These days many people forget that America’s Founders’ did not oppose human despotism for the sake of the stupid notions of licentious sexual and others “freedoms” that are now falsely identified with liberty. They understood that human beings stand truly free only when they observe the boundaries or rules, informed by their Creator, which enable and preserve the existence of humanity. Thus the only Father whose kingly and absolute rule the Founders’ acknowledged and sought to assure was God the Father. From a Christian perspective, this acknowledgment is what opens up the possibility of allegiance to the Constitution and government they devised for the United States.
By raising the standard of God’s rule as the standard of right and justice (i.e., the implementation of right) for the American people, the Founders staked out the common ground on which our identity as a nation could be established in a way that was open to all people of good will. This includes all people willing to living according to the rule of God which the reason He shares with each of us by nature makes available to our human understanding.
Contrary to what some anti-Christ ideologues contend, this common ground of America’s identity does not exclude people who do not yet acknowledge the Father in and through His Son, Jesus Christ. But it does require that they respect the rule that foreshadows that acknowledgment in action, the rule of reason that translates, in terms of human understanding, the laws of Nature and of Nature’s God.
All human beings have the capacity to live in respect of this rule. Some do. But only those whose understanding of life has been transformed by the presence of Christ, as shown by the good fruits they bear as a result, can be relied upon to represent Christian people, thus transformed, in government. This is why Christians should prefer them to office as their representatives. Knowing this, American politicians who sought the support of Christian voters were, and still are, driven to establish their credentials as fellow believers.
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Throughout his campaign, Donald Trump has followed this pattern. Yet the tenor of his life and political ideology lead many Christian voters to do what German Christians, tempted by Hitler’s rhetorical pose, did not. They reject Donald Trump’s profession of faith because of the bad fruit they see abounding in so many branches of his life. To deal with their reluctance Mr. Trump recently assembled a large group of self-professed Christians for a session in which he hoped to assuage such doubts. In an interview done in the context of that meeting Dr. James Dobson reported that Donald Trump is a baby Christian, recently brought to trust in Jesus Christ as His Lord and Savior.
In his report, Dr. Dobson inexplicably ignores Christ’s instructions about judging faith by its fruits, even if we must leave the judgment of hearts to God. He also implies that it makes sense to let any baby but the baby Jesus take charge of government in our lives. When Christ speaks well of baby Christians, it’s because of the simple trust they show in God, thanks to the overflowing transformative power of God’s Grace. The usual problem with being a “baby Christian” is an immoderate zeal, not the deliberate choice to defy God’s law (as Trump does with his support of the effort to erase from American life all signs of respect for the God-ordained distinction between male and female.)
In any case, Dr. Dobson’s use of the term “baby Christian” implies that Trump is not mature in his ability to let Christ’s mind be in him. Trump’s immaturity in this respect is quite evident from the way he speaks and behaves. Yet the job of President certainly requires a Christian understanding nourished by meat, not milk. (1 Cor. 3:2) So even if Dr. Dobson’s assessment of Trump were not overwhelmingly refuted by past and current evidence, it would still be contrary to the prudence of Jesus Christ. This prudence was exemplified in the due caution shown by the Apostles as they dealt with Saul’s conversion, even though Saul gave a compelling account of it.
Trump’s “I’m saved from sin by my own works” rejection of the need to seek God’s forgiveness has, in any case, effectively undermined the credibility of any such conversion story. What person, truly bathed in the blood of Christ, and washed clean by water and the word, mistakes the overwhelming sense of peace, hope and fervor that results, for a work of his own hands? Risking the future of our posterity, including their spiritual understanding (which is at stake in all the most important political issues of our day) on “baby” Donald’s example in the Presidency is spiritually questionable, at the very least.
Moreover, if Trump is a “baby Christian” supporting him for President is inconsiderate in precisely the way the Apostle Paul rebukes, in his counsel about eating food offered to idols (1 Corinthians 8:4-13). Paul says that it does not make sense to risk scandal by eating such food, because of the potentially ruinous misimpression the act may give to those less mature in faith. It may wound and damage their conscience. With this in mind, what sense does it make to thrust a “baby Christian” into a situation dominated by the idolatrous temptations of power, especially when that convert has, throughout his prior life, proved unable to resist them. This is not an act of love toward Mr. Trump or the people of the United States.
Dr. Dobson’s report of Trump’s recent acceptance of Christ therefore militates against the view that Christians can, in good conscience, endorse him for President. Yet this is the very thing Dr. Dobson seeks to promote. I for one will pray that Dr. Dobson’s eyes are opened in this respect, along with those of other sincerely professing followers of Christ whose discernment, in supporting Mr. Trump, seems as doubtful as the soil into which the seed of Mr. Trump’s Christian profession may or may not have fallen.
The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.