By Dan Calabrese
Contrary to what you hear from some of our more condescending friends, most Christians who voted for and support Donald Trump are under no illusions about him. We know he is deeply flawed and we recognize this is an obstacle to whatever good things he wants to do as president.
We recognize that much of the behavior throughout his life has been decadent and immoral, and while we are heartened by his recent statements and actions that have been favorable toward Christianity, we realize a man can say whatever he wants and it doesn’t necessarily mean he’s really accepted the grace of Christ into his heart.
But obviously, we would all like President Trump to receive Christ, which is why this video has gotten more than a million views on Facebook. Is it proof that the president has indeed accepted Christ as Lord?
Take a look:
Needless to say, it’s good to hear words like this coming from the president’s mouth, and it’s certainly better than hearing a president tell Christians to “get off their high horses” because of the Crusades or whatever.
But is this proof that President Trump has really received Christ? Absolutely not.
For one thing, we know from Matthew 7:21 that anyone call say “Lord, Lord” and Jesus might still say, “Away from me, you evildoers, I never knew you.” Words by themselves don’t mean anything. Events like this are usually scripted for the president, and it’s highly unlikely the president a) wrote it himself; or b) did it all off the cuff. There were too many details to remember.
There’s no shame in working off a script at an event, but you have to recognize that Trump was working off a script someone else wrote for him.
Second, the video header is misleading. It implies that Trump came right out and declared salvation is through Christ. He never actually said that. The closest he came was in talking about how God called out to the man in prison, but if you’re looking for President Trump taking a stand that salvation is through faith in Christ, you won’t find it here.
The cynical take on all this is that Trump knows evangelicals are an important voter base for him, so he’s willing to say anything to appear to be one of us, and that would certainly include emceeing an event like this in the manner in which he did.
The cynical take is not mine, though. I believe the presidency has impacted Donald Trump’s heart, and while he has not come right out and issued mea culpas for all his past behavior, he has indicated in no uncertain terms that he is not deserving of the support many Christian leaders have given him. I believe the weight of his responsibilities, in addition to what he’s learned from people he previously never had much reason to listen to, has changed him and has made him realize his life of wealth and personal indulgence has been lacking the power of something much greater.
Some may find this inconsistent with his legal strategies against the likes of Stormy Daniels, but to me the one doesn’t necessarily discount the other. Trump could have repented of sleeping with porn stars but still want to protect his legal rights with respect to his past transgressions. They could both be true.
I also believe Trump is listening to people like Franklin Graham, and that their ministry to him is showing him the power of grace and righteousness. I am hopeful that he has indeed found the Lord.
But this video doesn’t provide the proof. We’ll just have to keep praying it’s in his heart, and indeed I do.
Dan writes Christian spiritual warfare novels and does all kinds of other weird things too. Follow all his activity by liking him on Facebook!