“He’s a baby Christian.”
If you’re a Christian who’s been reluctant to vote for Donald Trump because of his past – shall we say – moral shortcomings, a secondhand report of his possible salvation is certainly not a reason all by itself to change that position. And as we’ve discussed in the past, it’s entirely possible God could be using Trump regardless of his faith or lack thereof.
But one thing any Christian should recognize is that a person’s past is cleansed once they come to Christ, so if Dr. James Dobson is accurately reporting what he says happened recently, what do you do with that? There’s no embed code available, but here’s where you can hear the audio interview in which Dobson makes the claim.
And at that same link, Michael Anthony makes a great point about how Christians who have disapproved of Trump might trip themselves up in reacting to this . . . if it actually happened (all caps his):
Is one gullible to believe God could save and transform Donald Trump? Maybe so. But, then again, God has done so in the past. Maybe, just maybe, believing it’s possible is to believe more in God than in man after all. This is what it means to pray for change, see it happen, and then believe that God could do what man cannot. This is what biblical faith and biblical faith look like, after all.
WOULDN’T IT BE CLASSICALLY IRONIC (AND HYPOCRITICAL) OF ALL OF US WHO SAY TRUMP NEEDS TO CHANGE, IF WE WHO PRAYED FOR THAT CHANGE WOUND UP NOT BELIEVING WHEN/IF GOD ACTUALLY ANSWERED OUR PRAYERS?
My reaction to this is hopeful but pretty cautious: Of course I believe God can convict the heart of anyone, and that certainly includes Donald Trump, who I have always seen as flawed but not abjectly evil like Hillary is. Perhaps Trump is sobered by the weight of the challenge in front of him and that’s made him more open to his need for God than he’s been when doing real estate deals and TV shows. Maybe his candidacy put him in contact with some far more effective evangelist who explained the way to Christ in a way that Trump had never heard before.
All this could have happened. It’s also just as possible that some Christian who is supporting Trump as the less bad alternative to Hillary – and doesn’t feel quite right about it – chose to believe an insincere profession of faith because he really wanted to believe it for his own peace of mind.
I don’t know and neither do you, but I’ll tell you what I’ve said before: A person being a faithful Christian does not, in my mind, automatically mean I should vote for that person for president. I’ve made this case about Mike Huckabee several times. I think he’s a good and faithful man, but I do not believe his anointing is to be president and I think he would be terrible at the job. If Trump is not well-prepared for the presidency, it makes no more sense to vote for him because he becomes a Christian.
But the Christian who has objected to Trump’s past personal behavior should recognize that at some point we all needed to come to repentance. And Anthony is right: If you’ve prayed for Trump’s salvation, and now it’s reportedly happened, how much are you really trusting God if you refuse to believe it?
Of course I prefer people of good moral character to bad in the Oval Office, but when you go back decades in a person’s life and scrutinize everything they ever did, you don’t leave much room for the possibility that people can change and grow. Hillary gives every indication that she would misuse the power of the presidency for her own personal agenda just as she always has. It would be consistent with her entire public life. I don’t really see the same type of issues arising from Trump’s past moral failings, and if it’s really true that he’s given his life to Christ, it would signal that he could, at the very least, be more trustworthy in looking out for the best interests of the nation.
Remember this, though: New Christians almost never do a 180 all at once in every aspect of their lives. I’ve never been a fan of Christians referring to themselves as “works in progress” because I think too often that’s little more than an excuse not to clean up certain sin issues in their lives. But the fact of the matter is that people who have lived in sin all their lives have taken on layers of spiritual darkness, and even after you repent of sin in general, it can take a lifetime to really peel off all those layers and let God deal with them for you.
I say this because, if Trump has really come to Christ, some will be upset that he doesn’t seem to act very different from what he has in the past. That’s more the rule than the exception. People are who they are, and while surrender to Christ gives God the opportunity to work in you, there’s much work to be done.
So I hope this is true – for the eternal sake of the man’s soul if nothing else – but I would not make it the only factor in deciding whether to vote for him. For me, the number one factor has always been this: Electing Trump stops Hillary. If someone can present me with more compelling reasons than that to want him as president, I’ll take them. But stopping Hillary is reason enough for me.