Since President Trump’s election, many in the evangelical community have lauded him, grateful for his work to protect and propel some of the Christian values we hold so dear. The support has been unwavering, as he enjoys high marks from about 70 percent of evangelicals, many of whom are so concerned with protecting their rights and key issues that they don’t want to do anything that might jeopardize that support for Trump and cause people to vote against him.
But perhaps one of Trump’s most disturbing steps came Wednesday, when the president, who claims to be a Christian, tweeted quotes of and therefore validated radio host Wayne Allyn Root’s words that “the Jewish people love [Trump] … like he’s the King of Israel. They love him like he is the second coming of God.”
Christians believe and profess that the only true “King of Israel” is God, as clearly stated in Isaiah 44:6, and that he sent his son, Jesus Christ, the Messiah, into this world. That makes the description of Trump as “the second coming of God” shocking, blasphemous and sacrilegious.
The silence from my fellow evangelical colleagues, ministry partners and friends that has followed is deafening. Many of them refuse to call out moral failures on the right that they have so vehemently attacked on the left.
In the evangelical community, we have come to incorrectly believe that any critique of Trump only serves to promote the party on the left. But embracing critiques proves we are objective, not blind to the flaws in political parties or our presidents.
Trump is neither the “Second Coming of God” nor the “Messiah.” In repeating the profane quote, he gave a narcissistic endorsement and even thanked Root, a well-known conspiracy theorist, for his words.
Messianic claims are dangerous, because God does not share glory with anyone.
Another historic leader, Herod Agrippa — the king of Judea after Jesus’ death, from 41 to 44 A.D. — once found himself in a similar situation. In the New Testament chapter of Acts 12, Herod was called “God.” Herod’s response? He took credit. The Lord’s response? He sent an angel to kill Herod. In Herod’s case, the Bible doesn’t say he repeated the title — only that he allowed it to be spoken. Perhaps the president can learn from Herod’s mistake.
I am a conservative evangelical who cast my vote for Trump for the very same reason many other evangelicals did: his conservative stance on issues concerning abortion and religious freedom. I visited Washington last October for a briefing at which faith leaders listened to White House officials address many policy issues.
Christians cannot proclaim their morals, family values and faith, then sit down when such values are tainted and misrepresented by the very leaders we say we support. Imagine for one minute if President Barack Obama had made similar claims during his administration. The reaction would be quite different.
Inconsistency is at least one reason I hear a growing antagonism toward evangelicals. As a full-time evangelist traveling all over the United States, I find it increasingly obvious that many people legitimately see evangelicals as hypocrites. Why? Because too often, we dismiss or excuse every indiscretion of the president by approving his other accomplishments.
Being fair and equitable does not mean simply applauding what many of us endorse about Trump, including his stance on abortion, his promotion of freedom of religion, his appointment of conservative judges and his aggressive support for Israel. We must also vocally denounce his blatantly egregious actions, including not only Wednesday’s tweets but also his consistently negative interactions and dialogue with people of different races, genders and ethnicities.
As evangelicals, we have taken a hard line on conservative values, but we have also been moving our standards to fit our narrative. If we are going to condone or condemn certain actions, policies or behaviors coming from the current administration, then we had better be ready to do the same with the next president.
Otherwise, we will continue to lose credibility and display a polluted brand of Christianity that is word without deed — completely unlike that of the true Messiah we claim to follow.
Jay Lowder is a full-time evangelist and founder of Jay Lowder Harvest Ministries, based in Wichita Falls, Tex. Follow him at @jaylowder on Twitter and Facebook.