Can We Judge the Christianity of Donald Trump?

Another title I might have used for this piece is, “Why I Will Not Be Voting for Trump in the Primaries.”

I find it a little amusing when a person throws up the all world defense by quoting a passage of scripture when it comes to the question about judging, “Do not judge, or you too will be judged.” After all a person can’t get much better support than the scripture even if it is taken out of context and one’s interpretation contradicts other teaching in that same scripture.

Michael Brown is a man who I have great respect for. Few possess his mastery of both Hebrew and Greek the original languages of scripture. He has also evidenced a lifestyle and ministry that reflects his understanding of that same scripture that is a model for all . In my view he is at the top of my list of those I would want to hear when it comes to that difficult question concerning judging. What he has recently shared in his blog “In The Line of Fire” on Friday, February 19, 2016, you will find below.

U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump greets members of the Sun City Republicans after speaking at their gated retirement community in Bluffton, South Carolina February 17, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump greets members of the Sun City Republicans after speaking at their gated retirement community in Bluffton, South Carolina February 17, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Donald Trump has challenged the Christianity of Ted Cruz while also raising questions about the nature of Ben Carson’s faith. In the past, he also suggested that President Obama might be a Muslim rather than a Christian. Now, the pope has questioned the Christianity of Trump.

It appears that what goes around, comes around.

Trump’s immediate response was to call Pope Francis’s comments “disgraceful” and to state that, “No leader, especially a religious leader, should have the right to question another man’s religion or faith.”

So, Trump can question the faith of others but the Pope cannot question his?

In defense of Trump, Jerry Falwell, Jr., has stated that, “I have no doubts that he is a man of faith, that he’s a Christian.”

Welcome to the 2016 version of the presidential race, representing reality TV at its most unscripted and bizarre.

Two serious questions, though, are begging to be asked.

First, according to the Bible, do we have the right to judge someone’s profession of faith, let alone the mandate to?

Second, if we are called to judge, what are the criteria?

On the one hand, the Bible tells us repeatedly that only God knows the heart and in that sense, only He knows who belongs to Him and who doesn’t. At the same time, the Bible repeatedly calls us to examine what a professing Christian believes and to evaluate how that person lives, to judge the tree by its fruit, as Jesus put it.

Using that criteria, we know, for example, that Richard Dawkins is not a Christian, since he denies the existence of God, the authority of Scripture, and the atoning death and bodily resurrection of Jesus. We also know that Osama bin Laden was not a Christian, since he was a radical Muslim and an unrepentant mass murderer.

In the same way, albeit in a much less extreme fashion, we know that our friendly next-door neighbors are not Christians when they demonstrate no understanding of their own sin, no recognition of their need for forgiveness, and no knowledge of who Jesus really is or why He died on the cross. And we can say this with certainty even if they attend church services every year at Easter and Christmas.

A Christian believes core Christian doctrines and lives a basic Christian lifestyle.

The Christian faith begins with an acknowledgement of our sin and a profession of faith in our Savior and is then evidenced by a godly life – not a perfect life, but a godly life. As Jesus said, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” (Matt. 7:21)

James (Jacob) echoed this saying, “Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works” (James 2:18b).

In other words, talk is cheap. Let’s see how you live.

That’s why Paul could contrast the works of the flesh with the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:17-23), adding, “And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires” (Gal. 5:24).

That’s why Paul could also state plainly that no adulterer or drunkard or practicing homosexual would enter God’s kingdom (among other lifestyles; see 1 Corinthians 6:9-10; Ephesians 5:5-7; Galatians 5:17-21), also noting, “And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God” (1 Cor. 6:11).

How does Donald Trump line up?

We know that in the past he boasted about his numerous adulterous affairs and that he built the first casino in America with its own strip club, actually featuring 36,000 square feet of adult entertainment. Yet he sees no need to ask for forgiveness for these past acts (which are just a small sampling of ungodly behavior) because he is “a very good person.”

