Is Trump a Christian?

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Is Trump a Christian?

Postby Dave Roberts » Sun Sep 24, 2017 8:43 am

Is Donald Trump a Christian? Given the classic definition in the words of Jesus: "Repent and believe the gospel" or "I tell you, you must be born again," does this allow us to lump Trump with Christians? Given the defenses of Trump by folks like Robert Jeffress, does that give a fake picture of our faith to the world?
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Re: Is Trump a Christian?

Postby William Thornton » Sun Sep 24, 2017 10:54 am

You had two questions:
1. I'll let him self-identify as he wishes and leave the final word to God.
2. No. Did Obama give a fake picture of our faith to the world? To some, yes.
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Re: Is Trump a Christian?

Postby Jim » Sun Sep 24, 2017 11:35 am

Dave Roberts wrote:Is Donald Trump a Christian? Given the classic definition in the words of Jesus: "Repent and believe the gospel" or "I tell you, you must be born again," does this allow us to lump Trump with Christians? Given the defenses of Trump by folks like Robert Jeffress, does that give a fake picture of our faith to the world?


One may logically infer that you have judged Trump and found that he is not a Christian, at least according to your “classic” definition even though you have no idea what is in the mind of Trump. This kind of arrogance/hypocrisy/self-righteousness suggests a reading of Matthew 7:1-3.


7: 1 Judge not, that ye be not judged.
2 For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.
And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?
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Re: Is Trump a Christian?

Postby JE Pettibone » Sun Sep 24, 2017 3:25 pm

William Thornton wrote:You had two questions:
1. I'll let him self-identify as he wishes and leave the final word to God.
2. No. Did Obama give a fake picture of our faith to the world? To some, yes.



Ed: Well said William ! I had started a reply before driving to Lakeland for church this morning, but couldn't keep it short enough. Also I like your Obama point.
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Re: Is Trump a Christian?

Postby Dave Roberts » Sun Sep 24, 2017 4:42 pm

My question comes around what Trump has said that he had never needed to repent. I did not plan a judgment, but the question was asked of me by a layperson. I wondered how others would answer.
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Re: Is Trump a Christian?

Postby KeithE » Sun Sep 24, 2017 4:45 pm

Trump does not exhibit Christ-like behavior. He does not love his enemy, instead he picks fights with them. He does not forgive people; instead he holds grudges. He never asks for forgiveness for his sins; instead he is arrogant. He winks at white supremacists while calling people of color derogatory names - be they black athletes (SoBs with real words) or immigrants (rapists and criminals). He treats women crudely and brags about it. He lies habitually. He has stiffed many workers. He does not stick up for the poor, sick, and otherwise marginalized; in fact has not done a single thing explicitly for the middle class yet as he ran on.

Does he exhibit the fruits of the Spirit?

God will do the final judging, but my judgment is that he is not a Christ follower.
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Re: Is Trump a Christian?

Postby Jim » Sun Sep 24, 2017 10:05 pm

Dave Roberts wrote:My question comes around what Trump has said that he had never needed to repent. I did not plan a judgment, but the question was asked of me by a layperson. I wondered how others would answer.

That's interesting. What if someone besides a layperson had asked you the question, maybe someone with a Ph.D and 50 honorary doctorates?
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Re: Is Trump a Christian?

Postby Sandy » Sun Sep 24, 2017 10:37 pm

I John 4:1-3 RSV wrote:Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are of God; for many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2 By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit which confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, 3 and every spirit which does not confess Jesus is not of God. This is the spirit of antichrist, of which you heard that it was coming, and now it is in the world already.


Acts 2:38 wrote:And Peter said to them, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.


Being a Christian includes repentance, and the belief, beyond mere acknowledgement, in Jesus as savior. In spite of the emphasis that most Christians place on the outward appearances, it is impossible to know whether or not the spiritual transformation of the soul, the "receiving" of the Holy Spirit, has taken place in anyone's life. Christians have developed many ways by which they can judge the spiritual status of other people, and still attempt to claim they are not judging. When it comes to public figures, like Trump, former President Obama, or Ronald Reagan, it's more about what people want to believe, rather than examining their own words. Of the three, only Obama's biographies contains statements that show a confession of Christ and a repentance from sin that is along the lines of what most evangelicals believe constitutes becoming a Christian. But in spite of the tendency of many Christians to judge those they don't like and give a pass to those they do, I take the Bible's warning about not judging seriously. I'm not gifted with the kind of spiritual discernment and vision to determine whether someone else is a Christian or not. Nor is anyone else.
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Re: Is Trump a Christian?

