How Christians Created Donald Trump

Christianity and Politics

Max Lucado, the pastor and best-selling author of 32 Christian books, doesn’t like Donald Trump. In a column published on his blog and in The Washington Post last week, Lucado blasted the Republican frontrunner for his indecent “antics.” Lucado wrote that Trump, “ridiculed a war hero. He made a mockery of a reporter’s menstrual cycle. He made fun of a disabled reporter…. He routinely calls people ‘stupid,’ and ‘dummy.’ One writer catalogued sixty-four occasions that he called someone ‘loser.’” Lucado went on to say, “Such insensitivities wouldn’t be acceptable even for a middle school student body election.”

My initial reaction to Max Lucado’s article was Hallelujah! and Amen! I was thrilled that a respected, thoughtful pastor and writer like Lucado was using his platform to guide Christians in this turbulent political season. May his tribe increase, I prayed.

Over the last few days, however, I’ve come to see an additional layer to Lucado’s column. While I still applaud him for speaking up and affirm everything he wrote, I now recognize two subterranean qualities within Lucado’s article that highlight wider problems with the leadership of American Christianity. While I am grateful that Lucado has identified the unchristian tone of Donald Trump, a closer look at his article shows how candidates like Trump arise and gain so much support among Christians in the first place.

Issue 1: Pastors Need To Talk More About Politics, Not Less

In an interview with Christianity Today, Lucado explained that he has been very careful to keep politics out of his ministry, but when he saw Trump holding up a Bible and claiming to be a Christian, he had to speak up. “I’ve never done anything like this,” he said. “It’s an unprecedented act on my part.” So much of the interview was focused on Lucado’s discomfort with addressing politics that CT even titled the interview, “Why Max Lucado Broke His Political Silence for Trump.” And Lucado made it clear that he intends to resume his political silence. “I do not want to continue this. I have no desire to police presidential candidates.”

He is not alone. According to Lifeway research, ninety percent of pastors avoid any political endorsements and most are uncomfortable addressing politics from the pulpit. Despite the popular perception that Christian leaders are too political, the facts reveal precisely the opposite. Most pastors have no stomach for political controversy, and they certainly don’t want to risk alienating their flocks by addressing such matters from the pulpit. Popular etiquette says one should never discuss religion or politics in polite company. Avoiding religion in church is difficult (although some congregations try), so most pastors are vigilant to avoid politics.

Those who don’t often pay a heavy price. For example, in the months leading up to the Iraq War, Greg Boyd preached a series of sermons at Woodland Hills, a megachurch in Minnesota, titled, “The Cross and the Sword.” He addressed the dangers of mingling Christian faith with nationalism and militarism. In other words, he explained the implications of Christian faith in a way that intersected with a contemporary political issue. Within weeks over 1,000 people—a quarter of his congregation—left the church.

Being a pastor is hard enough. Most have no interest in upsetting more people by talking about politics, but that may be precisely the problem. By not tackling the complicated intersection of Christian faith and politics, pastors have abandoned this area of spiritual formation to the “Christian” voices on the radio and cable news claiming to speak for the church. The average Christian, therefore, has her political ideology shaped more by pundits dressed in a veneer of Christian faith than by her pastor or local church community. Ironically, if pastors talked more openly and thoughtfully about politics Christians may be perceived as less political, or at least less partisan.

It may be the political silence of godly pastors like Max Lucado that has led forty percent of evangelicals to support Donald Trump. Again, I applaud Lucado’s article, but was it too little too late? In the dangerous land of politics, many Christians are like sheep without a shepherd. Rather than apologizing for breaking the unspoken commandment (“Thou shalt not preach about politics”), we need pastors who will boldly and unashamedly declare their mission to protect their flocks from the wolves in sheep’s clothing in the media by preemptively teaching the political implications of the Gospel. Would such silence be applauded in matters of marriage, sexuality, generosity, evangelism, or personal ethics? Of course not. Any minister who refused to address relational issues would be accused of pastoral malpractice. So why is refusing to address political issues not only tolerated but applauded? Jesus Christ is either Lord over all of life or he is Lord of none of it.

I am not saying pastors should endorse candidates. There is a difference between being political and being partisan. Churches and leaders should avoid partisanship, but politics is an unavoidable part of being human and being social—it is simply how we organize ourselves into communities from our neighborhoods to our national governments. Certainly we ought to carry the values of Christ’s kingdom into this aspect of our lives, and pastors ought to lead us by example with a Bible in one hand and a newspaper in the other as Karl Barth declared.

