We are living in perilous times. As a result of the recent election it is difficult to imagine what the future holds for America. While our hope is not in the government, the government has the ability to make life simpler or more difficult. I am hopeful the election of Donald J. Trump will make it easier for Christians to exercise and express their faith.
Mr. Trump initiated a movement. His support did not come from many within the Republican Party and the Democrats opposed his candidacy with a vengeance. His campaign bucked the mainstream media, Hollywood, the political establishment, special interest groups, and the Washington insiders.
President-elect Trump has promised to drain the swamp. I think he means he intends to try to put an end to the self-interest of career politicians, expose their corruption, and perhaps even establish term limits for congressmen. He has said he is committed to “law and order as well as truth and justice.” It is true that those virtues must once again grace the landscape of American politics.
Hopefully, the president-elect will adhere to the precepts of his party’s platform, which takes a strict, traditionalist view of the family and child rearing, bars military women from combat, declares pornography a “public health crisis,” endorses the First Amendment Defense Act (which would protect faith-based institutions and individuals from government discrimination), and stands against an activist judiciary that usurps powers properly reserved to the people through other branches of government.
On July 22, 2016 Mr. Trump stated he would repeal an amendment pushed by Lyndon Johnson many years ago that threatens religious institutions with a loss of their tax-exempt status if they openly advocate their political views.
Jerry Falwell, Jr. of Liberty University, one of the first high-profile evangelicals to endorse Trump, said that repealing the [Johnson Amendment] IRS restriction will create a “revolution for conservative Christians” that will be “huge.”
Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, commented, “Our freedom to appeal to and unite under God has been under steady assault. Donald Trump has committed to upholding and protecting this first freedom and therefore our ability as citizens to unite our nation once again under God.”
As to whether Donald Trump is a Christian, I do not know. James Dobson says he is a baby Christian. If that is the case, we must surely pray for him, because he is entering an arena that seems to be generally ambivalent, if not hostile, to Christianity.
In an interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network, President-elect Trump stated, “Believe me, if I run and I win, I will be the greatest representative of the Christians they’ve had in a long time.”
It is likely that evangelicals had a lot to do with Mr. Trump’s election, so we must pray that he will become our ally in opposing the tyranny of a burgeoning federal government and allow the government to be “of the people, by the people, and for the people.”
Furthermore, if he repeals the Johnson Amendment and pastors are permitted to “cry aloud and spare not” every preacher worth his salt ought to sound forth the clarion call for this nation to repent and return to God. It is doubtful that any true, God-called preacher would allow the Johnson Amendment to silence his voice, but the pulpit must no longer be silent and it must no longer give an uncertain sound.
Charles Finney, the great revivalist of the 19th century, called for preachers to signal the call to righteousness. He cried, “We need more Boanerges or sons of thunder in the pulpit. We need men that will flash forth the law of God like livid lightning and arouse the consciences of men.
“Away with this milk-and-water preaching of a love of Christ that has no holiness or moral discrimination in it; away with preaching a love of God that is not angry with sinners every day. Away with preaching a Christ not crucified for sin.
Finney added, “Brethren, our preaching will bear its legitimate fruits. If immorality prevails in the land, the fault is ours in a great degree. If there is a decay of conscience, the pulpit is responsible for it. If the public press lacks moral discrimination, the pulpit is responsible for it.
“If the church is degenerate and worldly, the pulpit is responsible for it. If the world loses its interest in religion, the pulpit is responsible for it. If Satan rules in our halls of legislation, the pulpit is responsible for it. If our politics become so corrupt that the very foundations of our government are ready to fall away, the pulpit is responsible for it. Let us not ignore this fact, my dear brethren; but let us lay it to heart, and be thoroughly awake to our responsibility in respect to the morals of this nation.”
In Donald J. Trump’s successful bid for the presidency he promised to Make America Great Again. When Trump addressed policy I liked much of what he said, but, unfortunately, he never seemed to understand the true secret to America’s greatness.
Alex De Tocqueville, the nineteenth century French statesman, said “America is great because she is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, she will cease to be great.”
Mr. Trump’s life does not seem to be marked by extraordinary virtue and his personality does not seem to be clothed in great humility, but we can pray that he will grow in wisdom and grace and hope that he surrounds himself with people who will give him wise and godly counsel. The endorsement of people like Jerry Falwell, Jr., James Dobson, Mike Huckabee, Ben Carson, Ralph Reed, and others give hope that Trump will discover the secret to America’s greatness.
If Mr. Trump is a baby Christian, maybe the world will have an opportunity to see him grow in his faith; and perhaps at the same time we will see pastors return to their pulpits with a holy passion to preach the unsearchable riches of Christ and the whole counsel of God, because only when America’s pulpits become aflame with righteousness will we understand once again the secret of her genius and power.