Image credits: Header photograph of Donald Trump by Gage Skidmore
Psalm 26:2a, Judge me, O Lord; for I have walked in mine integrity .. I have hated the congregation of evil doers; and will not sit with the wicked.
I just read an article on the Christian Post website entitled “When Picking a President, Does Character Still Count to Evangelicals?” It was written by a Chelsen Vicari. I do not know very much about Miss Vicari, but she raises something that is of great importance when a Christian determines for whom he or she will cast a vote in an election.
She writes of her work in politics in 2012 and that it was pointed out to her that “Character Counts” is a very important quality in any presidential candidate. The character of Donald Trump, the GOP presumptive candidate for president of the US is widely known, and it is not good. He had an adulterous affair. He reportedly opened the first strip joint in the Atlantic City casinos. He owns casinos. The complete absence of the shackles of humility in his character is a reflection of the current state of affairs in the American popular culture. His boasting and self-promotion have known little if any bounds.
Miss Vicari rightly wonders how and why supposed Evangelical leaders such as Jerry Falwell Jr, James Dobson and David Jeremiah would be on Trump’s Evangelical Advisory Board. That should make a Christian take pause and wonder at the spiritual wisdom and discernment of these men. Dobson even reported that Mr. Trump has recently been saved. If the Gospel preached to Mr. Trump was the Biblical Gospel command to repent and believe the Gospel and he truly did, then I praise the Lord and trust that we will soon see some major changes in Mr. Trump’s business practices. This is what occurred in the life of Zacchaeus upon his conversion. Would we not now begin to see Mr. Trump stop boasting in himself and begin boasting of the greatness of the Mighty Savior that had just delivered him from eternal damnation because of his sins? Such was the case with the Samaritan woman at the well. Time will tell if he truly has been born again. See 2 Corinthians 5:17.
However, if that Gospel message lacked an explanation of repentance and of what saving faith is and why both are necessary, then what Mr. Dobson reported would be incorrect and possibly self-serving on his part to justify his sitting in company with the still lost, wicked candidate. I speak these words with all fearfulness, realizing my own sinful nature that must be put off continually as I seek to follow my Savior and Lord Jesus Christ. But we are living in days of great deception and it is so easy for Christians to be led astray. One of the great deceptions of our day occurs because we love this world more than we love our God and His Word.
We must guard against the influence of false prophets, just as Jeremiah did in his day. Those prophets spoke from the “deceit of their own hearts,” Jeremiah 23:26. The sins of the nation of Judah had gotten so great and the deception of the false prophets so prevalent that the Lord told Jeremiah not to pray for the people of Judah (Jeremiah 7:16;14:11). I think a major failure of the influence of Christianity in our nation is not necessarily due to low voter turnout, but it is the failure of the preachers to preach the “whole counsel of God” to the people of God. Like in Jeremiah’s time, the popular priests and prophets of his day as well as our own “have healed the hurt of the daughter of my (God’s) people slightly, saying Peace, peace; when there is no peace,” Jeremiah 8:11. Are we to take the word of “evangelical leaders” that a vote for Trump is a “safe” thing to do and that it will be a benefit for Christians? Or should we not look at his business and personal record and compare that to the ideals of character that we should desire and support when we cast our ballot?
The article continued: “According to The Washington Post, “the Donald” earned a standing ovation from his captivated conservative Christian audience. With such a warm and fuzzy response to a man known for having a very public affair, bringing the first strip club to Atlantic City’s casinos, and prompting brazen misogyny, it’s hard to ignore a compromising shift in attitudes among certain Evangelical leaders.
“Before pro-Trump supporters unleash against me on Twitter, let me explain.
“During the 2012 presidential election, I worked for Concerned Women for America. Penny Young Nance served as President and CEO. While working on a “She Votes” project, Nance told me “when picking a president, character counts.”
“I remember she explained the mantra was especially popular among the Religious Right during the Clinton administration, but Nance noted “character counts” is not an expectation solely reserved for Democrats. Character counts when picking a president. Period.
“Too bad some members of the Religious Right don’t follow Nance’s good advice. For some of the Evangelicals now serving on Trump’s Evangelical Advisory Board, a president’s character counted during the Clinton administration. Why should a Republican’s character not count to the same critics of President Clinton, when choosing a president today?
However, not all Christian Evangelical leaders agree with the aforementioned men. She goes on in her article,
“On Wednesday, Dr. Albert Mohler, President of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, raised this point on The Briefing podcast. “Conservative Evangelicals were very quick to criticize Bill Clinton for his sexual infidelities and furthermore to make the open argument that Bill Clinton’s fitness for office had been undermined in terms of the office of the presidency by his sexual misbehavior,” Mohler explained. But today we see some of those same Evangelical leaders endorsing a presidential candidate who boasts of his sexual decadence.
“What we saw back in the 1990s was an act of basic solidarity amongst Evangelicals and understanding of the centrality of character to leadership and of character, including character when it comes to even sexual morality as a matter that was essential to the credibility that was required of one who would hold a major position of leadership, in particular, one who would be elected President of the United States.”