Postby Jon Estes » Mon Sep 25, 2017 7:20 am

Dave Roberts wrote:Is Donald Trump a Christian? Given the classic definition in the words of Jesus: "Repent and believe the gospel" or "I tell you, you must be born again," does this allow us to lump Trump with Christians? Given the defenses of Trump by folks like Robert Jeffress, does that give a fake picture of our faith to the world?


If a layperson asked me I would reply...

1 - Only God knows but...

2 - If he is not, as a Christian - what is our responsibility?

3 - If he is, as a Christian --- what is our responsibility?

I do not think that any sound biblical response would be to verbally castigate him because we disagree with him or put him on a pedestal because we do which many Christians are doing on both sides of the discussion.
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Re: Is Trump a Christian?

Postby William Thornton » Mon Sep 25, 2017 7:45 am

I'm rather less concerned with discerning a politician's spiritual condition than I am with their positions on issues. In that regard all of them fall short of the glory of God, some more than others. Obama is appallingly unchristian in some areas, as is
Trump. Good Christians support either or the other, and the Clintons. There's a lot of irony here. My con friends liked the non-born again McCain over the declared follower of Christ, Obama. They greatly disliked the two Southern Baptists, Gore and Clinton, in favor of their opponents and like the thoroughly worldly (best I can see) Trump over the Methodist Clinton. It's the politics, not whose pew they sit in on Sundays.

It has been amusing to see some of my mod/lib friends embrace the concept of 'who is the most Christian' politician, an area formerly condemned by them when practiced by the Moral Majority and other rightist religiously based groups. That and the silly, self-serving moralizing based on a few issues has severely undermined the credibility of the new mod lib political activists.

Dave brought that legitimate question that pastors get asked, "Is X politician a Christian?" My answer would be, "God knows, not I, but I like/dislike some of their political positions, etc. etc."
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Re: Is Trump a Christian?

Postby Tim Bonney » Mon Sep 25, 2017 12:37 pm

I believe only God can really answer that question. I always get nervous when we try to use our own judgement as to who is and isn't a Christian. If someone comes right out and says they aren't, well then that is clear. Otherwise, I think we are getting into God's territory.
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Re: Is Trump a Christian?

Postby Dave Roberts » Mon Sep 25, 2017 3:35 pm

Since I started this, I'll give my answer.

"Only God knows, but always keep looking at the fruits."

An old pastor I knew growing up used to say, "God said not to be judges, but he told us to be fruit inspectors."
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Re: Is Trump a Christian?

Postby Tim Bonney » Mon Sep 25, 2017 3:46 pm

Dave Roberts wrote:Since I started this, I'll give my answer.

"Only God knows, but always keep looking at the fruits."

An old pastor I knew growing up used to say, "God said not to be judges, but he told us to be fruit inspectors."


Yes, I think we can fairly be concerned when someone who does claim the faith of Christ does not seem to be acting in ways that are Christian. But a Christian acting in an unChristian way is different than someone not being a Christian, at least the way I think of Christianity. But as you said, I'm not the judge.
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Re: Is Trump a Christian?

Postby Jim » Tue Sep 26, 2017 10:13 am

Lots of stuff here to go on to decide if Trump is a Christian. The usual divide is operative, i.e., that conservatives say “judge not that ye...”. The mod-lib approach is that “if it quacks like a non-Christian and walks like a non-Christian, it (Trump) is a non-Christian. So...that's settled. The obvious question now is whether or not a practicing homosexual is a non-Christian, an adulterer is a non-Christian, two same-gender marriage partners non-Christians? Catch: In this forum (at least supposedly) those questions need answering in light of the pronouncements in the scriptures just as in the case of Trump—that “classic definition” thing. What about prostitutes as non-Christians and the preacher who runs off with a choir soprano or makes millions off his TV activity, and the heretic who says there's no hell for anyone's incumbency? Or, there's the minister who doesn't count his “housing allowance” or parsonage occupancy as personal income regardless of what the law says and in light of what the poor guy in the pew has to fork over to Uncle Sam? All bets are off for those who consider the Bible as mostly myth and certainly non-binding in any way. Probably lots of other non-Christian types but these may be good for starters.
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Re: Is Trump a Christian?

Postby William Thornton » Tue Sep 26, 2017 11:19 am

Dave Roberts wrote:Since I started this, I'll give my answer.

"Only God knows, but always keep looking at the fruits."

An old pastor I knew growing up used to say, "God said not to be judges, but he told us to be fruit inspectors."


Oddly, I've heard many pastors say that they weren't called to be fruit inspectors.
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Re: Is Trump a Christian?

Postby Sandy » Tue Sep 26, 2017 2:10 pm

William Thornton wrote: There's a lot of irony here. My con friends liked the non-born again McCain over the declared follower of Christ, Obama.


