Chris Thurman on Trump Has Bewitched the Evangelicals

Several faith leaders lay hands on President Donald Trump at an informal meeting held at the Roosevelt Room in the White House in Washington, D.C., Oct. 29, 2019. | White House/Joyce Boghosian

Fool.

It’s not a word to throw around carelessly. Some Christians erroneously believe the Bible forbids the use of this word toward others and that we risk eternal damnation for addressing people this way. What the Bible actually teaches is to never call someone “racca,” which means “empty one” or “worthless.” The Bible also teaches that it is always wrong to call someone a fool if you are doing it out of sinful, unrighteous anger.

Jesus Christ used the words “blind fools” to refer to the Pharisees regarding how they were grossly misguiding the Jews about how to have an intimate relationship with God (Matthew 23:17).

The Apostle Paul reprimanded Christians in the province of Galatia, saying “You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you?” (Galatians 3:1) because they had fallen back into trying to be justified by works rather than faith in Jesus Christ.

When either Jesus Christ or Paul used these words, it was a stinging rebuke of a group of people for not looking spiritually or morally at reality the way God looks at it.

I believe evangelicals who support Donald Trump are being both blind and foolish to do so and that labeling them as such is not sinful but appropriate and necessary. By support, I’m not referring to evangelicals who voted for Trump in 2016. I’m referring to those evangelicals who continue to hold Trump up as a great leader, say he is God’s chosen one for the presidency, applaud his appalling words and actions, ignore his glaring moral defects, and enable his dangerous presidency to continue by giving him their time, talents, and treasures.

As a Christian, I don’t have much hope that evangelicals who enthusiastically support Trump will have ears to hear what I say in this piece. My personal interactions with enthusiastic Trump-supporting evangelicals have, in general, been unpleasant and involved very little willingness to “Come now, let us reason together” (Isaiah 1:18). Nevertheless, I feel prompted to comply with two verses in Scripture, “speaking the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15) and “If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault” (Matthew 18:15) when it comes to this matter. This article, however imperfectly written, is my best effort to speak the truth in love to my brothers and sisters in Christ who support Trump and point out why I believe the Bible says they are wrong to do so.

First, I am going to mention some of the leading evangelicals who have zealously supported Trump. Second, I’m going to discuss the key biblical passage that describes someone like Trump, a passage that many evangelicals seem to completely ignore. Third, I’m going to examine why so many evangelicals support Trump. Finally, I will conclude by challenging those evangelicals who support Trump to humble themselves, admit they made a grave mistake by backing a man so clearly psychologically and morally unfit to be president, and repent of their misjudgment of this man by vigorously opposing his re-election.

The Four Evangelical Enablers of the Trumpocalypse

Four evangelicals have been especially vocal in their support of Trump. I mention them by name not to demean these individuals but because I believe each one of them need to be held accountable for avidly supporting the president and acting like evangelicals who don’t do the same are unchristian and immoral.

Ralph Reed, former head of the Christian Coalition and founder and chairman of the Faith and Freedom Coalition, recently said that evangelicals “have a moral obligation to enthusiastically back” President Trump in the upcoming election.1 In my field of counseling, what Reed said is considered “gaslighting,” an effort to make someone think they are crazy or in the wrong if they don’t look at things the way you do. I believe the Bible teaches that we have a moral obligation to vigorously oppose someone like Trump and remove him from office as soon as possible before he does any more damage to our democracy.

Jerry Falwell Jr., president of Liberty University, said in an interview that Trump earned his support because of his abilities as a businessman, that there was nothing Trump could do to endanger his support or the support of other evangelical leaders, and that he “can’t imagine him doing anything that’s not good for the country.”2 Trump is a demonstrably immoral and incompetent businessman, most of what he does as president is impulsively thought out and acted on, and one has to wonder just how bad he would have to act before evangelicals like Falwell would see him as a real and present danger not only to our country but to the world at large. Could Trump literally, as he has boasted,3 walk to the center of 5th Avenue in New York City and shoot someone before evangelicals would finally sour on him?

Franklin Graham, president and CEO of Samaritan’s Purse and The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, when asked about Trump’s lying, refused to acknowledge that he lies, saying that Trump sometimes misspeaks “like all of us do.”4 Trump recently cracked the 13,000 false or misleading statements barrier.5 Doesn’t that fact alone suggest he is a pathological liar rather than a pathological mis-speaker? And, given that “The Lord detests lying lips” (Proverbs 12:22), shouldn’t evangelicals like Graham realize that God has a serious problem with a pathological liar leading our country?

Mike Pence, vice president of the United States, has been unfaltering in his support of Trump even though he has suffered one indignity after another at Trump’s hand since assuming office. In a cabinet meeting in 2017, Pence led everyone in offering effusive praise to Trump when he said, “You have restored American credibility on the world stage” when Trump has actually done the opposite.6 At Trump’s 2020 campaign kickoff in Florida, Pence introduced Trump by saying, “President Donald Trump is the real deal” when he is actually a disingenuous fake. Pence also said Trump is “a man who says what he means, and means what he says” when Trump rarely says what he really means because even he knows he would catch nine kinds of heck if he ever was foolish enough to do so.7

Ralph, Jerry, Franklin, and Mike, my brothers in Christ, I believe you are being blind and foolish to support Trump. From my perspective, you are significantly misaligned with what Scripture says about how we as Christians are supposed to deal with someone like our current president. You got “bewitched” by an exploitative, pathologically lying snake oil salesman, and your unrestrained support of Trump has not only turned off untold numbers of non-believers to the cause of Christ but brought great dishonor on Christianity.

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Chris Thurman