Podcast Episode 4: Trump Isn’t Jesus
Welcome to Season One Episode Four of the Critiques and Caffeine Podcast! I’m Zach Haas and I run the same blog over at zachhaas.com. In this first season, we are going to be looking at some of the pet peeves I have with Christianity. Thank you for joining me today as we look at how some Christians put too much faith in Donald Trump. But before we get started, let’s hear a word from one of my sponsors.
Trump is President, but not Savior
Take it or leave it, Donald Trump is the president of the United States. It is looking like we are going to have four more years of him.
I am not a political person. Therefore, this isn’t really going to be a political episode like it might seem like. I do not have the knowledge, or authority to do so and any political statements I make I couldn’t back up well enough if someone were to challenge me on them.
So why am I making a podcast about Donald Trump? Well, it’s because I am a pastor, and I do see a lot of Christians in the world and heck, even Americans in general.
There is a problem with people that I did not really see when Obama was president. There’s almost a presidential worship among some people. There is also a deep hatred from other people. This is normal. There were people who have deeply hated every president that we have ever had. Abraham Lincoln was assassinated. And just about every president since WWII has been described as Hitler or the antichrist.
But I have noticed something a bit different with how some people, some Christians in general, view President Trump. They love him. Not just love him, they adore him and worship him.
Patriotic love and loyalty is fine.
I have no problems with a patriotic love for your president. I have no problems with biblically submitting to their authority and leadership. However, I do have a problem with worshiping people.
Some Christians love Trump because they claim he is a Christian. Really? What spiritual leadership has he really shown to the country. He mentions God now and then. Okay. Obama did that. He has spiritual advisors, so did Obama. He claimed to be a Christian, again so did Obama.
If you are one of the we love Trump because he is a Christian people, you are probably offended right now. And maybe you should be. Trump is not Jesus. And he is certainly not a model Christian. I will defend him at the end of the episode, but for right now, I am talking to the Trump worshipers. Not worshipping what he stands for that’s political and I’m again, not going there. But for worshiping and idolizing Trump himself.
God allowed Trump to become president.
Do I believe that God allowed Trump to be president? Sure, of course. God didn’t give up control and condemn our country by allowing him to become President. Just like he wouldn’t have given up control if Hillary became president. (Who also, by the way, has claimed to be a Christian).
Trump is not a pastor. He does not claim to be (as far as I know) and he should not be viewed as such. Even pastors have to be constantly pointing to God so as to not take the worship themselves. I do not think that Trumps public life is one that we should model after.
Likewise, we cannot allow Trumps supposed Christian faith to blind us to his wrongdoings. There is the idea that he can do no wrong to some people. This simply isn’t true. He is human. Christian or not, humans make mistakes. Should we forgive him of his mistakes? Yes. But that doesn’t mean that we should support or forget them either. There are limits to forgiveness, especially when someone is in a position of authority.
To vote for Trump because you think he is a Christian is wrong.
Likewise, it is wrong to tell someone that Trump isn’t a Christian. We shouldn’t judge one way or another. Just because someone says they are a Christian doesn’t make them one. Remember, many politicians are really good liars. They will tell you just about anything to get you to vote for them. Remember those middle school class president elections? I am still waiting for soda to be served with every cafeteria meal instead of milk. We were all deceived.
There is only one God. He is the only one worthy of our worship. Now, I don’t think that Christians have actually turned Trump into an idol. Well… maybe some people have but that’s a different story I suppose. However, there are people who have given Trump too much credit because they think he is a Christian. Jesus is the one true model of what it is to be a good Christian. It is so him that we should model ourselves.
This doesn’t mean writing in Jesus for president.
But it does mean making sure that we are not being blinded by our own affiliations and beliefs. Trump is not the savior of the American people. Jesus is. Will Trump do some things right that help the Christian faith? Sure, maybe. But he will also do things that cause the opposite because, well, because he isn’t actually Jesus.
It is annoying to see people sing praises of Trumps Christianity while he exhibits attitudes and says things that are not Christian. Sure, we can excuse the fact that he is learning, but this doesn’t change the fact that there are too many times that he is cutting and trying to cause division. These are not practices of the Christian faith. These are not fruits of the Spirit.
I’m sorry, but every time he makes a childish attack against a media company, he is harming his Christian witness. Christians are to be loving. Actions speak louder than words and most the time he is digging himself deeper and giving his opponents fodder. There are many fruits of the Spirit that Trump regularly fails at. We should keep this in mind when we are touting his Christianity. (To be fair, there are many fruits of the spirit I too struggle with so take that as you will).
The Bible is a pretty big fan of taming your tongue.
