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A Review of Evangelicals at the Crossroads: Will We Pass The Trump Test? By Michael Brown.

Jul 30, 2020

Equal Time Books, 2020.

Michael Brown’s new book on the US elections is a must read:

This year’s American presidential election may be one of the most important ever. The differences between the two main parties and their vision for America could not be greater. The Republican vision under Donald Trump seeks to affirm America’s greatness – even despite its various faults. The Democrat vision is to fundamentally remake America into its own radical left image.

Those who are familiar with American Christian commentator Michael Brown will know his views on such matters. In addition to numerous columns on these issues, he had penned a book back in 2018 on this: Donald Trump Is Not My Savior: An Evangelical Leader Speaks His Mind About the Man He Supports as President.

From his various writings it is clear that Brown worships one person only: Jesus Christ. But he is realistic about our political and social climate, and he understands that how he votes will make a real difference. Indeed, how we all vote will make a massive difference in a few months’ time.

He seeks to explain why this election is so crucial, and why a vote for the Democrats will be so detrimental to Americans and to America itself. In this volume he offers 17 short, punchy and well-referenced chapters dealing with a number of concerns, such as:

“Since When Was Loyalty to Trump the Dividing Line for Christians?”
“Does Character Still Count and Does Morality Still Matter?”
“Does a Vote for Trump Really Hurt Our Witness?”
“What Would Bonhoeffer Do?”
“What If Hillary Had Been Elected?”

Consider his chapter on “Since When Was Loyalty to Trump the Dividing Line for Christians?” He notes that both Trump supporters and Trump opponents can use their views on Trump as some sort of litmus test for Christian orthodoxy. Neither should be the case, and he urges us to insist upon biblical balance.

He closes this chapter with these words: “We can vote for Trump and support his presidency without doing so blindly. And we can stand with the president without becoming like the president. There’s quite a difference between the two.”

In his chapter on “Have We Failed the Love Test?” he again demonstrates how both sides have been guilty of unbiblical behaviour. He says this: “I do believe in fighting, but not the way the world fights. As Paul wrote, ‘We are human, but we don’t wage war as humans do’ (2 Corinthians 10:3, NLT).”

In another chapter contrasting pro-Trump cultists with anti-Trump cultists (and yes they do exist in both camps) Brown again seeks to move us away from extremes and into the biblical middle ground:

Personally, I do believe that there are many Trump supporters (including evangelicals) who seem to have a cult-like devotion to him, passionately defending him no matter what. . . . On the other hand, there are plenty of Trump supporters who are anything but cult-like in their support of him. They freely express their differences with him. They publicly bemoan his tweets and comments. They wish he would not shoot himself in the foot so often. And they make clear that they are voting against the radical left more than they are voting for him.

Later in that chapter he makes it quite clear that there is such a thing as Trump Derangement Syndrome. Brown, I and countless others know all too well that this sickness exists: simply dare to say something favourable about Trump and all hell will break loose. He really does seem to be the most hated president ever.

Of course this is a book on politics as much as on Christianity, so Brown has good reasons for urging us to vote for Trump. Early on he lists a number of his many vital accomplishments in his first term, and in his chapter on what a Clinton win would have looked like he reminds us of some hard truths:

Obviously, none of us know for sure what would have happened had Hillary Clinton been elected, but we can be almost certain that: 1) she would have nominated pro-abortion, pro-LGBT liberals to the Supreme Court and other federal courts; 2) she would have kept in place President Obama’s aggressive LGBT-activist policies in our children’s schools; 3) she would have strengthened Planned Parenthood; 4) her Justice Department and Attorney General would not have sided with conservative Christians in legal disputes.

Image of Evangelicals at the Crossroads: Will We Pass The Trump Test?
Evangelicals at the Crossroads: Will We Pass The Trump Test? by Array Amazon logo

Or as he explains in more detail in another chapter:

As I have often stated, I preferred other Republican candidates to Trump in 2016, but since it came down to Trump vs. Hillary, I voted for Trump. Why? Above all, it was a vote against Hillary Clinton, since I felt some of her key policies would be terrible for the nation. As for Trump, I hoped he would keep his campaign promises and: 1) fight for the life of the unborn; 2) support our religious liberties; 3) appoint conservative justices to the courts; 4) stand with Israel and move our embassy to Jerusalem; 5) push back against LGBT extremism; and 6) strongly oppose radical Islamic terrorism. I also hoped he would be a good economic leader, but that was not as high on my list. Immigration issues were even less important to me, as were a host of other issues that mattered to other voters. The items on my list were what mattered most to me when voting, especially the first five.

And a Biden win will be even worse of course, as he allows himself to be moved to the hard left by his hyper-progressive colleagues. But religious leftists think that a Biden win would be great. So Brown is forced to ask some hard questions in his chapter on “When the Left Demonizes the Right”:

Why is it fine for Christians on the left to be involved politically but not Christians on the right? Why are the “progressive” Christians who mix politics with religion doing something noble while the conservative Christians who do the same are trying to establish a theocracy? Why are the leftwing Christians who supported Obama or Hillary viewed as altruistic and selfless while the rightwing Christians who support Trump are viewed as power hungry white nationalists? Why the double standard? And why the extreme judgmentalism?

Good questions indeed. In this book he asks many important questions. And since he asks them primarily of Christians, his concluding chapter is quite crucial by way of wrapping things up. In it he offers us “Ten Essential Keys for Passing the Trump Test”. Some of them are:

-We must clearly and emphatically put the cross before the flag.
-We must proclaim that Donald Trump is our president, not our Savior.
-We must put greater emphasis on spiritual activity than on political activity.
-We must regain our prophetic voice.
-We must unite around Jesus rather than divide over Trump.
-We must lead the nation in repentance, knowing that repentance prepares the way of the Lord, opening a path for revival, visitation, and awakening.

