what the rise of donald trump reveals about american christians

What The Rise Of Donald Trump Reveals About American Christians

In Culture by Frank Powell0 Comments

After months of rumors and OMGs, I turned on the TV Tuesday night to witness Donald Trump for myself. Before I get too deep, I’m laying my cards on the table. I’m not a political guy. I don’t buy the agenda-driven promises from any politician. I get insanely annoyed by the talking heads (which appears to be almost every news analyst), and I don’t know the political jargon. I would rather hit golf balls, spend time with my family or dress up as a clown than get lost in political debate and discussions about who’s left, right, where, and why.

After Mr. Trump’s “victory” speech (and the awkward, “I just saw an alien” posture from Chris Christie), I took to social media. I wasn’t prepared for the tidal wave of fear and “oh crap, this guy might actually lead our nation” responses. I’m not sure why the world unraveled. Maybe everyone thought Mr. Trump was secretly shooting a spin-off of his reality show, The Apprentice. And at some point, he would pull a “gotcha,” revealing the whole plan, and millions of Americans would breathe a deep sigh of relief.

Apparently, however, there is no reality show.

The Super Tuesday voting painted an abundantly clear message: Donald Trump is more than serious, he has a good chance of winning the whole kit and caboodle (What does “the whole kit and caboodle” even mean?). And, look, I get it. The inconsistencies, the fear mongering and talking down to are obvious and concerning. I don’t know Donald Trump the man. But his demeanor, tone, and vernacular remind me of old-school, fundamentalist, “do it my way or else” church leaders who drove me out of Christianity for a number of years. Again, I’m not saying this is who Donald Trump is, I’m just noting my observations.

Two groups: one false hope

Mr. Trump, however, is not the reason for this post. It’s what I saw afterward that disturbed me. I witnessed two groups on opposite ends, both reaching for false hope.

RECOMMENDED FOR YOU
What The Church Can Learn From America's #1 College Football Team

Group one: Trump supporters. Those who believe this man will “make America great again.” Those who believe building a big wall ensures their safety. Those running to a man’s words for hope, safety, and security.

Group two: the haters. Those who see Trump as the end of democracy. Those who believe a Trump nomination inevitably leads to the 2020 Hunger Games (it would take the better part of his term to make this happen…may the odds be ever in your favor). Those who equate Trump  to America’s Mussolini or Hitler. And, although, this group stands in stark opposition to group one, it’s reaching for the same thing, hope in a person (any person but Donald Trump).

Quite frankly, I’m not sure whether or not Mr. Trump would make a good President. Does it disturb me that he seems to draw from wells of manipulation and uncertainty? Of course. But I also understand this. Donald Trump reveals that many Christians have taken their eyes off the cross. Many professing believers have placed their hope on something or someone who will ultimately fail them, whether it’s America, the military, or a Presidential candidate. Mr. Trump didn’t create the madness I witnessed last night.

He exposed it.

You see, whether Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, or Mickey Mouse win the general election in November, there’s a figure hovering over them, one who’s unmovable, unchangeable, and all-powerful. He won’t be overcome or overthrown.

His name is Jesus.

Assuming the worst, that America crumbles or succumbs to outside forces, two things won’t change: King Jesus will control whatever power controls you and that power will never destroy the church. Even if some group’s anti-Christian practices extinguish the American church, Jesus’s church will never die. This is the promise He made to Peter in Matthew 16:18.

Now I say to you that you are Peter (which means ‘rock’), and upon this rock I will build my church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it. Matthew 16:18

Maybe someone takes your freedom. Maybe someone takes your family and possessions as well. No one, however, no man or force of hell, can take your inheritance, your salvation. The world can take your life, but, as Paul’s says, “to live is Christ and to die is gain.”

RECOMMENDED FOR YOU
Before You Post On Social Media, Ask These 6 Questions

The War Is Over

Are we in a war? Yes. Are the forces of darkness strong and persistent? Absolutely.

But let’s not forget the nature of our fight. It’s not against flesh and blood. Verbal assaults might appease your flesh, but they’re counter-productive to the divine fight. Dragging Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, or your prideful, arrogant co-worker through the mud means you aren’t pointing others to Jesus. Our war isn’t against the world. It’s “against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” (Eph. 6:12).

Also, don’t lose sight of this: the war has been won. Jesus declared victory on the cross and sealed Satan’s fate three days later when he walked out of the tomb…alive.

Yes, the battle wages on, but the war is over.

Stop fighting as if you’re trying to win the war. Stop running fearfully as if you’re fighting on the losing team. If you’re a Christian, you’re a victor. The mission now is to draw others from the darkness into the light.

If you follow Jesus, I’m challenging to take your eyes off CNN and Fox News. It’s fear-mongering propaganda. Without fearful people, news outlets, local, regional, or whatever, become obsolete. Turn it off. Spend time in the Word. Rather than watching the latest talking head bombastically break down everyone who doesn’t pad their pocket, spend time in prayer. I’m convinced our country’s enslavement to fear is largely the result of too much exposure to TV.

RECOMMENDED FOR YOU
I Am Ferguson...And I Wasn't Prepared To Hear It

The Challenge

Close your Facebook, Twitter, and SnapChat apps. At almost all times, but especially in times of unknown and uncertainty, social media skews reality. It gives everyone a platform, and it’s usually the fearful, immature, and perspective-less who talk loudest. During times of crisis, the loudest voices aren’t the leaders. Leaders aren’t reactive. They might respond to current events and cultural crises, but they won’t be coerced by fear, manipulation, or outside pressure.

The challenge before us isn’t the direction of our country. It’s the position of our eyes. If we stay focused on the cross, no force has power over us, whether it’s Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Puff the Magic Dragon, or a demon from the pits of hell.

Fix your eyes on the living Hope, the risen Savior, not the mirage of words and politically-charged promises. You’re citizenship isn’t here. It never was. Stop running with the masses. They’re enslaved to fear. Stop allowing a man’s words or a country’s principles to distract you from an empty tomb. Jesus is alive. Fear is dead. This world is temporary. Heaven is eternal. Regardless of who becomes America’s 45th President, as Christians, we rest in this truth: Love always wins.

I love you all. To God be the glory forever. Amen!

Paint a better picture of God!

Receive the latest blog posts and relevant resources. Just enter your e-mail address below!