Issue 2: Christians Should Be More Focused On Ideas Than Indecency

Max Lucado’s article about Donald Trump focused entirely on the candidate’s “antics.” He compared Mr. Trump to an indecent teenager unfit to date one of his daughters. Lucado wrote that, “The concern of this article is not policy, but tone and decorum.”

Again, I completely agree with Lucado’s assessment of Trump’s uncivil tone and indecent decorum, but is meanness really Trump’s disqualifying quality? Why not address policy? I am far more concerned with Trump’s ideas than his indecency. We’ve had many indecent presidents. Andrew Jackson didn’t just verbally abuse his opponents. He shot them.

Yes, we should be bothered by Trump’s lack of manners, but what about his call to intentionally target and kill the families of terrorists—a war crime according to the Geneva Conventions? He has said the United States should torture people even if it doesn’t work or keep others safe—a violation of human rights. He wants to deport over 11 million undocumented immigrants—a policy opposed by the National Association of Evangelicals and virtually every respected Christian leader in the United States. Mr. Trump wants to ban all Muslims from entering the country which contradicts the First Amendment and threatens the religious liberty of every American. His policies are so clearly unchristian that he has won the support of many white supremacist groups and has waffled in his disavowing of their leaders.

By focusing on Mr. Trump’s uncouth language rather than his anti-Christian ideas, we perpetuate a problem within American Christianity—a focus on style rather than substance. If Donald Trump was a soft-spoken, mild-mannered politician but advocated the same unchristian, bigoted, and illegal policies would he still attract the concern of Christian leaders? I fear he would not.

Too much of American Christianity has become defined by sentimentality—the warm-fuzzy feeling we get walking through the gift section of the Christian bookstore or listening to the saccharine announcers on the radio station that is safe for the whole family. It’s what we expect from our preachers who tell heartwarming stories about their kids, and from our movies where the Christian always wins, the prayer is always answered, and all boys go to heaven.

There are two obvious problems with this focus on safety, feelings, and “decency.” First, anyone who reads the New Testament will quickly discover that Jesus was not always nice. Most remember the story of Jesus overturning tables and driving the money changers from the temple, but we forget that he sometimes called people names, mocked their ideas, and even intentionally insulted his hosts at a dinner party (Luke 11:37-52). (For more on this under reported side of the gospels, I recommend Mark Galli’s book, Jesus Mean and Wild.)

Second, while decency is an admirable quality in short supply in our culture, we must not confuse civility for sanctity. I am grateful for Christian leaders who are seeking to lift up the importance of civility in the public square—Doug Birdsall and Os Guinness come to mind. We must remember, however, that our goal must be larger than the appearance of godliness. We must pursue the real thing.  As Jesus said, “First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean” (Matthew 23:26).

There are serious policy positions held by both parties that are inconsistent with Christian ethics. I would rather vote for an indecent politician who advocates for the value of all lives from the womb to the tomb with real policies, than vote for a polite candidate who does not. Mr. Trump lost my vote because of his ideas not merely his indecency.

The current election is revealing more than the anger and division of the American electorate. It is also revealing the shortcomings within the American church. We have focused too little on the Gospel’s political implications and too much on the importance of niceness and sentimentality. I hope more Christian leaders break their silence like Max Lucado, because it is the silence of Christian leaders that has contributed to the mess we are witnessing.


 

Related Article: Trump and the Heresy of Christianism 




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36 Comments

  • March 3, 2016

    Renee

    Preachers don’t preach politics, imo, for only one reason…they value their tax-exempt status more than they do other things. The solution: pay taxes ..of course, then it would become partisan and we’d run the danger of being right back where we started. But perhaps….just perhaps….we could find a solution between taxes and Trump.

    • March 3, 2016

      Qawii

      Right on René !!!
      “Preachers don’t preach politics, imo, for only one reason…they value their tax-exempt status more than they do other things. The solution: pay taxes ..of course, then it would become partisan and we’d run the danger of being right back where we started. But perhaps….just perhaps….we could find a solution between taxes and Trump.” plus let me add this: Let’s stand up for our rights all the way down the line. If we do charitable works we simply demand recognition for the same (tax breaks) But if all we do is look at our bellybutton and fatten up preachers … then we do not deserve tax breaks ,,, and this fits everybody: Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, Mormons, etc. Go look for tax breaks in the New testament. We belong to the Kingdom of God not the republic of the USA or Canada or Great Britain, etc. We have a King, not a queen, nor a president.

      Too much equation of state and Christianity. It is time to learn. Then it will be time to seek to see God’s will done in the state as well. Time to call a spade a spade. And then, if we make sense to the voter in the pew, he might follow your lead and vote your way. But he is still free to think for himself.

