OCTOBER 13, 2020 BY SUSAN WRIGHT
I have sounded this alarm before, and it is time to sound it again:
The American church is fast proving to be the lukewarm church, and without major revival and a change of heart, I fear many will find themselves destitute and castaways, in the soon coming days of heavy trial.
The central truth American Christians need to remember, as they carry their Sunday morning worship into the Monday through Saturday grind, is that our God is not a God of compromise. His Word is eternal, and the teachings of Jesus Christ, while heavily devoted to love, truth, and forgiveness, never made room for sin. He never bent his principles for the sake of winning elections. His focus was always for the good of the kingdom of God.
Last week we saw more evidence of President Donald Trump’s irreverence, as well as the cultish atmosphere created by his enablers.
I’ve been slammed so hard by Trump supporters for so long, that I can tell you exactly what their next line of offense is going to be, even before they utter it. They have a well-worn script and the tribe mandates that there be no straying into the field of self-awareness, or anything resembling reasoned discussion.
For those who claim to be Christian, the alarming reality is that they feel the Republican Party is the “Christian” party, and that voting the GOP line – the Trump line – is the same as giving honor to God.
It only honors corrupt man.
I spent far too much time in the past few days attempting to appeal to whatever grains of spiritual conscience may still remain in the members of Trump’s faithful congregation. The prevailing rhetoric is that Jesus hung out with sinners, so to expect a level of holiness from anyone was “judging.”
This is the mantra they use to comfort themselves. They’ve convinced themselves that they are the righteous and upright, because they’re willing to give a wink and a nudge to Trump’s corruption, adultery, profanity, and abusiveness.
He is simultaneously deeply flawed, but God’s Chosen One.
And yes, I know God often used the flawed. I know Jesus ate with sinners, but the part Trump’s congregation forget is that those Jesus mingled with were changed. His healing and forgiveness came with a warning: Go, and sin no more.
For those touched by Christ, they were changed. For those who found his teaching too hard or impractical, they remained in their sin.
So has Donald Trump changed in any way, since evangelicals have decided to treat him as God’s representative for America?
He has, but not for the better. He has been emboldened by their unwavering support to give free reign to his worst impulses.
While that should give us plenty to worry about, especially as we contemplate the possibility of another four years of this madness, the spiritual warning signs should be keeping those of us with discernment up at night.
At the very least, those who are clinging to the Trump train, yet still claim some form of piety should feel their senses pricked by both the nuanced and overt declarations coming from the president’s camp.
There have been a multitude of occasions where President Trump has exalted himself, giving himself praise and honor that only belongs to Jesus Christ.
A few months back, he referred to himself as “the King of the Jews.”
For those wondering, that was the sign Pontius Pilate had nailed to the cross over Jesus’ head, as he gave his life for the salvation of the world. That a corrupt, adulterous politician could so blithely claim the title, and still have Christians celebrating him is a stunning show of sacrilege.
He has casually discussed the “massive ego” of Jesus Christ (in a Playboy article).
Jesus Christ came from heavenly royalty, to be born in a lowly manger, then give up his life on a criminal’s cross, in order to save the souls of those who did not know or love him. That’s pretty much the opposite of ego.
He has referred to himself as “the One.”
He routinely uses the Lord’s name in vain during his campaign rallies (along with a few other choice words).
Is he intimating that he is God?
Not in the literal sense. He would have to believe in God, first.
Michael Cohen, Trump’s former “fixer” and personal attorney recently released a tell-all memoir. He was the man who once claimed to be willing to take a bullet for Trump. He describes how easy it is to fall into a cult mindset around Trump, admitting that that’s where he was, much to the chagrin of his family.
In the book, Cohen takes time to go into detail about how Trump publicly appeals to the evangelical crowd, but privately scoffs at their beliefs. They, and their religion, are nothing more than useful tools to achieve his own gains.
And no, he’s not a “baby Christian,” suggesting that he’s going through a period of regeneration and spiritual maturing. He’s not a Christian, at all.
Last week, several alarming issues were raised, and it has become important to, once again, point out to those who will hear, just how far removed from Christ Donald Trump is, and how continued support of him by the Christian community is causing untold damage to their witness. Even more so, the struggle is proving not to be between warring political factions, but between Heaven and Hell, with the American evangelical community so void of discernment, that the great falling away seems to be upon us.
We’ll start with the small issues.
By “small” I mean small in worldly terms, but weighty in spiritual matters.
The New York Times was successful in getting years worth of Trump’s income tax returns. What they revealed was no surprise to anyone not under Trump’s cultish spell.
Trump plays himself up as a grand and successful businessman, but in reality, he kept his business ventures afloat for years by siphoning off his father’s fortune. He even attempted to have his father’s will changed, in order to cut out his siblings and take their share of the inheritance.
After his father was no longer around and Donald took over, he had many businesses simply go bankrupt.
So what do his taxes show?
He owes A LOT, and the bill is coming due, very soon.
One eye-catching takeaway from the deep look into Trump’s strenuously shielded tax filings is that Trump loses a lot of money. Like, a lot. He loses millions at his prized foreign and U.S. golf properties, the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., and many of the roughly 500 entities that make up the Trump Organization.