Many conservatives of the Falwell-Robertson type tried to turn their favorite politicians into "born again Evangelicals" by merely declaring them to be so. Reagan's "religious beliefs" were a self-described syncretism, blending pseudo-Christian terminology with new age practices. But to listen to his supporters in the Christian right, he was one of them. George H.W. was Episcopalian by family tradition, though not terribly inclined to church attendance or open displays of faith, and never comfortable with either evangelical slang, or their presence. W was Methodist, by virtue of his marriage, and was a bit more inclined toward outward displays of faith, though he frequently frustrated the religious right leadership by declaring his belief that Muslims and Jews were also pathways to God and "Great faiths". He was a bit more regular in church attendance than his father or RR had been, though when he and Laura sought photo ops coming out of church, it was emerging from GLBT-friendly St. Johns Episcopal Church, a few blocks from the White House.

The only time you'll ever hear an evangelical preacher de-emphasize the importance of regular church attendance is when they're talking about a Republican politician they like who doesn't go frequently, or at all. I believe not forsaking the assembling of yourselves together, while it doesn't save you, is a sign of the health and strength of your Christian life, as do most Evangelical Christian pastors and leaders, unless, of course, they are giving a pass to one of their favorite politicians. It's more than just a bit ironic that while attempting to lay claim to be the representatives of the faithful, and speaking for God himself, it is the last three Democrats to serve in the White House who have the more outstanding record of this fundamental basic of Christian disciplines, regular church attendance. Carter was at Washington's First Baptist Church every Sunday he was in town, and I think he actually taught Sunday school there, as he did in Georgia. The secret service had to say no to him wanting to walk the mile and a half to church from the White House every Sunday. Clinton's motorcade appeared just as regularly each week at Foundry United Methodist Church (one block away from First Baptist) where Chelsea was involved with the youth group. Obama attended at Navy Chapel most of the time, to avoid having to set up the security at a church each week, but they also attended several congregations around town, including Shiloh Baptist Church, 19th St. Baptist Church, and St. John's Episcopal. Reagan, citing the security difficulty, never attended, but that wasn't unusual because he never did before he became President either. George H.W. Bush and Barbara occasionally attended at St. Johns Episcopal, across the park from the White House, as W and Laura did, on occasion. Unlike most Evangelical congregations, St. Johns is GLBT friendly. When Trump has been seen at church, once in nine months, that's where he's gone.

And of course, at least two of the recent Democrats who didn't win election were also regular church attenders. Gore is a Southern Baptist, and Clinton is a United Methodist.

McCain, BTW, regularly attends North Phoenix Baptist Church. I've heard conflicting stories about whether he's been baptized and is a member there, or whether he just goes regularly with his wife, who is a member. But I'm curious why he'd be identified as non-born again.
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Re: Is Trump a Christian?

Postby Jim » Tue Sep 26, 2017 2:36 pm

Dave Roberts wrote:Since I started this, I'll give my answer.

"Only God knows, but always keep looking at the fruits."

An old pastor I knew growing up used to say, "God said not to be judges, but he told us to be fruit inspectors."

“By their fruits you shall know them” is also in Matthew 7 and has to do with false prophets, not false presidents, although Trump is not a false president because he was elected constitutionally by the people. The place to look for false prophets is mainly in the church, in which there are many today because they marry man-to-man and thus endorse lewd behavior expressly forbidden by God in both dispensations, not to mention God's definition of marriage as only between a man and woman, with fruit-bearing referencing children. Keep on as a fruit-inspector like a sort of gossip but remember the mote and beam in the process.
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Re: Is Trump a Christian?

Postby Haruo » Tue Sep 26, 2017 8:16 pm

Jon Estes wrote:
Dave Roberts wrote:Is Donald Trump a Christian? Given the classic definition in the words of Jesus: "Repent and believe the gospel" or "I tell you, you must be born again," does this allow us to lump Trump with Christians? Given the defenses of Trump by folks like Robert Jeffress, does that give a fake picture of our faith to the world?


If a layperson asked me I would reply...

1 - Only God knows but...

2 - If he is not, as a Christian - what is our responsibility?

3 - If he is, as a Christian --- what is our responsibility?

I do not think that any sound biblical response would be to verbally castigate him because we disagree with him or put him on a pedestal because we do which many Christians are doing on both sides of the discussion.

I'll go with Jon on this one.
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Re: Is Trump a Christian?

Postby Rvaughn » Tue Sep 26, 2017 10:39 pm

Dave Roberts wrote:Is Donald Trump a Christian?
I don't make a habit of pronouncing folks "not a Christian" but leave that decision up to God. That said, the President has given plenty of conflicting "testimony" that honestly leaves folks confused. Jon's reply supplies much food for thought: "1 - Only God knows but...If he is not, as a Christian - what is our responsibility? If he is, as a Christian --- what is our responsibility?"
Dave Roberts wrote:Given the defenses of Trump by folks like Robert Jeffress, does that give a fake picture of our faith to the world?
To the world? I don't know. I think each of us are responsible for giving a true picture of our faith to the folks we rub shoulders with every day.
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Re: Is Trump a Christian?

