I have so many mixed emotions and mixed thoughts following the election that appears to have established Donald Trump as the President elect of the United States of America. As an evangelical, I feel that we won; our voice was heard. But did we?
We elected a man that none of us can trust and most of us can’t stand. We hope that he has changed and is changing, but we don’t know that. There was a rumor that he made a profession of faith back in the spring, and that he is a new Christian, born again and now one of us.
Is that really true? We simply don’t know.
To be fair, we can all relate to the fact that new Christians often continue to struggle with open sin and sinful ways of thinking, acting and talking. When God gets a hold of someone, though, He begins to transform the mind and the heart and the fruit begins to show in the outward life.
I hope that is what has happened and is happening with Donald Trump.
But that aside, while we won the battle for the presidency, I am afraid we may have lost the message of the Gospel.
We voted with a coalition that includes white supremacists and right wing radicals that do not preach the same gospel that we preach. We voted a man into office who bragged about sexually assaulting women and demeaning them. We elected a man who gave instructions from the lectern to beat up people at his rally who disagreed with him.
What have we done?!
I am reading and listening to people who feel betrayed by us. Women who have been sexually violated and physically abused, or people who know loved one who have been abused are angry and, in some cases, inconsolable. Some of those victims counted themselves among us, but they now feel betrayed, left out in the cold and no longer feel comfortable in Christian circles.
It’s as if we let the bullying, womanizing abuser into our own sanctuaries. Victims no longer feel safe with us.
Immigrants and friends and families of immigrants are genuinely fearful. The wall and the specter of immigrant round-ups loom very large. They see that the church overwhelmingly elected the man who threatened these things, ran his campaign on these things, and they no longer feel safe with the church.
Jesus was accused of being a sinner because he lived his life among the downtrodden, derelict and discarded people of society. They were sinners to be sure, but the only difference between them and the good, religious people was their socio-economic position. The sinners Jesus hung out with were not accepted by the sinners with “respectable” lives.
According to Thabiti Anyabwile, a pastor for Anacostia River Church in southeast Washington, DC and a council member of The Gospel Coalition, we have surrendered our moral high ground, abandoned all solidarity with marginalized groups, bowed to a partisan idol and, thereby, have compromised the Gospel and our credibility in the world. (Problems Associated with White Evangelical Support of Donald Trump). I am afraid he is exactly right.
We should not be smug in our victory, hollow as it may well be. We have secured a couple of decades of conservative court justices (if Trump does what he says), but we may have lost 50 years of Gospel outreach to people who desperately need it.
I hope that I am wrong! But I fear that I am right.
One thing is for certain: we have our work cut out for us. We have a lot of distrust to overcome. If there was ever a time for the world to know us by our love (and not our political position), now is the time! Our love will need to be even more radical than our political posture. Or we will have lost far more than we have gained.
What does it profit us if we have gained the political high ground in our country but forfeited the soul of the Gospel?