read no new revelations for me in the article, I was disappointed that not one of the pastors agreed to be identified. Words without names are weakened.
However, taking their unidentified words as honest expressions from their pastoral experiences, I shudder to read the words of the Charlotte pastor who observed that the election of Obama caused a rise in racial tensions and that his congregation ignored Scripture in order to “fit” a political party. As a Christian, I wonder how much hate must be present to make a member of the body of Christ ignore the Bible, especially Matthew 5,6,and 7.
The unknown pastor who tells how Biblical Israel “had been ruled by some evil kings” is singing a tired refrain for Trump’s presence. Sure, Saul and others were not the good leaders any country needs. (To read fully the struggles of Israel with leaders, read the bloody book of Judges.)Does this unknown pastor want us to accept Trump because God has before used other evil leaders to accomplish good? I am not willing to live under the rule of a King Ahab. Another pastor believes that Trump’s election could be God’s mercy. Well, as a Christian who reads the Gospels, I believe that God’s mercy is better than Trump.
A national evangelical leader and author tells us that “it is important to understand that evangelicals today feel threatened by an increasingly hostile secular world. They see Donald Trump as their bulwark.” All I can ask that national leader is when have Christians not been threatened by the secular world? Our situation in the world has not changed, and we today are no more threatened by any politician than Paul was by the learned Greeks in the Areopagus. And, we already have a bulwark against the secular world: Jesus Christ our Savior.
All, however, in Ervin’s summary is not grim. At the end of the article, one pastor, who is referred to as “bolder” than the others, is quoted “We’re damaging our witness. We’re causing bigger damage to the Gospel to see who God really is.” While I obviously agree with the words of this pastor, I wonder why Ervin describes him or her, “bolder.” In my view, to speak Truth, as we Christians are told to do, is an honor and privilege. Bold? Naw, but an honest understanding of the problem of Trump and our individual theology.
Regardless of the anonymity of the pastors, their words reveal the existence of several problems still in existence, such as pure dislike or even hate against people or beliefs that are disagreed with. The election of Obama did not demonstrate that we are a racially healed country, but that too many of us still carry Jim Crow attitudes. If not, why would one Charlotte pastor speak the words he or she did. Too much hate is alive because, according to this pastor, supposed Christ followers ignored Scripture for convenience to support what they wanted. Our hate of “the other” is so great that we ignore the words and actions of Trump. When I asked a member of my Sunday School class what he thought of Trump’s taking the Lord’s name in vain, he remarked,
“No one’s perfect.”
For me, Ervin’s article proves that we have become a “stiff-necked people” So bent on our ways, we do not hear and follow God’s. In my reading of the Gospels, I can find no words to support a man such as Trump. Bulwark? Hardly. (read Psalms 56:22) And shame on any “Christian” who believes Trump is anything but a false prophet.