    • March 12, 2016

      David

      I have been a preacher for 25 years and I haven’t preached much at all on politicians, but, never because of tax exempt status! Never! I havent preached about them because I am called to preach Jesus, not man. Now as far as politics Inhave tried to preach Jesus’ politics…He is neither Democrat or Republican.

    • March 14, 2016

      Adam Tauno Williams

      There is little need to *find* a solution in between. The tax-exempt status applies to partisan activities such as endorsing a candidate. The tax-exempt status in no way what-so-ever prevents speaking on political – or a better term: “civic” – issues.

  • March 3, 2016

    Kert

    I really agree with a lot of your article about the fact we need more focus on Christian politics, not less. I agree wholeheartedly we have brought these kind of candidates on ourselves, although there are many deeper issues related to this kind of stuff (like good men aren’t allowed out of the house anymore, but I digress). We desperately need real people to debate these issues and try our best to come up with a real solution.

    I do have to say that your assessment of Trump’s policy is a horrible liberal caricature. Trump is not simply advocating Banning all Muslims, it is far more complicated. While I don’t agree with his policy on Immigration, it is light years better than ignoring law breaking foreigners, who have destroyed millions of American’s ability to make a living and while also increasing lawlessness. The other policy stuff, I’m honestly not sure about. It’s hard to build a hard policy on debates. I would point out that our country needs a leader that is willing to protect us and not waffle behind what other nations think about when our enemies clearly are hurting us by ignoring every sense of decency known to man. What we need to more dialect and not people shutting the conversation down by accusing us of imaginary atrocities.

    By the way, I hope Trump goes away and is never heard of again. I think he is a lousy candidate and I want someone who has done something (anything) to deserve the position. But we need to be realistic on what he says.

  • March 3, 2016

    Chris F

    I wonder how many pastors are hesitant because they’re afraid of their church loosing tax-exempt status. The research I did while our church was trying to sort out how to minimize our risk of being forced to do a same-sex wedding ceremony at our church found that there was a court ruling instructing the IRS to come up with better rules before revoking tax-exempt status for political involvement and they haven’t done that yet. Even if my understanding of what I read is correct and even if that’s still the case I can understand pastors being hesitant to risk adding the expense of taxes to the budget. Every once and a while risks are necessary to follow God’s will though.

  • March 3, 2016

    Brian Jennings

    This is a good discussion to have. I’m a preacher, and desire to preach the Bible, regardless of the political climate of the day. With that said, my goal is to serve the Kingdom and not become consumed with our little kingdom of the USA. It’s a slippery slope to start dissecting politicians from the pulpit or blog. Where would it end?
    Godly preachers will continue to disagree over which political policy more honors God. I’m OK with that, but I’m not OK if this overwhelms their ministry. And from an evangelistic standpoint, a preacher might lose the chance for the Gospel to be heard by a guest walking in who has a different political bent.

    But this is a good discussion to have. I’ll keep thinking about it. Thanks for bringing it up.

    • March 10, 2016

      Ashley Leonard

      Agreed! I can easily imagine it overwhelming their ministry. Many seekers will either flock to, or walk out of, a church based on their perceived view of that church’s politics. I frequently hear churches being referred to as either “welcoming” or “anti-gay.” Imagine if they became known as “pro-Clinton” or “anti-Trump?” Of course most churches would not actually endorse a particular candidate, but I don’t see how they can prevent these labels from sticking.

  • March 4, 2016

    DLE

    I wonder if our concern in political matters is inversely proportional to our satisfaction with God’s sovereignty. Too often, it seems the most fearful for our political future are those who also exhibit the least confidence that God is ultimately in control of every aspect of life.

    Does the Christian trust in the signs of the times or in the One who is above all? Sadly, perhaps we have all joined the membership class of Chicken Little Community Church.

  • March 4, 2016

    Ricky "Blue" Mauldin

    Pastor Jethani – I agree with your article, but find no incongruity in also being in agreement with Max Lucado’s for one reason:

    You wrote that Christ-followers should be more focused on ideas than decency – that’s true. However, the Scriptures tell us in several places that the tongue belies the heart.

    Therefore, when Pastor Lucado speaks to the sophomoric behavior of Trump, I thought he described merely specific symptoms of a deeper illness, while you wanted to talk about the illness itself (you can’t likely find a name for it without an arguable value judgment, so describing the symptom still has value). Truthfully, I think both of you honor our calling but drove up to the problem from different directions.