Postby Jon Estes » Wed Sep 27, 2017 1:46 am

Dave Roberts wrote:Given the defenses of Trump by folks like Robert Jeffress, does that give a fake picture of our faith to the world?


A fair question to the topic. Though a question which Christians need to not leave as is but broaden it to our own lives.

Does the life we live out in front of people give a fake picture of our faith to the world?

I hope we don't get too high and mighty and refuse not to think that there are many in the world who are clueless to our faith in Christ by our actions... or inactions.
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Re: Is Trump a Christian?

Postby Sandy » Wed Sep 27, 2017 9:19 am

Dave Roberts wrote:Given the defenses of Trump by folks like Robert Jeffress, does that give a fake picture of our faith to the world?


An excellent question. That's really the crux of the issue, more than whether or not Trump is a Christian. Jeffress is one of many who identify with the Evangelical Christian political right, lining up their interpreted Christian beliefs and values with the candidates they support. They have been harshly and caustically critical of politicians who identify as Christians, including some of the same Evangelical stripe, but who are Democrats, attacking not only their position on the very narrow issues where they disagree, but their overall faith as a whole, and most of them have been openly judgmental about their opinion of any politician's faith that they don't particularly like. But they have been unwilling, to the point of blatant hypocrisy, to hold Trump to anything close to the standards that they've used to criticize the Clintons, President Obama, Al Gore, or even Jimmy Carter, who was more Evangelical and Christian, in any sense of either term, than any of them.

Trump got a good photo op standing in a circle with a few well known Evangelical leaders who claimed he "prayed the prayer." Since then, nothing has changed. He's still the same foul mouthed, bad tempered, womanizing, sexually abusing, strip club owning, casino owning, narcissistic, misogynist, adulterer and liar that he always was. From a group of individuals who went so far as to find some minor details of tertiary doctrine in the statement of faith of President Obama's former church in Chicago in order to rake his faith over the coals, the silence of Evangelicals on this issue is deafening. It is being interpreted, correctly IMHO, as their endorsement of all of his bad behavior for political sake, and it has done irreparable harm to the "picture of our faith to the world." It even has an effect on those churches and Christians who want no part of him, and who speak out against him.

The deeping attendance and membership decline among Evangelicals in this country coincides with the ramped-up political involvement and candidate endorsement of Evangelical leaders. The Christian researchers, like Barna and Stetzer, are political conservatives, so they won't openly link the two, but I sure can. And that's the real issue, not whether the President is a Christian or not.
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Re: Is Trump a Christian?

Postby Jim » Wed Sep 27, 2017 8:48 pm

Dave Roberts wrote: Given the defenses of Trump by folks like Robert Jeffress, does that give a fake picture of our faith to the world?


To the world? I can just see some folks in the Congo or Somalia arguing about a fake picture of our faith on the basis of their knowledge of Jeffress. Wonder what Putin thinks. There are billions of people in the WORLD who have never heard of Jeffress or of Jesus Christ, for that matter. But...we must be careful and not criticize them for being ignorant of Jeffress. Of course, lots of folks (perhaps most) in the USA have no idea who Jeffress is, either, but we definitely must not criticize them lest we be thought discriminatory or racist or war-mongers or whatever the issue de jour is.
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Re: Is Trump a Christian?

Postby Jon Estes » Thu Sep 28, 2017 2:35 am

Jim wrote:
Dave Roberts wrote: Given the defenses of Trump by folks like Robert Jeffress, does that give a fake picture of our faith to the world?


To the world? I can just see some folks in the Congo or Somalia arguing about a fake picture of our faith on the basis of their knowledge of Jeffress. Wonder what Putin thinks. There are billions of people in the WORLD who have never heard of Jeffress or of Jesus Christ, for that matter. But...we must be careful and not criticize them for being ignorant of Jeffress. Of course, lots of folks (perhaps most) in the USA have no idea who Jeffress is, either, but we definitely must not criticize them lest we be thought discriminatory or racist or war-mongers or whatever the issue de jour is.


Jim... Now Jim...

Jeffress must be criticized. He supports Trump. Don't you get it? The world is all going to hell now... because Trump says he is a Christian and Jeffress supports Trump. It matters not that the sin they carry has a price - that is now a historical perspective of traditionalists who believe in an inerrant Bible... We can see the world saved if we can remove Trump and get Jeffress to have a change of heart. That's the new gospel.

:roll: :roll: :roll:
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