Christian psychologist Dr. James Dobson’s claim last week that Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump recently accepted “a relationship with Christ” has sent shock waves throughout the Christian and media worlds.
Dobson, who delivered that message during an interview with GodFactor.com’s Michael Anthony, referred to Trump as a “baby Christian” who isn’t well-versed in evangelical language, but said that he has hope for the boisterous businessman.
“There are a lot of people ministering to [Trump] personally. He did accept a relationship with Christ,” Dobson said. “I know the person who led him to Christ and that’s fairly recent.”
While the popular evangelical leader said that he believes Trump did make a genuine committment, he sees him as a “baby Christian,” and encouraged listeners to pray for him.
“We all need to be praying for him, especially if there’s a possibility of him being our next chief executive officer,” he said. “He refers a lot to religion and not much to faith and belief. You’ve got to cut him some slack. He didn’t grow up like we did.”
On Sunday, though, Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort wasn’t willing to confirm or deny reports of a born-again experience, saying on “Meet the Press” that people would need to ask the candidate himself if they wanted an answer.
“I’m not going to speak to Donald Trump and his embrace of religion,” he said. “You’ll have to talk to him about that.”
Considering some of the pushback that Trump has received from evangelicals based on his rhetoric and a series of much-publicized faith-based gaffes, it’s no surprise that some critics are questioning the veracity of these claims.
Frank Schaeffer, son of the late theologian and author Francis Schaeffer, who long ago left the so-called “religious right,” penned a sarcasm-tinged blog post about Trump’s purported conversion.
“Now Trump is born again, a blood-bought, saved, lamb following the Good S[hepherd], he can build on the fact he won a majority of evangelical voters already in the Republican primaries when he was still lost,” he wrote.
Schaeffer continued, “Now he’s saved he’s going to build on Jesus’ precious blood along with his prominent brothers in Christ like Dobson and Sen. Ted Cruz who Dobson had endorsed before Trump got saved.”
Dr. John Fea, professor of American history at Messiah College in Grantham, Pennsylvania, also responded with a blog post of his own criticizing Dobson and proclaiming that Trump “by all accounts, exemplifies very few signs of Christian character.”
Conservative commentator Erick Erickson, founder of Red State and a well-known Christian and political voice, also held little back, imploring Christians to be ashamed of the Dobson story.
“So let’s get this straight. Less than a week ago, evangelicals meet with Trump and, after much criticism for the embrace some gave him, someone told James Dobson who told the media that Trump found Jesus recently,” Erickson wrote. “I thought he was a Christian last year.”
And he wasn’t done there.
“If you are a Christian and do not have a sense of shame over this story, you should. This is shameful and embarrassing,” Erickson continued. “It is made more embarrassing that someone would take advantage of an 80-year-old James Dobson.”
SOURCE: Billy Hallowell