“To drive his point home, Mohler said, “If I were to support, much less endorse, Donald Trump in terms of his candidacy as President I would actually have to, I believe, go back and apologize to former president Bill Clinton but that would mean that back during the 1990s and during his scandals I was wrong. I don’t believe I was. I don’t believe evangelicals [who] stood united at that time were wrong. ”
“For some Evangelicals serving on Trump’s Evangelical Executive Advisory Board, likely their decision is based on a “lesser of two evils” reasoning. A tempting decision when considering the character of Democrat presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. However, as Mohler pointed out, Christians must be consistent in our call for morality and integrity. Anything less is hypocrisy.
“Whatever the political results, as Christians we will answer to the Almighty for the choices that we make and the leadership we display. Let’s not forget that when picking a president, Evangelicals’ character counts as a public witness for Jesus Christ.”
You can read her full article here.
I am afraid that many Christians will vote for Mr. Trump for the above reason, that he is the lesser of the two (d)evils. This reminds me that we in the churches in America have come to love our country more than our God. We love our security, positions, money, homes, 401(k)s, movies, sports teams, recreation and ourselves more than we love our Savior. We have been so surrounded by the world and its culture that we have become numb to it at the least and have embraced it at the worst. Jeremiah spoke to his generation that had itching ears, just as Paul warned Timothy about (2 Tim 4:3-4) and that we can see right before our very eyes today, “A wonderful and horrible thing is committed in the land; The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means; and my people love to have it so; and what will ye do in the end thereof?” Jeremiah 5:30-31. Christianity today in America tends to love its authors and follow them to the exclusion many times of loving the Scriptures and following their Savior according to His Word. And they love it so to be, abandoning Biblical doctrine and the “whole counsel of God.”
Click on the link above to read a wonderful article about George Washington. His character has never been exceeded by any American president, but should be emulated by them all!
Does Character Still Count ?
“Let’s not forget that when picking a president, Evangelicals’ character counts as a public witness for Jesus Christ.”
Can a true revival take place in America today? An excellent article on WayOfLife.org tells how it is possible and why it probably will not occur. It was written in 2012 and a revival as spoken of in the article has yet to occur. Here is the closing excerpt:
“The very fact that it is unlikely that even 100 Bible-believing churches would call for such prayer meetings, and that the majority of the members would not attend such meetings even if the pastors exhorted them to do so, is evidence that what I am saying is true about the root problem being the churches themselves. Even the best, for the most part, are lukewarm, settled down and comfortable in the world, not pilgrims but dwellers, mighty for pot luck and parties but weak for spiritual warfare. “
We are now into the fourth decade of the Christian Right. What has it accomplished politically for our nation? Not much. Perhaps it has slowed the wickedness? But what we have seen is a steady descent spiraling downward into the cess pool of immorality and debauched character that we now find ourselves in the midst of today. Political activism is not the answer. Our answer–and power–lies elsewhere.
I don’t know if it is too late to pray for our nation, as it was for Jeremiah. Yet I do know that we are to pray for those in authority so that we will be able to continue to proclaim the gospel freely (1 Tim 2:1-4). And I know this also, that it is never too late for Christians and faithful Bible preaching churches to do as the Lord urged Judah to do in Jeremiah 18:8-10 and as Solomon was commanded in 2 Chronicles 7:14. There is a principle found in both verses. Our land of America is not in a covenant with the Lord God Almighty. Israel was and is. But our Christian blessings are all and only spiritual, those found in the New Testament. But for our churches to be fully healed spiritually, instead of slightly healed as Judah was, we see what is needful in these two verses. We must each and every one who is called by the name Christian, humble ourselves before our great God and Savior and turn from every thing in our lives that is contrary to the nature of the Lord Jesus Christ and yield to the conforming power of the Holy Spirit as He builds us up and instructs us in the Word of God, the Bible. Finally, we must make decisions and take up actions as children of the Light and walk in truth and love, looking for every opportunity to proclaim the Gospel of Christ that is the power of God unto salvation for every one that believeth.
Let us reject the “feel good, positive only” preaching of the Joel Osteens and the prosperity preaching of so many of todays pulpiteers of America. And let’s get back to the fear of God, Holy Spirit powered preaching of the whole counsel of God, pulpit pounding and hell fire, altar call responding preaching of bygone days! Where is the spirit of Lester Roloff? Where is the spirit of James Stewart? Where is the spirit of Billy Sunday? Where is the spirit of George Whitfield and John Wesley?
God have mercy on us who name the name of Christ! For I fear that we love the softness of our comfort in this world and the softness of the messages from the pulpits of our churches. Please note, Jesus never called His churches a campus. He always called them a church.
I would like to close this article with …
1 Judge me, O Lord; for I have walked in mine integrity: I have trusted also in the Lord; therefore I shall not slide.
2 Examine me, O Lord, and prove me; try my reins and my heart.
3 For thy lovingkindness is before mine eyes: and I have walked in thy truth.
4 I have not sat with vain persons, neither will I go in with dissemblers.
5 I have hated the congregation of evil doers; and will not sit with the wicked.
6 I will wash mine hands in innocency: so will I compass thine altar, O Lord:
7 That I may publish with the voice of thanksgiving, and tell of all thy wondrous works.
8 Lord, I have loved the habitation of thy house, and the place where thine honour dwelleth.
9 Gather not my soul with sinners, nor my life with bloody men:
10 In whose hands is mischief, and their right hand is full of bribes.
11 But as for me, I will walk in mine integrity: redeem me, and be merciful unto me.
12 My foot standeth in an even place: in the congregations will I bless the Lord.