    I agree that many of us have perhaps been light in areas politic. I vehemently disagree with commenters above that question whether most pastors factor in the IRS. I think that the flaw might instead fall with our embrace of the Gospel of Niceness. Might the churches which call us to pastor have some complicity in insistence on That Gospel? No church wants to hire a pastor with whom no one can get along, but certainly we long for the days when God’s word was fire in the mouth of His spokesman, and the people’s hearts as wood before it…

    Enjoyed your article as much as I’ve enjoyed your classes at Arizona Church Equipping (ACE) conferences. Thank you.

  • March 4, 2016

    Dave Ambrose

    I’m a pastor and read your devotional everyday. I appreciate your ministry and it has touched me deeply in many different ways. I am not afraid of “losing our tax-exempt status” as some of your readers have accused “fatten (ed) up preachers of. The small and utterly ridiculous world of the American Political Kingdom doesn’t deserve the time and attention God’s Kingdom does. We need to continue pointing people to a higher level, a different kingdom that is worthy of our honor and respect. This world is not our home and we need to be actively teaching people how to prepare themselves for God’s eternal Kingdom which is already here and yet not quite here yet. I will not allow myself or my congregation to get caught up in the controversies of this kingdom while forgetting about the most important Kingdom of all. I would encourage people to use their voice and vote because it’s our responsibility and our privilege. But vote for the candidate that best represents the values of God’s Kingdom, not the values of this world and this kingdom. We have not been given a spirit of fear…let’s keep our priorities straight and our eyes on the eternal Kingdom and its coming King.

    • March 4, 2016

      William Holt

      Dave, that is a perfect reply. I do notice that a lot of the political discussion these days revolves around fear. Fear is not a good reason to make any decision, and that includes political ones. As Christians, we are to fear God, and not much else.

  • March 4, 2016

    Steve Petry

    Great article. Spot on! Just finished your book, How Church’s became Cruise Ships. Great insightful read. Have a blessed weekend.

  • March 4, 2016

    Kevin Ledgister

    Trump sometimes can be petty and loudmouth. So was the Apostle Peter (who chopped off a servant’s ear and denied Jesus Christ), so was James and John would wanted to lay waste to a village because they wouldn’t accept Jesus and his followers to stay there.

    To me, those are surface issues. Last night, after the debate, O’Reilly interviewed Bernie Goldberg, the classic old white male conservative from Florida who does not like Trumps campaign at all. But what he said was very interesting.

    He’s known Trump for 30 years and spent some time with him at one of his golf courses. And even though he had written some things not to nice about Trump, he said in person, Trump was incredibly gracious. His wife was incredibly gracious. All his kids, adults and juvenile were all incredibly gracious.

    I have also read many stories of personal generosity of Trump over the years that he does not mention, does not brag about but if you bother to dig, you will be surprised as I was.

    So while Trump may be somewhat thin-skinned when it comes to personal attacks and he may not be as proficient with Constitutional theory or able to quote chapter and verse of the Bible, when the cameras stop rolling, you get a completely different image.

    You get the idea that Trump is very gracious, very kind to individuals. Sure he will negotiate hard but Trump has been on the national scene for years and we have never seen this side of him ever.

    It’s been my contention that Trump is the way he is right now to master the media and generate buzz to win. That’s all it is.

  • March 4, 2016

    Kelleen Little

    Pastor Jethani, I am so grateful for your thoughts on this subject. While I, too, applaud Max Lucado’s article, I find the deeper driving issues beneath Trump’s behavior to be most concerning. I must express gratitude for my pastor, who happens to also be my husband, for his courage to address these matters from the pulpit. While refraining from partisanship, he is equipping and educating our congregation to think and respond biblically in these last days. While a few have not responded well, the vast majority are thankful for guidance and shared wisdom from a trusted leader. Let’s not allow the enemy to intimidate us into silence. Sheep need a shepherd.
    Thank you

  • March 4, 2016

    Skye Jethani

    Friends,

    Thank you for engaging so thoughtfully with my article. Regarding discomfort with “politics in the pulpit,” the IRS, and tax exemption…

    As I stated in the article, I do not think pastors should be endorsing candidates or participating in the partisanship of campaigns. That is really what IRS prohibits for tax exempt organizations. But there is a difference between a pastor standing up in the pulpit and saying, “Don’t vote for Donald Trump” and a pastor preaching from Scripture about the dignity of every human life and the injustice of torture. Likewise, a pastor may not want to say, “I support Jeb Bush,” but he may teach from Scripture how the commands of the bible to love our neighbors and welcome the stranger and alien applies to the immigration debate.

    When I say pastors need to talk more about politics I’m simply saying they need to more clearly teach how Scripture and Christian values intersect with contemporary issues in our communities, country, and world. That isn’t being partisan; that’s being a shepherd. Too many churches have limited discipleship to personal holiness and avoided any social dimension.