This is the opposite of Christianity, which begins with a recognition of guilt and an open confession of our need for forgiveness. As for Donald Trump, at no point in any interview that has ever been conducted with him has he offered the slightest understanding of the heart of the gospel.

That alone would indicate that Trump is a not a real Christian.

As for his conduct, while we have no idea how he lives in private, and while he presumably has many good qualities that are commendable, we do know that his public conduct is often deplorable, with his tweets and comments violating almost every standard of Christian decorum.

This is the standard Paul laid out for followers of Jesus: “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen” (Eph. 4:29, NIV).

Trump’s vitriolic, nasty, often vulgar, sometimes patently false attacks on others violate this verse from beginning to end, both in spirit and in letter. And remember that it was Jesus who told us that it was out of the abundance of the heart that the mouth speaks.

Jesus also “told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt [does this sound familiar to you at all?]

‘Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector [remember that in New Testament times, tax collectors were notoriously corrupt].

‘The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: “God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.”

‘But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, “God, be merciful to me, a sinner!”

‘I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted'” (Luke 18:9-14).

Which one sounds like Donald Trump, the Pharisee or the tax collector? And which is more characteristic of Mr. Trump, the person who exalts himself or the person who humbles himself?

Again, God is the ultimate judge, but He does tell us to judge the tree by its fruit, and that means that Donald Trump could really use our prayers.

You may still plan to vote for him to be president, even though he shows no true signs of being a genuine Christian (although it’s clear he believes he is one). That’s obviously your call entirely.

But let’s not foolishly proclaim him to be a Christian when, until recently, many of his ardent supporters acknowledged that he was not.

And just consider what a world changer Donald Trump could be if he really knew the Lord. Through prayer and God’s mercy, it could happen.

After reading the above insights by Dr. Brown, once again, especially as a minister, I remember the times when those whom I respect have come to me, judged my actions with love and with the support of scripture. Did they have a right to do that? They absolutely did and with the clear instruction of Scripture. Judgment should always be for the purpose of correction giving the person judged the opportunity to seek forgiveness and make things right. It should never be with a critical intent to hu;rt or destroy the person being judged.

Another post that may be of interest i s provided below. Bert M. Farias is the author.

Is This the Biggest Lie the Church Is Swallowing Hook, Line and Sinker?

Flickr-ballot

The ever increasing popular notion that the church is to have no part in politics is absurd. (Flickr/Creative Commons)
One of the biggest lies the church has swallowed is that politics cannot legislate morality. Yet on the watch of the last two generations, politics has legislated prayer and Bible reading out of our schools, abortion into our clinics and, more recently, same sex marriage into our culture. Why was the church so lame and silent?

Haven’t we learned that when the righteous abandon their responsibilities, the wicked move in?

Yes, the Bible says that we are in the world, but not of it. But Jesus commanded us to go into all the world and preach the gospel (Mark 16:15), and to be salt and light to the world (Matt. 5:13-14). Mind you, this is a direct commandment from the Creator of the universe Himself. So why separate religion or the gospel from politics? Politics is a part of the world.

The ever-increasing popular notion that the church is to have no part in politics is absurd. The notion that presidents don’t need to be morally upright or spiritually minded is delusional.

Why don’t you just vote for the village idiot then? Vote for the adulterer, the thug and the like. I’ve heard it many times already in this election—”we’re not electing a pastor or a priest but a president!” And that lie keeps being repeated by robotic minds who are not thinking for themselves. This train of thought is so contradictory to Scripture and our nation’s history. More on that later.

Would you want your surgeon working on your heart if you knew he had lawsuits against him for malpractice?

Would you want a banker handling your money if you knew he was a thief?

Would you want a baby sitter watching your children who had been charged with pedophilia?

Does character not count?