As should be clear by now, this book shows us that Brown is not being one-eyed. He is fully aware of the many weaknesses and deficiencies in Trump. He also understands that politics is not everything. But he is also a biblical realist, knowing that in a fallen world we are not dealing with perfect people, but with quite flawed people.

Therefore we have to make do with what is on offer in this election. And in this book Brown shows us how utterly contrasting our two main options are. So we must carefully and prayerfully seek to do the right thing come November 3. The election result – however it goes – may not be the end of the world, but it may be the end of America.

As always, Christians need to keep the big picture – the biblical picture – in mind. And Brown does just that throughout this book. Indeed, it is quite evident that he has his Christian priorities right when he closes his book with these paragraphs:

Let us, then, lead the nation in private and public repentance, in confession of sin and wrongdoing, of turning to righteousness, of turning to God. That is the great hope of America, not four more years of Donald Trump, or any political candidate, but a heaven-sent revival and awakening.

Until that time comes, we pray, we reach out, we serve, we speak, we love, and we get involved in the political process, but with our focus in the right place and our hopes firmly rooted in the Lord and the Lord alone. If we do this, we will pass the Trump test with flying colors. And who knows? Perhaps he too will be mightily touched by God and help lead the nation into deeper repentance and awakening. What is impossible with people is possible with God.

Thank you Michael Brown for bringing much-needed biblical, political, moral and intellectual clarity to one of the most divisive moments in American history. This is indeed a watershed moment, and what you have to say in this book offers us a very useful roadmap for how Christians – and others – should proceed.

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7 Responses to A Review of Evangelicals at the Crossroads: Will We Pass The Trump Test? By Michael Brown.

  • If I was an American, and I have visited America and found them to be wonderful people, I would find it easy to cast my vote as the Democrats are committed to everything that I do not believe should happen and is contrary to the will of God.

    It is not hard to make a choice as both sides of politics are flawed, but the Republicans give us the lesser of two evils. The Demoncrats believe they have every right to destroy a great nation and remake it in their own sinful image.

  • Thank you for bringing President Trump to our attention as he is perhaps the most lied about President US has had, I have been praying for President Trump as I and many others believe he is God’s man for the job. At least two big Christian ministries I support have told their partners to vote for the Republican Party. One pastor even asked God, why is Donald Trump your man? and the reply was – because the one I (God) had in mind was aborted.
    President Trump may not be religious or a true Christian but he believes in prayer in parliament and free speech by Christians on streets, he is against abortion etc, supports Israel and moved the US embassy to Jerusalem. I did read he has a Presbyterian background and listens to Christian leaders. Mike Pence is said to be seen as the next President.
    Some Bible scholars say America is the Great Nation from Ephraim’s lineage and Great Britain is the Multitude of Nations from Manasseh’s lineage as found in Genesis 48:13-20 when Jacob blessed Joseph’s two sons before he died. I don’t think God will give up on America and let it go to ruin.

  • I would be very careful with British -Israelism. That is where the whole Ephraim and Manasseh argument comes from.

    Personally I think a good dose of judgment is what America truly needs. The church won’t wake up without something catastrophic happening. We too are caught up in the power game searching for a political solution to a spiritual problem. Maybe when we have nothing to rely on but God we will finally turn to him.

    Whatever is left of America will hopefully turn to him but the church and nation must be punished first. We abandoned culture and let things get this bad so we are equally culpable. We want to blame the devil while at the same time absolving ourselves but it doesn’t work that way. If we had been doing our job the devil couldn’t have done what he did. The first step towards repentance is admitting our responsibility for thing. Too much of the church doesn’t want to do that. We want heaven but not the cross, revival but not repentance (or we will repent of America’s sins but not the church’s; corporate repentance not personal), awakening but not acknowledgment. Saying the pagans sinned against you Lord but we are blameless please help us isn’t going to cut it.

    Not sure if we will have one nation or many smaller nations after judgment but if the latter hopefully at least some will come to Christ.

  • Thanks Paul. Yes we must avoid the cultic and erroneous British-Israelism. There are better ways to stand up for America and to see God’s hand of blessing upon her. See this piece for more:

    https://billmuehlenberg.com/2009/03/04/cults-and-amazing-grace/

  • Bill, as we all know Trump is now infected with covid. A comment popped up and bothered me quite a bit. It goes like this:
    “I do not pray for the quick recovery of Mr Trump. Why should I do that? I don’t know that that is what is best for him & for the many he influences. Instead, as I love my neighbor, I pray that God will bless him, and the rest of us, through this illness and whatever may follow.”
    This feels like semi-Christian, somewhat. Almost like hatred veiled in theology.
    Would you do this if it were Dan Andrews? Just curious.

  • Thanks Joseph. Two questions deserve two answers. As to prayer for the sick in general, because I am not a health and wealth gospeller, my usual prayer (which is how most Christians would pray) is something like this: ‘Lord please heal so and so, if it be your will.’ So I am praying for Trump’s healing, but I do acknowledge that the will of God is always crucial in such prayers.

    As to evil rulers and dictators (and I consider Andrews to be one), I have stated often my preferred – and biblical – prayer: ‘Lord, please improve or remove this leader.’ So I pray that Andrews will get gloriously saved and repent of his many sins and radically change, or that God will one way or another take him out of the picture, by any means he prefers.

    In other words, I tend to pray somewhat differently for those who may be Christians (and Trump may be one), and those who are clearly arrogant tyrants who think of themselves as god (which appears to be the case with Andrews).

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