    I’ve spoken to pastors who acknowledge (off the record) various problems in their communities that involve public policy, and they express a theological/biblical perspective on the issue. But when I ask what they are teaching about it in the church I’ve been told, “Oh, I can’t talk about it. Too many people would be upset because it’s seen as a political issue and not a biblical one.” That’s the kind of problem the article is addressing.

    Skye

    • October 14, 2016

      Al Reynosa

      This is not what Lucado has done. I would value his words if he was being critical of both candidates. I agree with we should teach the Word on what it say about current issues and that being the case both of these individuals fail the Bible Litmus Test. Lord help us all!

  • March 4, 2016

    Carlene

    Great article! I am not surprised that some who have responded have mentioned ‘taxes’, always the almighty $$$ and all those foreigners who are breaking the law and taking away millions of jobs from Americans, REALLY??? I am frankly embarrassed and at a loss to know what to say to friends who are non believers when they ask how is it possible for evangelicals to support a candidate like, Trump? It is my prayer too that more Christian Leaders will not continue to remain on the sidelines but will share the Whole Gospel even at the expense of losing some of their ‘followers’.

  • March 4, 2016

    Anna

    Skye, thank you for this analysis, I think you are so right. For too long the republican party has turned a blind eye to some fairly nasty politics. I wrote this blog post a few days back https://annamtownsend.wordpress.com/2016/03/02/if-trump-isnt-a-wake-up-call-to-evangelical-christians-then-i-dont-know-who-else-could-be/ it perhaps sounds more vitriolic than I mean it to be, but I hope the message that Republicans need to wake up is heeded. As a British Christian living in America I can’t tell you how uncomfortable I feel about the Republican party and what it claims to stand for. I find this cultural difference fascinating – would love to discuss it further with you somehow.

  • […] significant issues that Trump should raise for Lucado and those like him. So I was glad to read Skye Jethani’s recent post where he raises two of the three issues bugged me about Lucado’s critique […]

  • March 4, 2016

    DeBeans

    While Trump is not my first choice for President, I value his ability to say things that need to be said. Like Christ did to the Pharisees. Please read this posted article by Bill Bennett for why Trump is winning with non-Christians and Christians. And about immigration…how compassionate and Christ-like is it to let these immigrants be used at political collateral? Please think about this from this perspective before you disagree with Trump. Its like putting a little bandage on a 12 inch gash. Why not reset the system so these people never, ever have to live in the shadows and not subject to the evils of drug cartels and human traffickers.

    Written by the distinguished Bill Bennett about Donald Trump.

    William J. Bennett, Host of Bill Bennett’s Morning in America Show, is one of America’s most important, influential, and respected voices on cultural, political, and education issues. He has one of the strongest Christian world views of any writer in modern times.

    What I See Happening In a Trump Presidency
    By Bill Bennett

    “They will kill him before they let him be president. It could be a Republican or a Democrat that instigates the shutting up of Trump.

    Continue reading here…http://beforeitsnews.com/obama-birthplace-controversy/2015/11/what-i-see-happening-in-a-trump-presidency-by-bill-bennett-2496324.html

  • March 4, 2016

    Prayer partner

    it’s not the silence from the pulpit, it’s the silence before the throne of God… our (Kingdom Church in America) prayerlessness has got us to where we are today… yes, the silence in the Church is to blame… the silence of lack of prayer….

  • March 5, 2016

    Shawn S

    Trump is an interesting candidate. The process we have for electing a president is something else. Everyone chimes in with reasons to vote for their choice and reasons not to vote for those they dislike.

    Candidates are always pandering between the millions of viewpoints and ideas of a nation where they represent us all for a term for four years. That means one poor bastard’s hair will turn gray and decades of aging and stress will show on their face after enduring unscrupulous verbal attacks by reporters, American citizens, and every person on the planet. They’ll make painful choice after choice that helps some and hurts some at the same time.

    I never hear anyone apply any empathy for the person that dawns this responsibility or challenge.

    This race is starting to look like a Hillary vs. Trump showdown. Hillary is like Obama, but not as likeable. Elect her and savor a few more years of the nonsensical hogwash coming from our leadership. Maybe she’ll even deal the fatal blow to a country that’s been beaten to a pulp in less than a decade.

    Does Trump know what a budget is? Yes. Does Trump manage large sums of money effectively? Yes. Does Trump know how to fire people that fail to perform at a given task? Yes. Does and has Trump had dealings with other cultures in the global arena? Yes. What then is the crux of Trump? He’s a professional and very successful entrepreneur. Does that sound like some of our early presidents? Yes.

