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

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