Dear Christian leaders, you're playing a very dangerous game
Wedding ceremony at church

Dear Christian leaders, you're playing a very dangerous game

Posted May 23, 2016 06:00 AM by Steve Deace Wedding ceremony at church
Andrew Butitta | Flickr
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DISCLAIMER: I am grateful for the opportunity I have here at Conservative Review to reach those on the broad spectrum of conservatism on several issues, some of which conservatives don’t always agree on. But in this case I’m writing to you, Christian leaders, as a very specific target audience. Since it’s arguable no one faces more of a dilemma with this election than you do, for you represent the sacredness of the Gospel even more than conservatism.

Dear Christian Leaders,

I hope this letter finds you well, and I thank you for the time, talent, and treasure you have given to the cause of Christ and its resulting American exceptionalism. Thank you for putting these words from the Scriptures into practice: “Now the Lord is that spirit, and where the spirit of the Lord is there is liberty.”

I’m writing this as a 42-year old believer who has been blessed by the works of so many of you. Some of you I am proud to call friends, or know as acquaintances. Some of you I hope to meet someday to share how God used you to take this son of a 15-year old girl raised in a home of abuse, and give him the strength and courage to break generational cycles of dysfunction. If not for your testimonies and willingness to stand for Christ against the prevailing winds of the culture, odds are I would’ve succumbed to them.

I say these things because I want you to know this letter is coming from a place of concern more so than criticism. I struggle with a critical spirit, which is why I’ve waited several weeks before penning this letter that I have started and stopped several times. I needed to make sure I was in a place I could remove as much of myself as possible, and address these concerns in the spirit rather than with my own haughty one.

With that long disclaimer out of the way, allow me to cut right to the chase.

If you are supporting Donald Trump, or flirting with doing so, you are playing a very dangerous game. There is simply no moral, biblical, or even strategic case for doing so, near as I can tell. And if I’m wrong, then let us come now and reason together.

First of all, holiness and character is of more value in the kingdom than ideological correctness. That is not to say ideological correctness isn’t important, because it is, and it’s where I make my living for the most part. But God has often worked through strange ideological bedfellows to accomplish His will. For example, three of the greatest minds in church history were Augustine, Calvin, and Wesley. Yet they vehemently disagreed with one another, even on vitally important doctrines. However, the fruit of their callings remains impactful to this very day.

Some of you will say, “But wasn’t David a man of poor character and morality and God used him in a mighty way?” Yes, that is true, but others paid dearly for David’s sins. His own nation was plunged into civil war. His daughter was raped by her brother. He had a man killed so he could have his wife.

The point of David’s life is not that he’s the hero, but God is. That God so wants to be known He is willing to even use the worst of us to reach us.

So what made David a man after God’s own heart? That despite all his documented shortcomings, David in the end sought God’s forgiveness and repentance when confronted with “Thou art the man.” Trump, by his own admission, does not have a repentant heart. He has not sought God’s forgiveness, because he doesn’t think he needs it. Thus, the King David-Trump comparisons are flawed exegesis and should cease here.

Furthermore, the Scriptures make clear the qualifications for public office:

Moreover, look for able men from all the people, men who fear God, who are trustworthy and hate a bribe, and place such men over the people as chiefs of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties, and of tens.

There is simply no way to avoid the conclusion that Trump violates every syllable of these requirements.

Now that we’ve addressed the biblical case, what about the moral one?

  • Trump is a scam artist.

  • Trump is a gossip.

  • Trump is a slanderer.

  • Trump is a misogynist.

  • Trump is an adulterer.

  • Trump is a deceiver.

  • Trump is a liar.

Other than that, Trump seems like a righteous dude.

Of course, Paul writes all of us were these things, because all of us were sinners, too. However, we live differently now – or at least should – because we are new creations in Christ. Unfortunately, this campaign has revealed this is who Trump remains to this day.