    Trump is also like Obama. Like him or not nobody is going to stop him from becoming the President. Unlike Obama, I don’t think Trump wants to redefine what it means to be American. He’s went through highs and lows in this country, and I don’t think he’ll subjugate the people and force them to adopt a new, more impotent, version of their former selves.

    From a Christian perspective. Either one will have to answer to God for what they do, or do not do. Just like the rest of us. I’ll pray about whom I should vote for, and ask God before I drop a ballot in the box. I may, or may not drop one in the first place. Foremost, I’ll put my faith in my Lord and savior Jesus Christ.

    When Trump gets elected, I hope he does the same.

    • March 10, 2016

      Tim Reid

      Hello, Shawn.
      Being a good businessman does not make you a good president.
      A president is AMERICA’S face to the rest of the world.
      Do you really want that face?
      Both his actual face and his “front” that he puts out there are repulsive to me as a Christian.
      What Christian virtues does he appeal to in your mind?

  • March 5, 2016

    Wade

    Sky, I find a lot to agree with in your article, I find some points I differ.

    I have been a Chrisian for 30 years and I attend church weekly.

    I will be voting for the best candidate in November. Even if he is a bit rude and even if I disagree with some of his policies.

  • March 7, 2016

    Robin D

    Skye, I marvel at well you articulate your ideas – truly a gift. This article is no exception and I appreciate your response to the comments.

    “Most pastors have no stomach for political controversy,” I believe this to be true, but I believe that their uneasiness might go a little deeper than a fear of alienating their flocks (true as that might be). The pastors that I call friends, aren’t afraid of controversy and successfully offend people just about every week. That is supposed to be a little funny, but true.

    My guess is that the root of it would be that most pastors are insecure about speaking about political issues. The notion that “others are more gifted” in that area of expertise cast a shadow on our confidence. In other words, “I might be wrong – make a mistake and be caught in it later.” The shifting sands of politics feels like a scary place to navigate. Perhaps pastors are afraid of guiding their flocks off a cliff. So, your suggestion to focus on the issues rings perfectly true.

    BTW ~ I resent the comments above suggesting pastors are afraid of loosing their tax exempt status. seriously?

  • March 7, 2016

    George A. Garza

    Skye, I was intrigued by your title. I do believe that we Evangelicals have created a void that has allowed all the things we now denounce to exist. We sit behind our gated communities feet propped up watching Fox news arm-chairing the stupid antics of liberals who ineptly attempt to apply fairness to the 1% governed society. The opposite of Love is not Hate. It is indifference. This indifference has generated this nostalgia yearning for “Making America Great Again”. But “GREAT” is in the mind of the beholder. What does that mean? It is not a universal description but a subjective one. Is “Great Again” before Gay Marriage, Legalized Abortion, Prayer in school? No the pandemic of “Indifference” has caused all of this mess. Indecency, Prejudice, Anger, Frustration, TrumpIdolization. We Evangelical Christians stayed home and with borderline incest choosing to only love those who love us. Instead of putting our arms around those poor girls entering the abortion clinic and offering our love and home for them we chained ourselves to the fences and held up posters of mutilated images. Instead of befriending and loving the boy and girl that felt out of place we ignored them and later screamed that the Bible said Adam and Eve not Adam and Steve.
    America is angry. Our anger is driven by the vast wasteland of fear and that fear is indicative of the Love of Christ that we Evangelicals are hoarding close to our chest.

    I am an authority on this subject because I wave to my neighbor as I drive off to church hoping not to make eye contact when I come home so I can rush upstairs to watch the game I recorded while I was being a good Christian in church.

    Who’s to blame for the popularity of Trump and the election of the Hopey, Changey guy? We the Evangelical Church. We kept our head down. Kept our thoughts to ourselves but more egregious than that, we only loved those that loved us back. That is the most indecent act of all.

  • March 7, 2016

    John van der Woude

    Much is said about the silence of the church and probably much of that is true, but the church is still speaking and should be speaking in the name of the Lord. My question is, where are the Christian organizations such as the Kings University and Redeemer University College and several colleges in the U.S.A. to mention a few like Calvin College, Trinity College, Dordt College, Redeemer College, etc. We live in a different country but what happens in the U.S.A. will effect our lives in Canada. I , for one am a sheep who needs directions based on compassion and love and a true desire to serve my Lord.