The Times also details how Trump uses those deep-red losses to avoid paying federal income tax, at least in the U.S. There was a two-year period in which he made too much money to avoid paying taxes, thanks to his share in NBC’s The Apprentice, but he then filed for a refund when the opportunity presented itself after the 2008 financial meltdown. That $72.9 million in refunded taxes plus interest is under audit and has been for years, the Times reports. Trump paid just $750 in federal income tax in both 2016 and 2017, the most recent years in the data the Times obtained.
He’s boasted of avoiding taxes, and his supporters have cheered him on, even as they struggle to pay their own. Still, having this debt hanging over his head has become a critical issue.
But the newly obtained “tax records show that Mr. Trump has once again done what he says he regrets, looking back on his early 1990s meltdown: personally guaranteed hundreds of millions of dollars in loans, a decision that led his lenders to threaten to force him into personal bankruptcy,” the Times reported Sunday. “This time around, he is personally responsible for loans and other debts totaling $421 million, with most of it coming due within four years. Should he win re-election, his lenders could be placed in the unprecedented position of weighing whether to foreclose on a sitting president.”
Along with more than $300 million in loans coming due in the next four years for which he is personally responsible, Trump might have to pay back the federal government more than $100 million, including interest and penalties, if the Internal Revenue Service determines he improperly obtained the $72.9 million tax rebate. Trump has valuable assets he might be able to sell (but really doesn’t want to) — but he also currently serves as the top executive of the same federal government that includes the IRS and America’s federal prosecutors.
Romans 13:7 (AMP) – Pay to all what is due: tax to whom tax is due, customs to whom customs, respect to whom respect, honor to whom honor.
Psalm 37:21 (AMP) – The wicked borrows and does not pay back, But the righteous is gracious and kind and gives.
And yes, I know – many of us have hit hard times and had to borrow, at some point. Many of us struggle with paying our debts. Few of us, however, take such pleasure in cheating or failing to pay. Trump has bragged in the past about how he avoids paying his debts, using legal loopholes.
Another issue that arose in the past week came from his son, Eric Trump.
According to the younger Trump, his father, coarse and perverse as he is, literally saved Christianity, during a North Dakota radio broadcast.
“He’s literally saved Christianity,” Eric Trump told “What’s on Your Mind” host Scott Hennen in remarks first highlighted by CNN. “I mean, there’s a full out war on faith in this country by the other side.”
“The Democratic Party, the far left, has become the party of the ‘atheists,’ and they want to attack Christianity, they want to close churches, they’re totally fine keeping liquor stores open,” he said, referring to COVID-19 orders by governors in some states labeling liquor stores as “essential” businesses, while also putting limitations on the number of people allowed in houses of worship.
And this is where I say I have some agreement with him.
I balked at the restrictions put on worship services, while liquor stores were considered “essential.” Nothing about that made sense to me.
Trump has not “saved” Christianity. The faith was never in danger of going away, no matter who is in office.
Yes, it is under attack from those who do not understand it or who are so steeped in this sinful world that they cling to it, rather than run to Christ. That being said, our savior is not politics, and if by some method the Democrats manage to subvert the Constitution and shut down every house of worship in the land, the faith of the righteous lives on. We don’t need a government daddy to tell us it’s ok to worship and believe. The faithful will find a way.
The idea that we need Trump to defend our values and institutions, as Christians is a form of heresy. If you need any man for that, then did you really have faith, to begin with? Your relationship with God is personal and should be visited daily, whether you have a formal house of worship or not.
Eric Trump making such a public proclamation shows how far removed the Trump family are from any real understanding of Christianity. It shows all the more why Christians shouldn’t look to them as leaders.
Next, there was Trump, himself, guest hosting the Rush Limbaugh radio show, as he held a virtual town hall for his adoring mob.
As he employed his usual bluster, the so-called icon for the religious right let loose with profanity.
President Donald Trump had some choice words for Iran Friday, warning the Islamic Republic: “If you f— around with us, if you do something bad to us, we are going to do things to you that have never been done before.”
As has been pointed out, profanity-laced tirades are common from Trump. His rallies are full of them. The problem is when those who follow him, while claiming to be Christian, see his behavior as ok. They become desensitized and follow him, rather than what the Bible teaches.
Kevin Sorbo, the former “Hercules” star, who now does Christian films, took to social media to express his support for Trump, and even casually dropped the “F” bomb reference, himself.
That’s not ok. It’s not godly or reverent.
Is profanity the worst of sins? In the worldly sense, no, but to a holy God, if we follow Him, we are to strive for holiness, as well. Profanity is not a part of who we are called to be. Sorbo’s casual reference, in defense of Trump, shows more respect for man than God.
Colossians 3:8 (AMP) – But now rid yourselves [completely] of all these things: anger, rage, malice, slander, and obscene (abusive, filthy, vulgar) language from your mouth.
Ephesians 5:4 (ESV) – Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving.
This is the fear I have for the American church. They’ve become more focused on winning elections than winning souls.
They would rather “own the libs” than draw the lost to Christ. In their view, Jesus wears a MAGA cap, and nothing could be further from the truth.
God doesn’t need Donald Trump to save His church. Those who are truly His do not fear political adversaries. No worldly system will save any of us, because every worldly system will fall. God’s true church is eternal.
Am I saying not to vote?
Not at all! I encourage it, but let spiritual discernment guide you, rather than political fear-mongering.
I have never seen any politician more corrupt or inept, yet wield such control over the evangelical masses. It frightens me for our nation’s future. My comfort, however, is in knowing this is only temporary.
Keep your robes white and your eyes to the skies, believers. God is up to something.