We watched in total dismay as the media put out information purporting that the supposedly conservative presidential candidate nicknamed “The Donald” won with the help of a huge following of “evangelicals” in South Carolina. Being an “evangelical” Christian myself, this just does not gel in my brain. My lack of understanding of how this could happen prompted me to do a little written report on what living and serving as an “evangelical Christian” means to me – and to the majority of the evangelical Christians with whom I am personally acquainted. To establish our parameters, it is necessary to first define “born again” and “evangelical.”
To be a “born again Christian,” one must acknowledge that he or she is sinful, ask Jesus for forgiveness, accept Christ as Savior, and turn away from a life of sin to a new life as a follower of Christ. Born-again Christians cannot keep silent about their faith because they cannot imagine quietly letting their friends, neighbors, co-workers and relatives spend eternity separated from God.
The term evangelical, can be described as follows: Reaching out to our community and world with the “Evangel”—the Good News of salvation through Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God! This is the mission of the evangelical church where my family worships and serves Christ.
The evangelical Christian’s purposes in life – Spread the Gospel; Stand on the Gospel: 2 Timothy 4 and 5 – I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths. But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.
Although my article includes Trump’s name in the title, my comments are inclusive of any and all candidates at every level of public office that Americans will be considering in 2016. Is this the mission or purpose of the presidential candidate you are backing?
The evangelical Christian is called to think and live in a particular way. This is not the picture that comes to mind when I see and hear The Donald behind a microphone. Philippians 4:8 – Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.
The Donald was asked about his favorite Bible verse and his response was that it was a personal matter. For an evangelical Christian, it is a given that we be ready to tell anyone at any time what our favorite Bible verse is. We are delighted when someone asks! I have several, and am always quick to share them. 1 Peter 3:15 – but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence …
The evangelical Christian is called to speak and act in a specific way – Colossians 3:7-9 – and in them you also once walked, when you were living in them. But now you also, put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you laid aside the old self with its evil practices … Anger, wrath, abusive speech? Does the face of any particular candidate – or candidates – come to mind when you read this passage?
What the evangelical should not do: Galatians 5:19-21 – … the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. Strife, outbursts of anger, factions, dissensions – do any of these sound familiar from recent days?
What the evangelical should do: Galatians 5:22-24 – But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Someone declared that The Donald had lots of “fruit” – that he had created many jobs. That’s not the fruit evangelicals are talking about. Being a prominent employer of minimum wage workers in America doesn’t qualify as fruit for me … When you think kindness, gentleness, and self-control does any candidate’s picture pop into your mind? Can a tough, strong leader be kind and gentle when appropriate? The answer is yes.
I don’t know about South Carolinian evangelicals, but the majority of the evangelicals with whom I am acquainted do not approve of gambling. The Donald has built his “empire” around gambling, which is a form of idolatry. One has only to do a minimal search to find that the statistics are heartbreaking in terms of lives ruined, marriages ruined, families split, lives, homes and businesses forfeited/sacrificed. The compilation of media headlines at this link paints a horrific picture that gets swept under the rug in the name of profit – http://casinowatch.org/suicides/suicides.html . Casino Watch has a comprehensive website dedicated solely to presenting factual information about the side of gambling nobody wants to talk about – the side that damages communities and sucks up social services dollars. This is The Donald’s life work and he has seemingly used every means at his disposal to make it his living.
The evangelical Christian has a specific “job.” Matthew 28:18-20 – And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Is your candidate “observing all that I commanded you?”
Evangelical Christians are called to put God as Lord of every aspect of their lives. Luke 10:26-28 –And He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How does it read to you?” And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.” And He said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this and you will live.” Is your candidate wholeheartedly and completely loving the Lord and his – or her – neighbor?
The growing number of TV evangelists and prominent faces endorsing The Donald is troubling to me. Am I missing something here? I don’t think so. The evangelical voices that matter to me are not endorsing Trump – and never will.
The desire of 21st Century American citizens to steer away from career politicians and the D.C. political machine is 100% justifiable. The whole system is broken, and it is not designed to change. It is time for America to elect only 100% honorable, of good repute people to office. Evangelical Christians have the ability to be the largest voting block in the country. How about we start really serving and honoring Christ, rather than just checking a box on a polling survey!
All Scripture references are from the NASB translation