2016 will not be the first time the people of God made political decisions born of fear instead of faith.
Evangelicals who know their biblical history will recall the time of the judges after the Israelites had left Egypt and entered the Promised Land of Canaan.
It was a chaotic and lawless time during which foreigners routinely invaded. The people of God grew tired of it all. They demanded a savior, a ruler who would fix all their problems and make Israel great again.
They repudiated their exceptional status as a nation committed to following God’s direction and insisted on a king so they could be like all the other nations.
God warned them through the prophet Samuel that choosing such a man would cost them dearly.
But they didn’t care about the long-term consequences.
They wanted the chaos to end right now.
So God gave them what they wanted—and they lost what they had.
Their new king, Saul, certainly looked the part. He gave every appearance of being a competent leader—tall, good-looking, a “perfect 10” in style points.
But behind his false humility hid a massive ego. Behind the virulent facade hid a wimp who failed to confront giants. Behind the veneer of competence was a petulant bully who punished those who dared to obey God rather than his own decrees.
Their chosen ruler brought a brief respite from chaos and began the nation’s descent into centuries of oppression and captivity.
Evangelical Christians in America today stand in a similar place.
They see chaos erupting around them. They see open borders and lawlessness. They see Republican leadership doing next-to-nothing to stop it.
They are afraid. And they think Donald Trump, in spite of his faults, may be the one to save them.
But they are wrong.
I posted here about 5 things I don’t understand about Christians who support Trump. Given my love for lists, here are five reasons so many evangelicals are supporting Donald Trump:
They are ignorant. I don’t mean that in an insulting way, but a lot of evangelicals are only now tuning into the political process and assessing the situation with a vague perception of Trump as a successful business person who gets things done and wants to make America great again.
They have not dug deeper into his long history of unbiblical positions and behaviors, nor have other candidates exposed Trump for the philandering con artist that he is.
They just don’t know what they don’t know.
They are afraid. Evangelicals see America slipping away in spite of all the promises made by politicians in years past when they said that a vote for them would stop the decay.
But here is where evangelicals are mistaken: the solution to America’s cultural decay will not be found in the electing of any candidate, but in a resurgence of faith and freedom at a grassroots level. [See You Will Be Made to Care for the solutions Erick Erickson and I propose.]
They are overwhelmed. I hear this a lot when talking to undecided evangelicals.
The system is so bad, the bureaucracy so bloated, that nothing can be done. We just need someone to burn it down, blow it up, and start over. I am not sure they understand the pain that will follow, but they are so frustrated, they are willing to “let go and let God.”
Which brings me to my next point.
They are walking by sight and not by faith. Like the Israelites of old, too many evangelicals see the chaos around them and think, We need a king.
In spite of Scriptural truths to the contrary, and in the face of clear biblical warnings about men of Trump’s character and conduct, they see someone who appears to be successful. As the waves and wind increase around them, they have, like Peter of old, taken their eyes off Jesus and panicked.
Like Peter, they will drown if they trust in anything but Christ to save them.
They are putting their faith in a box. Erick and I unpack this point at length in You Will Be Made to Care. Our secular culture wants Christians to believe that faith belongs in a box, confined to private practice and away from the public square.
I predicted this would be the first national election in which a candidate’s Christian faith would be portrayed as a negative, given the rising opposition to religious liberty and hostility toward people who are honest about their faith. But I didn’t think we would see it from Christians themselves, claiming a candidate’s Christian faith deters them from voting for him.
Never before have I heard so many evangelical Christians tell me they think a candidate’s Christian faith may actually be a strike against him.
I’ve heard this from several Christians now who say they do not choose a candidate based on his faith (nor should they) and that they would prefer a non-Christian candidate because our culture is not Christian. Given that logic, Trump would indeed be the best choice.
There is nothing Christian about Donald Trump.
A man who has never seen the need to repent in his life is not a follower of Jesus Christ, no matter how many times he implies the IRS is out to get him because he is “such a strong Christian.”
Listen carefully evangelical brothers and sisters. Either Trump is delusional or he thinks you are stupid. I suspect it’s a mix of both.
As Russell Moore put it:
“I watched one evangelical leader pronounce a candidate a Christian, though he explicitly states that he has never repented of sin, because he displays the fruit of the Spirit in job creation. That’s not a political problem; it’s a Gospel problem.”
Trump thinks you are too ticked off, too afraid, too overwhelmed to care that he is simply Saul in a well-tailored suit. But God is under no obligation to send a David to bail us out this time.
God has not given us a spirit of fear, Christians. So let’s stop acting like it.