Questions for the Church in America

There were many so-called prophets who said what the people wanted to hear, but they weren’t the real prophets of God.


The NPR headline reads – Survey: White Evangelicals See Trump As ‘Honest’ And ‘Morally Upstanding’. Some of the comments on social media include the following: “Nothing new to me as they are all my racist, homophobic relatives”; and “Scary”.

I am reading through the Old Testament in chronological order this year, and I am currently slogging through Kings and Chronicles. It’s a tough go, and especially tougher as I think about the current political and religious landscape in the United States. It’s hard to know where religion ends and politics begins.

The depressing thing about Kings and Chronicles is how far the people of God go off the ranch. Starting with King David, the man after God’s heart, it’s a steady downward spiral with a few brief interludes of an effort to rid the kingdoms of idols and immorality.

I say kingdoms (plural) because the people began to split under King Solomon and formed two kingdoms, Israel and Judah, immediately after he died. They spent much of their time before the Babylonian captivity fighting and killing each other!

Let me just say this: the United States is NOT a nation of God’s people like Israel was. Yes, we have been blessed by God. Our “founding fathers” (more or less) honored God and used some biblical principals (among other things) on which to form the Constitution and laws by which we are governed. BUT, The USA is not God’s chosen people like Israel was.

We shouldn’t flatter ourselves that way. The Roman Empire became a Christian nation too after Constantine. England, and France, and most of the European countries were Christian nations even more than the US is today. Church and State were married together in governance through the Dark Ages (though it didn’t stop them from warring with each other either).

There is only one people to whom God chose to reveal Himself and to enter into covenant relationship for the purpose of blessing all nations by setting the stage for His own humble entry into history and eventual sacrifice for our sins. Those chosen people aren’t us. God already accomplished His purpose for those chosen people, and now He is on to redemption of the world for all who would follow Him.

We can say with biblical confidence that God ordained Donald Trump as President (Romans 13:1), but for what purpose? God gave Israel King Saul when they demanded a king, but their demand for a king was a rejection of God. Is Trump the king we wanted?

Not that God is thrown off by those things. He works His purpose regardless of the vagaries and ambivalence of His people. I am not concerned about God accomplishing His purposes. He will! But what about the church in America? Where do we stand?

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Donald Trump, Fruit and Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing

We have no business judging those outside the church but are instructed to judge those within the church.

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Paul wrote to the believers in Phillipi:

“Let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ… standing firm in the spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith.” (Philippians 1:27)

Paul’s earnest instruction to the Philippians was that their “manner of life” (conduct) be worthy of the Gospel of Jesus. The Greek word translated “manner” means, among other things, “recognized as fitting”.[1] Paul is talking about what we see in people, the outside appearances. In essence, Paul is saying let your conduct and the way people perceive you match the fruit of the Spirit that is working within you.

The fruit of the Spirit is “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control….”[2]

Jesus warned about false prophets, adding that we would know them by their fruits.[3] In contrast, Jesus said the world would know us by our love[4], which is the greatest of the fruits of the Spirit.[5]

In this context, how do we, as Christians, respond to the things that Donald Trump says and does? Why do we defend him? Why have we tied our destiny to him? What does the fruit look like that hangs from his tree?

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Trump, the Prosperity Gospel and Truth

We are warned on the one hand that many will be deceived by those who come with power and signs and wonders. On the other hand, we are warned not to speak against the Holy Spirit who moves with power and performs signs and wonders.

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(c) Can Stock Photo / jkraft5

I posted an article about the dangers of the prosperity gospel and the spiritual advisers to Donald Trump who preach it.[1] Somebody responded that we can’t understand them unless we have been baptized in the Holy Spirit. This got me thinking.

I can understand where my friend is coming from.

I came to Christ in the living room of a charismatic Methodist insurance salesman. It was a sense of the miraculous that drew me to God, along with the message itself. I went to a charismatic church for two (2) years in college and (6) six years after college. I attended charismatic and Pentecostal churches for years after moving to Illinois. I am familiar with the baptism in the Holy Spirit.[2]

But we need to be careful here.

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