Jul 132017 11 Responses

Why the Church Owes Trump an Apology

The church owes Donald Trump an apology. We failed him. In yet another example of how badly the church operates when wedded with power, we have spent the past two years playing a political game at the expense of the high calling which God has charged us. Trump is one of our victims and for that, we should repent.

He probably doesn’t feel victimized. As he sits in the House we’ve loaned him, Trump likely feels as though the American church is his friend. He temporarily has benefited from our relationship so he likely doesn’t recognize the harm we have done. He doesn’t see our failure to love him. His eyes are likely blind to the ways we’ve used him.

He also used us.  Our failures don’t diminish his. But his sin isn’t our concern. We should take responsibility for our wrongs–name them, repent for them, and seek to make amends.

3 Ways the Church Failed Trump

Here are a few ways we must apologize to President Trump:

1. We cared more about our politics than your soul. The church has a job. We are to properly prioritize life. While we don’t deny the importance of earthly things (the Lord did teach us to pray about “our daily bread”) we do so in submission to higher things (“your kingdom come, your will be done”). The soul of an individual is more vital than the direction of a temporary country (and every country is temporary).

Sadly, we, the church, failed. We were willing to baptize Trump without any repentance on his own behalf in order to make him feel like one of us. We proclaimed to him a false Gospel–forget about it rather than repent of it–because we were more concerned with what he could do for us (thanks for the nominee) rather than what Jesus did for him. Once again, we were seduced by power. We were fooled into thinking if we just got control, we would then make everything right. Having forgotten Satan’s temptation of Jesus, we were willing to bow down to anything in order to gain the whole world. (See: When Trump Becomes a Christian)

2. While God called us to love you, we chose to use you. It felt like love. What many Christians have done for Trump mimics the world’s definition of love, but it was not the Biblical definition of love. We didn’t lay down our lives (or our politics) for Trump. We praised him, supported him, and pretended to have his best interests at heart. But we didn’t. Nothing that we have done has been in his best interests. Denying his past, downplaying the role of character in Christ-like leadership, and normalizing his behavior was not for his benefit. Love confronts sin in order to point toward the Gospel. The church denied sin in order to garner a candidate.

The church is no stranger to using people, but that doesn’t diminish the seriousness of our failure to him. Trump deserved the truth proclaimed in love and we gave him neither. We gave him what he wanted–the Presidency–but not what he needed–a chance to recognize his need for the Gospel.

3. We chose hypocrisy over honesty. With Jesus, there is no divide between the surface and the substance. Jesus doesn’t do facades. Sadly, the church often does. Since we could not persuade Trump to the message of the Gospel (one that demands personal repentance), the church has given the appearance that he is a believer. We have pretended to be his brother without actually sharing kinship. This has caused hypocrisy within the church. So a pastor who proclaims the words of Jesus from the Sermon on the Mount, “when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand a pray…at the street corners, that they might be seen by others…but when you pray, got into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret,” will Tweet out a picture of pastors praying for the President in the Oval office calling it the greatest selfie ever. He does so to give the appearance that Trump is a believer. He does the opposite of Scripture to give the appearance of something even though the substance (true repentance) is lacking. (See: What Evangelicals Forget Regarding Elections)

The church has failed Donald Trump. While our failure has many expressions, our basic problem is that we have not loved him well. That is our task and we have not performed it. We have not been kind to him for it is unkind to use others. We have envied his power and boasted of our relationship with him. We have applauded his arrogance and rudeness. We have insisted on our own way instead of the way of Jesus. We have encouraged his irritability and resentment. We have rejoiced at wrongdoing, but not rejoiced with the truth. We have failed to love him and in so doing, we have failed to love Jesus.

Notice, I’m not saying it was a sin to vote for Trump. People vote for a variety of reasons. I’m not saying his supporters alone are guilty of these sins and that those who opposed Trump can say our hands are clean. This is a failure for all the church. What I am saying is that we have not loved the President well. Many have given him a false support without doing what was truly in his best interest while others have simply hated him, forgetting our own sin. Jesus calls us to a different way. He demands from us a love which compassionately speaks the truth, holds people accountable, and points to the narrow way all while recognizing our own frailties and sins.

For our failure, we should seek forgiveness from both Trump and God.

11 Responses to Why the Church Owes Trump an Apology
  1. Daniel Reply

    Every one of your responses is based on a false premise. As commanded by Jesus, I love Donald Trump, even though I cannot accept a single action he has taken since stealing the presidency. I cannot, with good conscience, allow his devastating actions go by without condemning them for what they are; a glory seeking attempt to usurp all rights from the masses. And no, I am not perfect. But I have made the effort to change; Donald Trump with never change. He is evil incarnated, and only when the repenting sinners stand up against him and his crew of lying bandits, will the righteousness of God become prominent.

  2. Judy Riser Reply

    This describes the tension I feel in my soul regarding president Trump. We are known by our fruit. It is a sad day when we align the banner of Christ with someone who does not walk the walk and spread the light and love of Jesus through word and deed.