  • March 9, 2016

    Jay

    Skye, as someone who has been transformed by God so much through your writings, I seriously both take to heart everything you say and test it. Since you’ve started writing about Trump, this has been the first time I’ve flinched or hesitated at what you’ve written, so please bear with me. I have a couple questions for you if you have the time to answer, and please note that I do not disagree with you about Trump’s policies. And please don’t take this as me trying to trip you up, these are real questions I wrestle with. Quote-

    “There are serious policy positions held by both parties that are inconsistent with Christian ethics. I would rather vote for an indecent politician who advocates for the value of all lives from the womb to the tomb with real policies, than vote for a polite candidate who does not. Mr. Trump lost my vote because of his ideas not merely his indecency.”

    1) How “Christian” does someone have to be to vote for them? What if a presidential candidate had, according to you, both godly character and the ability to perform the duties of a president, but there was just ONE thing wrong with him or her that was a serious personal conviction for you, like an issue as abortion or war or something. Point is, we can’t vote per issue even if we wanted to, we vote for people. How many issues do they need to have “correct” to be worthy of the Christian vote?

    2) Suppose Trump’s policies aligned the most with Jesus’ values (according to you), yet he as a human being was “indecent” or didn’t possess the moral characteristics of a godly leader. What kind of posts would you write then? Would you urge everyone to vote for him? Or not?

    You know as well as I do that we will never, ever get our messiah in office. Do you not see how this is all about control? Making other people do what we want them to, no matter what your beliefs are. You out of anyone should know about the religion of control. This was never the way shown to us to affect change in the world. How do we vote, or should we? Thanks for your time, Skye.

    • March 15, 2016

      Steve Randle

      I agree with Jay’s comments.
      First of all, I think that you have to consider Max Lucado’s focus on “feelings”, when you evaluate what he wrote. Feelings are a trap to watch out for.
      This national political struggle might just force us to examine ourselves, and make choices as a nation and as as individuals, for or against God’s values. We are immersed in a world that tends to vote for what feels good at the moment. This is the same world that we are not supposed to love, and this condition will not change until the end. No matter how the elections turn out, or how the world around us looks, the bigger picture is that God is still in control, and uses all things to draw people to himself. It might even be best for God’s purposes if the worst candidate wins, because that would force us to make choices on an individual basis, on whether or not to step over the line and accept or reject evil.
      Elections are are worldly competitions, with worldly candidates competing with each other for a worldly prize. All of the candidates have fallen to the temptation of using worldly tactics to compete, regardless of whether or not they claim to be Christians. Instead of being the best that they can be, with their eyes on pleasing and glorifying God, they are comparing themselves with each other, and are pointing out each others weaknesses to make themselves look better. It is the old “look at me, I am not a sinner like that man” approach, combined with envy, jealousy and greed for the prize. Ouch! And all of them are doing it. There is little humility visible. This is a blatant sin problem that those claiming to be Christians will have to address with God at some point, because the ends do not justify the means.
      Their main objective is to satisfy the feelings of the voters in order to win their vote. It does not appear to have anything to do with basic Christian values, except as a point of comparison during the finger pointing exercises.
      When God gives us discernment over people or trials that are out of our control, we have two choices, we can either trust in God, pray and follow His guidance, or we can fall back on the worldly tactics that we used to use before we were saved in order to satisfy our flesh, such as speaking words that satisfy emotions. Remember the old tactics? Those are from the old man that we are putting to death in our new life. We need to consider the worldly perspective of the competition and not expect too much. We are all guilty of using worldly tactics from time to time, and this same poor choice is coming out in many of the candidates in the present political struggle, and not just Donald Trump. The world we live in seems to demand that type of response because it feels good for a moment. I think that Donald Trump is responding to that as well; he is just more transparent in the way he speaks. So now that we have discernment over Donald Trumps shortcomings, because he has been transparent, how do we respond? Do we shoot him down, like we often do in church to new rough Christians, or do we pray/provide for a discipler to come alongside of him to guide? Are the other candidates as perfect as they appear, or are they excluding themselves from intercession and growth because they are afraid to be transparent?
      We need to pray for all of them, examine the values behind the candidates, and discount the feelings that they generate. We have to be able to make decisions in the face of evil, based on the Godly values that we honor, not based on what we hear or even feel. Jesus was surrounded by evil people the whole time He was in the flesh, and if He can deal with it, we can do the same when we trust in Him. Which one do we vote for, the one who says things that feel good, or one of the others who say the things that make them appear to be perfect, but may not have exposed their hearts, and consequently their future actions?

