Monday, October 17, 2016

Donald Trump is not David, Paul, or Samson


Donald Trump is not David or Solomon. He is not the Apostle Paul. He's not Samson. He isn't Nebuchadnezzar or Cyrus either. He's Donald Trump. To try and mirror him with any of these biblical characters is nothing but eisegesis -- imposing something on the text the reader wants it to say but it doesn't actually say.

The bias should be obvious. If Trump can be Nebuchadnezzar or Cyrus, why can't Hillary? And why is Trump only comparable to someone like Kings David or Solomon, Samson or Paul, and not someone like Kings Saul or Ahaz, Balaam or Simon the Magician?

I've made a comparison before between Trump and Ahaz. King Ahaz refused to ask the Lord for help just as Donald Trump has refused to ask God for forgiveness. At last year's Family Leadership Summit, Trump was asked if he has ever asked forgiveness for his sins. "I don't bring God into that picture," he said.

Consider the story of Simon the Magician, who had everyone in Samaria believing "he himself was somebody great" (Acts 8:9). Then Philip came preaching the gospel and the people believed, including Simon. This was a guy skilled in illusion and he became amazed when he saw the apostles performing miracles. So he offered them money that they would give him the same power that they had: "Give me this power also, so that anyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit."

Peter rebuked Simon, saying, "May your silver perish with you, because you thought you could obtain the gift of God with money! You have neither part nor lot in this matter, for your heart is not right before God. Repent, therefore, of this wickedness of yours, and pray to the Lord that, if possible, the intent of your heart may be forgiven you. For I see that you are in the gall of bitterness and in the bond of iniquity."

Simon responded, "Pray for me to the Lord, that nothing of what you have said may come upon me." Notice that it doesn't say Simon repented, nor does it say he was "cut to the heart" as the men of Jerusalem were when Peter was specific about their sins (Acts 2:37). It just says Simon asked them to pray for him, rather than praying himself.

The apostles were given authority to determine whether or not a person was walking in forgiveness or still lost in their sin, as the church has also been given this responsibility (Matthew 18:18, John 20:23). Simon had believed and was even baptized. Yet notice that Peter said his heart wasn't right before God: "For I see that you are in the gall of bitterness and in the bond of iniquity."

Good grief, why doesn't that describe Donald Trump? Instead, we've got men holding up Trump as a Christian because he was presumably introduced to Christ (by a heretic, the attractive blonde one, of course), rather than calling him to repentance realizing that by his own words, he isn't a Christian at all. (Did everyone just totally miss the comment he made two months ago that becoming president is the only way he'll get to heaven?)

They compromise their own witness by not actually checking their facts and not even checking behind them before guilting believers into voting for him. They say "Trump, or else" in the name of fantasy Supreme Court justices and the protection of religious freedom, either not hearing or deliberately ignoring that Trump says he's evolving on same-sex marriage (the same words Obama and Hillary have used) and is in favor transgender bathroom laws.

Trump has said that Republicans need to compromise on abortion, and that Planned Parenthood does good work. Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards even thanked him for it. Not a single word was said by him in either debate or the Republican National Convention about defending the unborn. At the March for Life in January, every republican candidate vowed to protect unborn children except Donald Trump. How do you not even use pro-life speech at a pro-life event?

The portion of the evangelical right holding up Donald Trump is holding up their version of Donald Trump. Hey, you can even find their version of Trump in the Bible. To overlook Trump's sin in favor of a voting bias, comparing him to biblical men who finished well like David, Paul, Nebuchadnezzar, and Samson, is selfish, uncaring, and -- okay, I'll just say it -- it's stupid.

Proverbs 12:1 says, "Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid." That verse doesn't just apply to those who receive or won't receive reproof. It also applies to those who issue or won't issue reproof. Why do they not rebuke? Because they hate it. They're stupid; foolish, senseless, and dull of mind.

It's much easier to just accept or wave off whatever Donald Trump says and does in the name of voting for #NeverHillary than to take a principled stand and say the man is wrong even if saying so might mean Hillary will win. Evangelical men have a real opportunity here to defend women, as we should. Here's a chance to preach that being a Christian is not about voting republican or having a conservative ideology; it's about following Christ and obeying His commands. Instead, they're standing for Donald Trump.

