I am losing all sorts of Christian friends. I am getting heaps of believers really ticked off with me. I am seeing long-time Christian relationships smashed overnight. So what crucial test of fellowship did I break? What great evil did I commit? What gross heresy have I espoused?
Did I deny the deity of Jesus Christ? Did I repudiate the doctrine of the Trinity? Did I come out and say I no longer believe the Bible is God’s Word? Did I say all religions are the same and we will all be saved anyway? Did I embrace New Age mumbo-jumbo, or hop on the Chrislam bandwagon?
No, evidently I did something far, far worse. I committed a much more heinous sin than all that: I refused to join in the Trump cult. I refused to engage in Trumpite idolatry. I refused to bow down and worship Lord Trump. I refused to see him as the long-awaited messiah who will save America and the world.
And for that unpardonable sin, many “believers’ have declared me to be anathema and they want absolutely nothing to do with me. They have disowned me, repudiated me, slammed me, and turned their backs on me. Oh, so that is the ultimate test of Christian orthodoxy, and that is the real basis of Christian unity. I see.
This is about one thing: Christians engaging in idolatry. And I think my case is already made. If Christians turn on you like you are the anti-Christ simply because you do not share their wild enthusiasm and excitement about one man, then you know you have a bad case of idolatry on your hands.
As I have so often said already I fully get all the anger, the frustration, the impatience, the disillusionment. I have all that too. I too am sick of the Washington cartel, the lousy RINOS, the moribund Washington system, the lethargic Congress, etc.
I get all that and I share in the rage. But rage alone will solve nothing. All this anger and frustration was also characteristic of another people not long ago: the Germans in the 1930s were in much the same boat. So they looked for someone to make Germany great again. They looked for someone who spoke his mind. They looked for someone who challenged the reigning orthodoxy. They looked for someone who did not give a rip what others thought.
And they got exactly what they wanted. As I wrote earlier about such things, God gave them their desires, but sent leanness to their souls: https://billmuehlenberg.com/2016/03/06/america-beleivers-and-elections-so-god-gave-them-over/
Tragically, it really seems that we have learned absolutely nothing from history. And puh-leese, do not give me this foolishness about Trump not demanding gassing and concentration camps. Of course he is not, but that is completely beside the point.
He is a populist, charismatic leader with many hanging on to his every word, promising hope and change (where did we hear that before) in times of great moral and political crisis. A demagogue can cause plenty of harm without resorting to the sorts of things Hitler did. Now more than ever we need to be conversant with history.
The simple truth is this: Trump is not going to make America “great again”. No Christian could ever believe that. There is only one person who can make America great again, and he is not running for office, sorry. And only by masses of believers falling on their faces in heartfelt repentance can we expect to see any significant turnaround in America’s steady decline.
That is our only hope. Trump will not save America. He can’t. And by the way, Cruz (who I do support) will certainly not save America either. All he can do is buy America a bit more time. He can only hold back the floodgates, and perhaps keep the full outpouring of God’s wrath from falling just now.
But unless America – beginning with American Christians – repents massively, thoroughly and genuinely, I see no hope whatsoever for America. It is a goner just like Assyria is now history, the Roman Empire is now a goner, the Soviet Union is now a goner, etc. All these kingdoms have come and gone, and I guarantee you, the same will be true of America, as painful as it is for me to say that.
I love America, I love its founding, I love its greatness. But all that is now a thing of the past. America is no longer what it once was. Its condition may be terminal. It was Alexis de Tocqueville who said long ago, “America is great because she is good. If America ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.”
That prescient diagnosis was and still is spot on. America is going down the tubes fast, and Obama’s reign of terror may well be the judgment of God on this once great nation. And someone like Trump sure is not going to turn the judgment away.
And Christians of all people should know better. We have so many examples in Scripture, warning us about this very thing. “We demand a king”. “We want Barabbas.” “We will not have this man to rule over us.” Looking to false messiahs is idolatry of the highest order and God cannot allow it to happen amongst his people.
Putting our trust in princes, in chariots, in the arms of men, when God alone should be our sole source of hope and deliverance is never going to end pretty. It has always resulted in the judgment of God in the past. Why do we expect it to be any different now?
And don’t get me wrong: anyone who knows me knows I am not some quietist, or pietist, or political pacifist. Of course we must engage in the political process; of course we must be good and responsible citizens; of course we must vote carefully and wisely.
But we dare not engage in the damnable sin of idolatry in which we delude ourselves into thinking that one man is somehow going to turn things around, save America, and restore the world to some Edenic condition. It ain’t gonna happen.
And it sure ain’t gonna happen with the most pagan, immoral, arrogant, narcissistic, megalomaniac we have running. Folks can debate the merits of the candidates all they like – nothing wrong with that. But I must share what is so heavy on my heart here: putting our trust in man and expecting him to deliver us is a fool’s dream.
Indeed, it’s the height of idolatry. God is the one we must look to for deliverance, not some candidate or political party. Sure, some parties are better than others, and some candidates are better than others. In a fallen world we seek to get the best of a bad bunch. But the rampant faith and trust I see being put in some men – especially Trump – scares me to death to be honest.
This is idolatry of the worst order, and all those Christians who have worshipped at the Trumpite altar need to repent and rethink. When Yahweh said ‘I will not share my glory with another’ he meant it. And that is just as true of putting our hopes in some political candidate as it is in bowing down before Baal.