Recently, presidential candidate Donald Trump announced members of a “faith advisory board”. Hold on to your seats… It’s about to get real. Here are some of the names of members of the board.
Jerry Falwell (President of Liberty University)
James Dobson (President of Focus on the Family)
Richard Land (former president of the SBC ERLC)
Paula White (prosperity gospel “preacher”)
Kenneth and Gloria Copland (Word of Faith heretics)
Ronnie Floyd (former SBC President)
Robert Jeffress (pastor)
David Jeremiah (pastor and author)
Jack Graham (pastor)
James MacDonald (pastor)
Michelle Bachmann (former Republican VP candidate)
A.R. Bernard (Pentecostal pastor)
Robert Morris (Charismatic pastor)
Jentezen Franklin (Pentecostal pastor)
Stop for a second and consider this list. From gospel solid believers to heretics. The fundamental thing that unites Christians, namely the gospel, is not even agreed upon within this group.
Paula White, a two time divorcee and woman who claims the role of pastor, was caught in an “inappropriate relationship” with “faith healer” Benny Hinn (I’m surprised Hinn didn’t make Trump’s “evangelical” dream team. Kenneth and Gloria Copeland preach the Word of Faith gospel where you “claim” things in your life through faith. Health, wealth, prosperity… you name it. God is your cosmic piggy bank. Not only that, but you have Pentecostal pastors who claim that unless you have spoken in tongues, you haven’t experienced the baptism of the Holy Spirit. As a general rule of thumb, if your preaching is featured on TBN or CBN, you don’t believe the gospel. Yet these names are right alongside names of Gospel believing men like David Jeremiah and Jack Graham. Whatever my theological differences may be with guys like James MacDonald, they believe and preach the same gospel. So what in the world is going on here?
For a long time, Trump has attempted to court evangelicals as is the common practice of Republican candidates over the years. Evangelicals to Trump represent a voting base. Nothing more. While I have not listed every member, I’ve listed some of the bigger names to make a point. Trump’s primary concern is getting votes, and Evangelicals to be quite honest act like they were born yesterday when it comes to politics. We are gullible and dumb.
A big part of the reason so many evangelicals buy into this is because we have been indoctrinated with “American Christianity”. We’ve been taught that America and Christian are synonyms. Not only that, we have abandoned theology for numbers. The teaching of many churches is superficial and weak and because of this, people don’t have a theological leg to stand on, much less a biblical worldview to guide decisions. Many end up getting their eschatological views from Left Behind and are so concerned that Hillary Clinton will be the Nicolae Carpathia of our time that they operate out of fear, placing their hope in electing the “right guy” (pun intended). Many don’t have a solid understanding of the fact that Christ is currently reigning. That He is in control. They don’t understand that real social change only comes from a changed heart through believing the gospel, and instead of doing the work of an evangelist, we are sitting around watching Fox News and all the fear-mongering of the media wringing our thumbs awaiting the rapture. While we give lip service to the gospel, our actions show that our hope is in American democracy and the goal of our hope is a moral society. A believer’s hope is in Christ and the power of the gospel to transform hearts and the goal of our hope is the glory of God. God is not glorified in our idolatry of American freedom. He is glorified when we still preach the gospel when that freedom is taken away.
This list of “faith advisors” represents nothing more than a sly political move on the part of Trump to court every demographic within the Republican party that he can. What’s more, it’s “Christians” suckling at the power teat to restore America to her former Republican glory. Sort of like how Trump quoted “two Corinthians” at Liberty University to try to show how Christian he was. He may indeed have faith in Christ. I cannot tell, but his actions say otherwise. When Jerry Falwell and his wife pose for a picture with Trump and the cover of Playboy which featured Trump is in the background, it says a lot. Perhaps Ephesians 4:29 would have been a better verse for Trump to quote. “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”
This article is by Jon Hawkins. Jon is husband to Carlee, father to Finleigh and the pastor for Preaching at Arbor Drive Community Church in York, Nebraska. He holds an MDiv in Biblical and Theological Studies from SBTS and will begin working on a DMin in Church Revitalization from SBTS in the fall.