If Trump were truly a model Christian, he would be able to learn how to control his tongue. This might be his greatest weakness. I am pretty sure he is a big part of why Twitter stock has nearly tripled in the last three years. You never know what crazy thing he is going to say.
Let me ask you this, would you still go to the church and respect Trump is his handle was @RevRealDonaldTrump? I am not sure that you would or at least not sure you should. Think about this the next time your heart is strangely warmed at the notion that Trump is a good Christian leader for our country.
I guess what my primary point is, is that Trump is not as good as some of these “Trump is a great Christian leader” crowd is trying to say he is. He is a faulty human being like the rest of us. Don’t give him a pass because you think he represents God to the “one nation under God.” If anything, you should hold him to a higher standard of accountability and morality if he is this great Christian you say he is.
Trump can do wrong. Trump has done wrong. He will do more wrong. This actually doesn’t mean he is a bad Christian; this just means he is human like the rest of us. Just because he is president doesn’t mean he has some kind of favor from God. It doesn’t elevate him to some level of spiritual authority. Again, he is not even a pastor. He does not have spiritual training (to my knowledge). This doesn’t mean he cannot provide wise counsel, but it does mean that we should be careful with taking things that he says and applying it to our spiritual lives.
The Bible encourages healthy respect for government.
We need to have a healthy respect for him. This means recognizing that he is in a position of power. It means praying for him on a regular basis. It does not mean looking at him like God’s hero to the world. Likewise, he is not God’s candidate for President. You do not have to vote for him if you are a Christian.
This is another good point. Just because a candidate says they believe in God, does not mean God wants you to vote for him. You were given free will and the ability to think. Just like you shouldn’t vote for someone just because of what party they say they are aligned with; you shouldn’t vote for someone just because they claim to be a believer.
I have heard it similarly explained like this. If you or someone you loved had to have brain surgery, who would you choose to perform the operation. Would you choose an Atheist, with a 100% success rate after 1000 surgeries? Or, would you choose the Christian who has a 50% success rate after 1000 surgeries. If you are sane, you would choose the atheist. He’s not going to rewire your brain to disown your faith. He’s going to save your life. Being a Christian in and of itself does not make you the best at something. God gives good gives to the righteous and the worthy, and to the unrighteous and the unworthy.
As Christians, we shouldn’t be telling people to vote for someone who we believe is a Christian just because they claim to be a Christian as well. There are plenty of things Christians find abhorrent about Trump, and contrary to the faith. Just like Christians though the same about Clinton. The funny thing is, both camps are probably right.
Do yourself and the Church universal a favor, do not say “Vote for Trump he a Christian.” Or “Vote for Trump, he’s God’s candidate.” You don’t want to be guilty of putting words in God’s mouth.
Let me now take a moment to actually defend Donald Trump.
I am not going to judge Donald Trump’s actual faith. To be clear, I think it is entirely possible that he is a Christian. Very few people could possibly know what it is like to be in Trump’s shoes. Being a celebrity Christian is much different. He couldn’t just attend a Sunday morning worship service in a normal place. If he did, the focus would be on him not God. If he did, there’d be people trying to assassinate him. Therefore, it is difficult for us to determine his faith.
Most Christians really only practice their faith behind closed doors. Think about it, when is the last time you shared your faith directly with someone? The last time you were around a group of strangers would they have known you were a Christian? Are you a bad Christian because they didn’t? I don’t think so. God doesn’t want us going around and making a spectacle of our faith.
That said, there is also nothing wrong with truly trying to reach the strangers you come into contact with. This might be as simple as wearing a spiritually inclined t-shirt, or it might be more radical like a guy I met my Freshman year of college. I have never met anyone like him in my life. I spent about two days with him. During that time, literally every single person he came into contact with he shared the gospel with. Literally everyone. The drive thru attendant, the guy who came up to our car asking for money while we waited in the drive thru, the waitress. He spoke about Jesus to every single person he came into contact with. What a calling!
Trump is not a pastor.
Trump cannot do this. It would be weird and awkward. We cannot expect him to live the same Christian walk that we do. He is in a different position of authority that God has allowed him to be in. Are there times and opportunities that he can make his faith know? Absolutely. Are there ways that he, given his position, can promote God and the Christian faith? Of course. I’m not here to judge whether or not he is being a good Christian, but I did want to defend the idea that he could very well be a God-fearing Christian behind closed doors.
Remember, we are all sinners. Let you who is without sin cast the first stone.
Thanks for tuning in to this episode of the Critiques and Caffeine Podcast! I look forward to sharing more pet peeves with you next time. God bless.