Finally, let’s look at the strategic argument. Generally, there are three archetypes of politicians in the Scriptures:

  1. Josiah – The true statesman. The man who does the hard thing, no matter how hard it may be, because it is the right thing. A man sold out to the cause of righteousness. Sadly, there are very few of these.

  2. Hezekiah – The typical politician. The man who does the principled thing when it's easy or it suits him. As in when the Scriptures say one of the holiest celebrations of the Passover since Moses came at the time of his ascendancy. However, when it gets hard, or his ego gets in the way, he will serve himself/mammon instead. So that same Hezekiah is relieved that at the end of his reign the judgment to come, which he contributed to with his own arrogance, won't take place until he's dead and buried. Rather than humbly repent and seek God's mercy as a David might have done. Like most politicians, Hezekiah was principled at first, but less so the longer he was in power. Eventually principle gave way to political expediency.

  3. Ahab – A pure megalomaniac whose only motivation is his own ego, elevation, and experiences. A hedonist/narcissist/tyrant whose only ethos is the golden rule: he who has the gold gets to make all the rules. Thankfully, there are very few of these as well, mainly because they’re like the Lords of the Sith in Star Wars. If there are too many of them, they tend go after one other.

Trump is an Ahab. He is not like anything we have ever dealt with before. He is not a RINO, Republicrat, or any other kind of Hezekiah type. He won't even pander to you on the bathroom issue when it would help him. Why? Because you're all nothing but marks to him. He is utterly and undeniably shameless.

He is the sort of figure we read about in history books. Not a raving madman Hitler type, and those making such comparisons are intellectually lazy and should be dismissed. Nor is Trump even the kind of megalomaniac Obama is, with his Soviet-era style ruthless pursuit of Marxism.

Rather, Trump is merely a conqueror convinced that if he's calling all the shots the world would be a better place. He is a law unto himself.

In our day and age, Alpha Males are few and far between. So much so that many believe Trump is an Alpha, but he is not. Like most tyrants he is deeply insecure. How many 70-year old men are still defensive about their penis size? And it is those very insecurities that cause him to lash out so maliciously. Think of the damaged Commodus in the movie “Gladiator.”

It is the Alpha Male that is required to confront and take down the tyrant. Men willing to storm the beaches of Normandy, proclaim we have "no king but Jesus," or face down Commodus in front of a full crowd at the Coliseum. Where are the Alpha Males in our day willing to do so? I pray God will raise some up among our ranks.

The tyrant cannot be negotiated with. He cannot be befriended. Nor can he show empathy. For all is weakness to him. Therefore, everything is transactional. You are there for as long as you're useful, and then gone when you are not.

Like what just happened to Ben Carson, and pretty much everyone else that comes into Trump's orbit once he’s used them for what he needed at the time. Like how my friend Bob Vander Plaats was a great guy when Trump thought he needed his endorsement, and then Trump called him a crook when he didn’t get it.

Like his spirit animal, Ahab, who came home to whine to his wife about how he couldn’t buy this one property he wanted, Trump takes to Twitter and friendly media enclaves to do the same. And then his Twitter following, and adorning media throng, acts as his Jezebel when she told Ahab just to go take what he wants because he’s the king.

Tyrants cannot be loved on. They must be broken. You will only know if they have been broken if you see the fruit of the spirit in their lives. Do they practice altruism, as in the right thing expecting nothing in return? Is there a public repentance, or a repentance of convenience? Meaning they tell you what you want to hear now just so they can get from you what they want.

Anything short of that and I can promise you, as God Almighty is my witness, you are being played. And once that is revealed it will not be the tyrant that is exposed for scorn and mockery, but you.

Every. Single. Time.

In short, this is a dangerous game. This is not dining with sinners. This is attempting to evangelize Herod's Court, where even Christ himself kept silent among such godlessness and darkness. You have never been this way before. He is unlike anything you have encountered. He would arguably be the most personally damaged and feckless individual ever to occupy the Oval Office.