  3. Jack Straw Reply

    Your congregation deserves an apology. Instead of speaking truth for the past 2 years, you let the inmates rule the asylum and champion voting for Trump, mostly because of greed but also because of a couple idiotic issues like gay marriage and abortion, which will never change. So you allowed your flock to celebrate pure Evil so that the “least of these” suffer at the hands of the corrupt wealth owners.. Kevin, you need to personally Apologize to all the people you lead astray by keeping silent!

    The worst part of it all is that you and your flock are so very easily blinded so that the rich can keep getting richer while the poor keep getting poorer, and your own poor are among those who suffer! Nothing about the Republicans in 2017 reflects any of the teachings of Christ; meanwhile all the flock crowds around the exact opposite of every New Testament Teaching you can find, and partly because of you are lead to believe their groupthink is a good reflection of their religion.

    In all actuality, what is happening today thanks to the actions of “the church” is a Perfect Indicator of where “the church” — your church — is at today.

    Meanwhile, you deflect away from the real problem: greed, selfishness, judgmentalism, and misinterpretation of scripture. Whoops! Don’t let that come in, lest your monthly Tithing numbers start slipping… which is what it’s all about, right??

  4. ROY L Dalessandro Reply

    My only comment would be that America had to make a choice between bad and evil and they chose bad.

  5. Stacie Reply

    “Denying his past” There is not a person on this planet with a perfect past, not one. You use the term ‘church’ very loosely. You might also check your webpage pics for Feb. 2, 2014, because you ALSO posted a pic of individuals praying.

  6. Jan R. Reply

    Thank you for your post regarding the president. I heard you speaking on Janet Parshall’s broadcast, liked your thoughtful counsel on marriage, then tracked you back to your blog where I was able to read your thoughts on the church and it’s attitude toward the president. Unlike several of the other comments, I would like to be in agreement with your perspective. The deep emotions expressed regarding politics and social issues are dividing the body. Why are we so reactive and angry when we are so blessed? We are not instructed to solve all social issues or to join in the polarization of our country. Voting for any candidate should be done after prayer, consideration of what we know about a candidate and how their election may affect their constituents. They are all sinful men and women not gods. They can be replaced and influenced by any number of unanticipated factors. My hope is that those who have strong opinions get involved in politics and administration so they can experience the changing tide of public opinion. The Church needs to stay the course of Biblical instruction and Jesus’ words about the greatest commandment.

  7. Horace Reply

    Winston Churchill nor Abraham Lincoln were the darling of media or evangelicals.
    Abraham Lincoln was no darling of the Conservative Christians of his time. In the day of Charles Finney, when there were many devout Christians in America, Abraham Lincoln did not even proclaim to belong to any specific denomination. Yet, he was a God-fearing man and frequently quoted the Bible in public speeches during his presidency.
    In the darkest days of World War II, England chose Winston Churchill, who was a profane drinker. Churchill was a bloviating, cigar-smoking politician whose opinions were frequently offensive and whose judgment was faulty. Looking back at history, he was the Cyrus for Great Britain that defeated the Nazi spirit in Adolf Hitler. … With Lincoln, here’s a man that wouldn’t even identify himself as a pew-sitting believer; unthinkable. But, he became the most Bible-quoting man in office.”
    The prayer of a righteous man is more powerful than the office of President. God always looks for a man to stand in the gap and plead for the sins of the people. He found such a man in Noah (Gen. 6:8). This has always been the case throughout Israel’s history that God raised up a leader in a time of judgment and brought restoration. From Abraham to Moses to Gideon to Jephthah; from Jehoshaphat to Hezekiah to Josiah, it has always been the pattern.
    We are facing the same cycle today as Israel and our spiritual forefathers did before us. In his book on revival, Winkie Pratney states that there is a cycle of change and decay, of reformation and revival and then apostasy, which agrees with the four fold collapse of Israel’s history:
    1. Israel forgot God;
    2. Israel forgot God’s laws;
    3. Israel made up new gods;
    4. Israel made up new laws.
    We need a third great awakening right now that will affect not only America, but the nations of the world! God has given us the formula to change a nation. “If my people humble themselves and pray” Our responsibility is to pray for our leaders.

  8. Larry Reply

    Just got this email (3-10-19) forwarded to me. Unfortunately, it is much easier to proclaim “truth“ to our leaders than to pray for them. I found this so to be true when Bill Clinton was in office as well as now. I voted for Donald Trump in 2016 not because he was a saint or saintly; I felt that he was the lesser of two greatly flawed people and causes. Unless something changes drastically I will do the same in 2020. To do otherwise, Would be to presume I know the contents of their hearts. And again it’s still easier for me to scrutinize their character than to pray for their hearts

    • Kevin A. Thompson Reply

      I think we can pray for our leaders while also evaluating their character. For me, character is the most important aspect. Issues come and go (and most of what we look for in a President regarding issues is actually the responsibility of the Legislature), but character stays the same.

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