  • […] How Christians Created Donald Trump […]

  • March 10, 2016

    Tim Reid

    I was listening to you talk about this on the PV podcast this morning. I will listen to the rest of it on the way home, but I have to agree with everything you’ve mentioned.
    The idea that Trump has bad manners and therefore we shouldn’t vote for him is the least of our problems.
    I think the bad manners are a part of his appeal. He appeals to people who don’t want to be kind, merciful, thoughtful, patient, prudent, wise etc…
    All that stuff takes work (with the help of grace) and that’s just too hard for people.
    Doesn’t it just make more sense to
    1. build a wall
    2. deport the illegals
    3. shoot the black guy
    4. condemn the unemployed
    because heck, I’m employed and white so why should I be concerned with anyone else, but my own kin?
    That’s the kind of person who supports Mr. Drumpf.
    He’s not only a boor, but his ideas grow from his demeanor. If you are a boor, you will have boorish ideas.
    You pop off and say “Oh, come on! We were all thinking that weren’t we?”
    It’s truly the least common denominator within all of us that he is appealing to and for many, that least common denominator is much closer to the surface.
    As Christians (I’m a Catholic), we ought to realize that YES, the Kingdom of God is not only a spiritual reality, but it is also a political reality.
    Your statement is right on when you differentiate between “political” and “partisan”. Jesus was VERY political!
    I’ve been listening to N.T. Wright a lot lately and he points out the political implications of the Kingdom of God in all 4 Gospels. He points to John 19 when Jesus talks with Pilate as well as Mark 10 and the ambition of James and John. True kingship, True leadership does not “Lord itself” over its’ subjects, but rather serves them, is their slave, and ultimately lays down their life for them.

  • March 16, 2016

    Karen

    Jonathan Martin spoke on this last Sunday. Highly recommend you check it out. http://sanctuarytulsa.sermon.net/main/main/20631079

  • […] weeks ago I wrote an article arguing that Christian leaders—and particularly pastors—need to talk more about politics rather than less. So that is what I intend to do. Some of you pushed back saying the kingdom of God and the kingdoms […]

  • April 11, 2016

    David Hernandez

    I’d like to offer some important biblical priciples related to the mixing of politics & worship.

    1- Jeremiah 10:23- These imperfect men & women are inherently flawed, (as we all are) therefore their policies & personal stands are bound to lead us astray. Even we as humans consistently veer off course when trusting in the ideas or leanings of our ‘treacherous hearts’

    2- Daniel 2:44 – The political systems that so many put their trust in will soon be replaced by God’s Kingdom that will not only ‘crush & put an end to those kingdoms’, but usher in a new system of living that will reverse all the negative effects that human rule has produced for thousand of years. (Wars, ungodly patriotism & all its after effects) Why put our lot in with a dying institution destined to end, & who’s very existence opposes God’s righteous rule? To do do would be like claiming these governments can fix everything that God has an appointed time to address.

    3- John 17:16 – Jesus was very clear that his followers were to be ‘no part of the world’ In fact, when the Jews wanted him to be their physical King, Jesus refused & said that his Father’s kingdom was heavenly.

    Granted, Jesus was reasonable. He didn’t expect his followers to live in bunkers & isolate themselves from society. He said to ‘give Caesar’s things to Caesar’. His disciples had families, held jobs & enjoyed life. He didn’t ask they be taken from the world. According to Paul in Romans, the ‘Superior Authorities’ are worthy of respect & obedience. They are placed in their positions by the Creator to ensure order & prevent chaos.

    However when that obedience conflicts with God’s requirements, (i.e. Military compulsion, devotion to a flag, political involvement) true Christians take a stand.

    They refuse to compromise and instead ‘obey God as ruler rather than man’. Counterfeit religion, is depicted in the book of Revelation as a prostitute or harlot. ‘Babylon the Great’ is the name given to her because of her bloodguilt in starting & supporting virtually every war in mankind’s history. So supporting any political party is tantamount to spiritual fornication. Is that something a Christian would want to be involved in?

    As we await God’s Kingdom to clean up the mess man has caused, there is much we can do on a local scale to help others. Teaching them the truth about God’s kingdom, the one Jesus commanded us to preach at Matthew 24:14. and it’s beautiful promises would be at the top of that list.

  • October 14, 2016

    al reynosa

    I don’t speak about the endorsement of any politician or party. It would be unfair for me to do so. My position like it or not has some influence. This, of course, does not mean I don’t have a political opinion or that I won’t be casting my vote in this election.

    As strongly as Pastor Lucado feels about Mr. Trump (He has a valid reason) he should refrain from sharing it but if he feels he must he should also be willing to speak about Trump’s opposition. By not doing so he comes off as endorsing one over another.

    I would also suggest that all people listen to what is being said by both candidates in its entirety and not listen to the sound bites put out by the media.