He is beyond the milquetoast pabulum the system usually serves up, which is why he was able to crush the system. When you dance with the devil, the devil doesn't change. He changes you.

He will see your willingness to love on him as weakness. He is laughing at you now, even as we speak, for wanting to meet with him. He sees it as the groveling of the already defeated. There's a reason he attracts heretical Paula White types who are only in this for personal gain, too. Because real recognize real.

Such a man can be brought to Christ, because nothing is beyond the power of Christ. However, he must be broken like any wild stallion, or a prodigal son. He must hit rock bottom, such as when Nebuchadnezzar was sent to live as a wild animal. He must be shown there is a power greater than he, otherwise he will believe he is that power.

Just as you wouldn't reward a petulant, rebellious teenager with more power and pleasure, the absolute worst thing that you can do is reward such a man just the same. You will not pierce his heart, but he will break yours.

In conclusion, I urge you to consider these two final questions:

  1. Do you really believe you could look Jesus in the eye at your judgment and justify supporting such a man for the most powerful office in the world?

  2. If you do support him, must we then apologize to the Clintons for the stones we threw at their immorality, as well as to others whose sin we have rightly lobbied against in the past since we’re now excusing it from Trump?

I know what the alternative appears to be, and I do not wish it. If she becomes president, I will oppose her Leftist schemes as I always have (unlike Trump, who lavished praise and financial contributions upon her). But I am not afraid of Hillary Clinton. Let me tell you what I am afraid of.

I am afraid of the message we will be sending this culture by compromising everything we claim to believe in, by supporting a man who embodies everything we supposedly oppose. And I’m afraid the cost for that message could transcend generations, as the culture declares we are the emperor who has no clothes. That when push comes to shove we offer them nothing not already of this world. The same fear-mongering and situational ethics they can get anywhere else. Just minus all that annoyingly sanctimonious moralizing. We will confirm for them they were right to tune us out. That we are who they thought we were. We will write the God-haters’ material for them.

That will have consequences for our fellow countrymen that will last long past the next four years.

I urge you, as a representative of the next generation who will someday take your place, please do not put us any further behind the eight ball with this culture than we already are. They already don’t trust us, nor do they take us seriously, and that’s if they don’t ignore us altogether.

Give us a real chance to reach the next generation, rather than spending years defending the indefensible simply because there is an “R” after its name.

The scriptures say we are not Christians because of our hermeneutically sound systematic theology. Or because we follow creeds. But because we testify to the fact that God supernaturally reached down into history to raise His Son from the dead. The Son who God gave to pay the penalty we deserve because He loved us so. To demonstrate that love, God was willing to lose something of tremendous value to Him, as testimony of His love for us.

His only Son.

We came to Christ because of that testimony. We bowed at the knee to Jesus and chose to follow him because he showed what he was willing to lose for us. Love knows no greater man than Jesus, who laid down his life for his friends.

Perhaps we have lost this culture because we haven’t shown it similar sacrificial love. We haven’t shown them we’re willing to lose anything for what we believe, except the same things of this world they value.

Not to mention maybe, just maybe, God would providentially award such faithfulness in the sort of supernatural ways He has for His people in the past? Perhaps we do not see God move in such ways in our day because we prefer our ways to His?

And where has that gotten us? An election between Hillary and her donor.

This is our rendezvous with destiny. Except this time it isn’t wrestling with existential threats outside of us, but the brokenness inside of us.

We don’t need Barabbas the zealot. We need Jesus. And we have the means to give them Jesus, if only we have the faith and courage of conviction. When we came to Christ did we know for sure how it would turn out, or did we have faith? Let us stop trying to manipulate outcomes as our adversaries do, and instead show real faith that while we do not know what the future holds, we know who holds the future.

Duty is ours, but outcomes belong to God.

Thank you for reading my letter and at least considering these words. I pray you will fight the good fight, keep the faith, and finish the race.

Steve Deace is broadcast nationally each weeknight on CRTV. He is the author of the book “A Nefarious Plot.”