Then why was God’s nation of Israel, when forming their own government, commanded to elect able men (yes, competence does matter, so don’t accuse me of throwing that out), such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness (Ex. 18:21)? And be mindful that this was not the flow of authority for church government but for Israel’s federal government. We’ve gotten that backward in the church, too. Now we know that God’s practices in the New Testament have changed, but aren’t His principles the same?

It’s not that we’re trying to make our government an entirely Christian government or make every elected official a Christian, but when given a choice, why would a Christian vote for an unrighteous candidate over a righteous one? Why are there still so many in the church who can’t see this and continue to vote for unrighteousness?

This is the very reason we’ve had a horrible spiritual and moral deterioration in our nation for the last eight years. I salute my good friend Dr. Michael Brown for calling out those pathetic pastors for laying hands on Hillary Clinton (“Shame on the Pastors”), and praying blessing over her and declaring how God would anoint her and be a shield of protection for her.

How can these so-called pastors bless a candidate who calls good, evil and evil, good—who is an aggressive pro-abortionist and gay marriage activist, and who lies and cheats and kills? Why? And why do so many so called Christians continue to vote for such candidates of ill repute, election after election?

How many times must you vote for money over morals, competence over character, and party over principle?

I can hear the critics and their robotic babble now holding up their thou-shalt-not-judge card. Who are you to judge? In fact, I’ve been ordained by God to be a judge. Not just because I am a minister, but all God’s saints have this honor (1 Cor. 6:2).

God Himself has set up judges. There’s even an Old Testament book called the book of Judges where He did just that. How much more are we called to judge spiritual matters under the New Testament? This is another one of those lies that unlearned Christians pick up from the world.

Matthew 7:1 is the verse that these people always quote. When Jesus condemned judging, he wasn’t implying we should never make judgments about anyone. After all, a few verses later, Jesus Himself calls certain people “pigs” and “dogs” (Matt 7:6) and “wolves in sheep’s clothing” (7:15). Is He telling us not to do something He Himself did? No. What Jesus condemns is a critical and judgmental spirit, an unholy sense of superiority coming from those who are guilty of the same sin or offense.

Back to my theme on politics and morality and voting for righteousness.

Our earliest presidents and politicians were godly moral men. Our earliest pastors were involved and engaged in politics. There was an overlap of church and state, government and spirituality.

For example, did you know that 29 of the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence were seminary graduates, and a large majority of the rest of them were committed Christian leaders who spoke boldly about their faith?

The progressives and our humanistic government officials would like us to believe that the framers of the Declaration of Independence were a bunch of secularists and so-called Deists, but it is such a distortion of history. The hijacking of our nation has resulted in many of these elements being removed from our history books.

Here are some quotes from early American presidents:

“It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible.”—George Washington

“The Bible is the sheet anchor of our liberties. Write its principles upon your heart and practice them in your lives.”—Ulysses S. Grant

“All the food from the Savior of the world is communicated through this book. All the things desirable to man are contained in it.”—Abraham Lincoln

Fellow Christians, please don’t make the same mistake that many professing Christians made in the last election. Hear me now and hear me well: It was not the lost sinners who determined this president we now have, but it was the church that elected him and they are held accountable. And it shall be the same in this election.

God has taken note of those in the church who have stood in favor of abortion and gay marriage and they are responsible for the apostasy that continues to spread across this nation. They voted for the voice of the deceiver whose smooth words fooled them. Don’t be fooled again. You see, when the church votes for those who favor these abominations, they are guilty of those abominations themselves.

God has been patient and merciful. Make sure you vote for righteousness this time around. As it was with the last election, so it is with this one. God has handed this upcoming election into the hands of the church.

And finally, whatever happens, our trust must be in God and in His kingdom. But as long as we can make an impact for righteousness in this world, we should and are called to do so.

Bert M. Farias, revivalist and founder of Holy Fire Ministries, is the author of several books including The Real Gospel, The Real Salvation, The Real Spirit of Revival, as well as the highly acclaimed My Son, My Son — a beautiful father-son memoir co-written with his son Daniel for the purpose of training up a holy generation.

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