Voting for Mr. Trump was one of the most difficult and excruciating things I’ve ever done. In the end I did so primarily due to one issue – abortion. After watching former Secretary of State Clinton coolly and confidently support abortion up until the last minute before a child is born, while also stating that an unborn child has no rights whatsoever – that was the turning point for me. There was no sense of anything in her except great pride that we do this in America. Because Mr. Trump had made it clear that he would oppose abortion (albeit with a promise – not exactly the most trustworthy currency in an election) I chose to vote for him. I did so without a sense of great pride in my vote – without any kind of bravado – I simply did it to protect the unborn. Having said this – and having read far too many facebook posts from both sides that broke my heart after the election – I want to offer unsolicited advice to those who are evangelicals who voted for president-elect Trump.
President-elect Trump needs our prayers (as does President Obama) as he faces the presidency. First and foremost, it is my opinion, based upon his actions and words, that we need to pray for this man’s salvation. I was never under any deception that he was or is a Christian – regardless of what the President of Liberty University says. This man needs to repent of sin and receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior – period. By the way, if that statement offends you, I believe all men and women need to repent and receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior because all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. If you are a “true evangelical” then this is THE issue for us ultimately – is he (or anyone else for that matter) someone who has come to understand that he is a sinner by choice and by nature – has come to understand that Jesus is the God-man who came and paid for sin by His death, burial, and resurrection – and has come to repentance over his sin and now has put his faith in Jesus Christ to pay for his sin and make him acceptable to God.
President-elect Trump also needs our prayers to govern wisely as the chief executive and commander in chief over our armed forces. Ask anyone who has ever held this office, there is tremendous pressure and responsibility associated with it. And take it from someone who is only a father and pastor of a local church – the more authority you have – the greater the damage you can do by making unwise and ungodly decisions. My unwise choices affect the 14 people in my family – and at least 175-200 people who attend the fellowship I am honored to serve. Things like pride, ego, marital infidelity, foul language, caustic comments, and perverse treatment of women, are unwise and ungodly from a biblical perspective. Sorry if this offends you but I am a pastor who is responsible to teach God’s Word – and advance a godly and righteous lifestyle. We can support him in some ways – but we need to be clear that these actions and attitudes are unacceptable. Should we show our president-elect grace and love? Absolutely. But can we afford as evangelicals to just gloss over the clear elephant in the room when it comes to his character and ungodliness? If we do – we will lose the moral authority to speak to our society – especially those who opposed him in the election who need the gospel so badly.
President-elect Trump – and our nation – need our prayers for healing and unity. Only someone who has lived under a rock for the last year and a half is unaware of the incredible rift that there is in our nation. He is not responsible alone for this rift – but this past election cycle only made us aware of how wide it is. I am painfully aware that much of this rift is due to vastly divergent worldviews. Both sides of this divide view the moral stances of the other as moral bankruptcy. He will face deep divides that will require wisdom, patience, and understanding to even begin to address. As an evangelical there are issues within our nation where I have to take a stand that is unpopular – very unpopular with those who oppose it. There are moral issues – issues about sexuality – issues about justice – issues about racism – issues about abortion and crisis pregnancies – issues about how to help those in financial need – so many issues that even trying to list them makes my head swim. What makes it worse is that currently any discourse about them has become so incendiary that basic communication (where we respect one another) seems almost impossible. We so quickly descend into sound bytes and insults at the drop of a hat. Oh how we need to move away from listening to the talking heads and talk radio and actually listen to one another once again. The rhetoric of the election has left us all battered and worn out emotionally. Pray that our President – and our president-elect can begin to heal the fractures – rather than make them worse.
One final word though to those of us who are evangelicals – and it is a word of great warning. If we choose to swagger through the next several months before and after the inauguration we are going to see the gospel itself face a terrible backlash. If we act as if Mr. Trump has great moral authority after what we’ve learned about how he treats women and his own marriage – we will alienate a large group of women who need to hear the gospel. They will see our joy over his election as an endorsement of his immoral actions – and will turn a deaf ear to the message of the gospel. If we act as if it wasn’t a problem that he didn’t distance himself from the KKK and other white supremacist groups with the strongest words possible – we will alienate many in the black community. They will see our joy in his election as an affirmation of what they already see as systemic racism and will turn a deaf ear to the gospel. If we act as if Mr. Trump’s bravado and pride – and the many morally questionable insults toward his opponents – should be seen as just politics as normal – we should not be surprised to see a rejection of our gospel as if it is associated with such insults. If we don’t at least attempt to see the political discourse toned down from its new lows in foul language that should offend people’s sensibilities - too many will deduce that we have come to endorse of this kind of talk. They will mock us when we say that the Bible teaches us to reject “corrupt communication from our mouths.” They will see such statements as just another way we’ve embraced hypocrisy as Christians. This will, in turn, justify in their minds turning a similar deaf ear to whatever else we have to say about salvation and the gospel. I’ve already seen too many posts by those on the other side of the political divide who are saying that if Trump represents evangelicalism – they are done with it.
Be careful precious saints of God – and be wise in the days ahead. Our attitudes and our demeanor can do much to either advance the gospel or turn people off to it. May God give us wisdom, especially in these days to prove ourselves true sons of God – who embrace both truth and our role to be peacemakers. THE most important thing is that we, as evangelicals, see that what our nation needs most is the grace of God in the gospel of Jesus Christ. These are the only things that will bring about the much-needed revival in the church and the even more-needed spiritual awakening among the lost. So that these things may come to our nation may God give us grace to be men and women wise enough to navigate such a time as this.