It is wrong of him to talk about women the way he does -- and continues to do. He still says disparaging things about women. It wasn't "locker room talk" that happened ten years ago. Trump's most recent interviews with Howard Stern were two years ago, boasting about his conquests in bed and judging the bodies of famous women like he's walking through a meat market. In addition to these instances of his unabashed lewdness, you hear his disparaging comments about women in his everyday speech. Last week he denied hitting on a reporter from People Magazine, and his alibi was she was ugly.

And he still has the gall to say, "No one has more respect for women than I do." He said it in the debate last week, and he said it on Twitter over the weekend. This is not a repentant man. An apology that includes the words, "This is nothing more than a distraction," while attacking your opponent's actions as being worse is not an apology. I am personally offended that anyone would actually defend Trump's self-proclaimed "respect" for women.

I am a husband with a wonderful, beautiful wife and the father of three adorable children (one more on the way). Two of my kids are girls. I do not take lightly the comments of any man who boasts about sleeping with another man's wife, or would devalue my daughters because they're female and would think even less of them if they couldn't win a beauty pageant. That is not pro-life. That is appalling.

The man is a strip-club owner, a serial adulterer, a racist, a gambler, and a bully, arrogant and godless. He has personally invested in things and ideologies and practices that open the door for abortions, not close the door on them. To be pro-life means more than just hating the idea of abortion (and I don't think Trump even goes that far). It means valuing life. All life. Every sex, race, and age, able-bodied or disabled, from conception to natural death.

Picking and choosing parts of Donald Trump to compare with parts of biblical characters is dangerous. Peter said the ignorant and unstable twist the Scriptures to their own destruction (2 Peter 3:16). It also leads others astray. It teaches those who don't know much about the Scriptures that we can bend the Bible to mean anything we want it to mean and excuse virtually any kind of behavior.

If we can find a biblical reason to shrug at adultery, misogyny, compulsive gambling, bullying, coarse speech, and a litany of other sins Trump gets away with, then we don't need the Bible. Not only is its truth suspect, the Bible can't even be considered a moral book if it allows for immoral behavior.

This is also unloving toward Donald. Rather than confronting a man and holding him accountable, preaching the gospel that saves, false teachers are waving him off and saying, "Meh, David did the same thing. Samson did that, too. Hey, Paul and Nebuchadnezzar used to kill believers!" All of those men were repentant. Donald Trump is not. Would you rather Donald Trump perish in his sins just so Hillary Clinton won't become president?

The Bible says that God hates sin (Psalm 5:4-6, Proverbs 6:16-19, Revelation 3:16). Among those sins that God hates is perverted speech (Proverbs 8:13), of which Trump has no lack. The Bible says, "Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not become partners with them" (Ephesians 4:6-7).

Those who are sexually immoral, impure, sensual, idolatrous, divisive, bitter, jealous, driven to fits of anger, revel in rivalry, dissensions, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these "will not inherit the kingdom of God" (Galatians 5:19-21). The cowardly, faithless, detestable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and liars will be thrown into the lake of fire forever (Revelation 21:8).

But Jesus Christ died for all sin. There is not a sin He won't forgive. Whoever believes in Him will be forgiven their sins, for Christ has died in our place and satisfied the wrath of God. But understand me here: the grace of our Lord is never, ever an excuse to sin. As Paul said, how can we who have died to sin and are alive in Christ continue to live in sin (Romans 6:2)? We would still be enslaved to our sin if that were the case. John said if we say we have fellowship with God while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth (1 John 1:6).

Those who hear the voice of the Good Shepherd, who turn from worldliness and sinful passions to follow Jesus, will confirm their calling and election with virtue, growing in the knowledge of God and His word, will be self-controlled, steadfast in the faith, living godly lives, showing brotherly affection and love for one another. "For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ" (2 Peter 1:3-11).

So again, Donald Trump is not David or Solomon, Paul or Samson, Nebuchadnezzar or Cyrus. He's Donald Trump. He needs to be held accountable for Donald Trump's sins, told to repent and believe in Christ Jesus the Lord. By the way, the same goes for Hillary Clinton, also a foul-mouthed, baby-killing, racist woman-hater. She needs to repent for her own sins, too; to be wretched and mourn and weep (James 4:9), and believe in Christ as Savior and King.

This has been a deplorable election. But I believe God in His Sovereignty is not done. I pray that in the midst of such immorality He is raising up moral and godly men and women, who stand upon principled and biblical truth, who are not afraid to speak up, call evil evil, and promote what is good and righteous in the eyes of God. It is when the night is darkest that such stars tend to shine out the brightest (Matthew 5:14-16, Philippians 2:14-16).