TRUMP TELLS US MORE…
—The MIDNIGHT WATCH WORD —
My meeting with Donald Trump
THE CONVERSATION TOOK AN INTERESTING TURN…
As our meeting continued, I was surprised to find that Trump actually knew some of the Preachers and Teachers in the room, not because he had met them or read their biography (each of us sent one ahead), but because he had watched their TV programs. Media is one of his domains. It only occurred to me later that through the “Apprentice” and “Celebrity Apprentice” he long ago entered the world of TV and media. He is very much dialed in on all sorts of TV programing – including Christian Programing.
Our gathering was opened by Paula White. Trump initiated contact with her after seeing her preach a message about the power of “Vision” on TV. The friendship with Paula continued as she bought one of his condo units near NY Central Park. This friendship began long before he decided to engage the political arena.
Trump continued, “I was going around the dial last night and ran into “Politically Incorrect.” This is the popular left wing HBO talk show hosted by comedian Bill Maher. “It’s amazing how antagonistic they are about people of faith. It was painful to watch…wasn’t always like this in America” Trump said. Turning to some of the media station owners Donald inquired, “This seems to have been going on for a while hasn’t it?” They agreed.
“It’s open season on Christians in particular” someone added. (Chilling words in light of the shootings in Oregon this week where Christians specifically were targeted to get shot in the head!)
Trump added, “Here in New York, you can’t even find ‘Merry Christmas’ in Macy’s any more. I mean, come on. I love Christmas and I love saying ‘Merry Christmas’…what kind of greeting is ‘Happy Holidays?’ It’s ridiculous. I think we had such a long period of Christian consensus in our culture that we kind of got…spoiled. Is that the right word?”
THEN TRUMP DROPPED THE LINE I WILL NEVER FORGET!
He continued his observation about changes in America. “Every other ideological group in the country has a voice. If you don’t mind me saying so, YOU GUYS HAVE GOTTEN SOFT.” Ouch! That’s the line I won’t forget. It was as I have previously said – vintage Trump. Then in a moment of reflection he added, “I mean, ‘we’ myself included, we’ve had it easy as Christians for a long time in America. That’s been changing.”
What he said next may have been lost on others but it hit me in a particularly striking way. “People who identify themselves as ‘Christian’ make up probably the single largest constituency in the country but there is absolutely no unity, no punch in exercising that power. Not in political consensus or any other area I can see.”
I said to him privately before leaving, “The thing we need to do more than anything is to find a way of taking these 10,000 spokes and connect them into a hub of some sort so that there is a unified voice. Our people here need to work together.” He looked me in the eye and said, “You’re absolutely right. That’s what needs to be done.”
This isn’t his calling, but it should be ours.
HOT TOPICS – Social Unraveling
The increase of persecution and belittling of faith has taken various forms. Someone brought up the troubling aggression of pro LGBT activists targeting Christian small business owners who are harassed and fined for living their values as bakers, photographers, chapel owners and the like.
“I will tell you this. Christians will have a friend in a Trump Presidency.” That was the only reference I recall made to a Trump “Presidency,” but it was important.
Then he added an interesting comment. “There is a role the Christian community has to step up into in this whole conversation. The decision made by the Supreme Court by one vote is the key factor in this shift. That’s the one thing a President has power to do. Appoint judges.”
A wise person once said: “people reveal more by what they don’t say than by what they do say.” Let’s drill down on what Trump, a New Yorker in the hot bed of a trendy high society NY (pro Gay) democratic stronghold was saying and not saying..
Trump was working his way around an issue that Christians would be wise to consider. Too often we want the man or woman we nominate to be the Messiah who rights all cultural wrongs, pushing them into positions on issues we ourselves have failed to make a public case for. When we do that we virtually guarantee their un- electability by miring them in a debate we failed to win.
Both Barak Obama and Hillary Clinton ran as friends of the homosexual agenda, but drew the line at challenging the sanctity of marriage as being defined by a man and a woman. David Axelrod, campaign advisor to candidate Obama, told him he had to suppress his views (lie) on this subject when being interviewed by Rick Warren at Saddleback. Obama was pro “same sex” in sentiment but agreed not to reveal this. Both he and Hillary had to wait until – and get this language – till “a sustained pattern of public persuasion” made it possible for them to come out of the closet on this issue.
HOW CHRISTIANS HINDER CANDIDATES
Christians cannot expect a candidate to single handedly shape the argument they themselves fail to make effectively. This is the practical stuff of making disciples of nations. It involves pro-family movie makers, documentary makers, song writers, bloggers, journalists, educators and media personalities possessing the savvy, wit and persuasive skills to create a new “pattern of public persuasion.” Without this it is impossible for candidates to stand in the gap on the campaign trail. The gap is too wide.
Right now even Preachers sound like politicians on these subjects. Even the Pope avoided defending marriage and addressing the slide form Biblical morality choosing rather to put his eggs into a “global warming,” “immigration” and “no death penalty” left leaning basket.
On this subject, like others, Christians for the most part are preaching to each other. We need to win the battle of PUBLIC persuasion. More to the point, we need to actually show up. You can’t just send in a surrogate politician to fight the Philistine you and I have to take out. Especially when half the Christians are not registered to vote and the half that are registered – don’t show up!
THE BIG QUESTION I get asked: “IS TRUMP A CHRISTIAN?”
Let’s remember, as much as 70% of Americans self-describe as “Christians.” These include Catholics, Presbyterians, Episcopalians and Lutherans. Within the total population 30% say they have encountered Christ in a “Born Again” experience. There are many who believe they are Christians who do not use our language. Are they trying to deceive us? No.
What we should be asking is: “What are the core principles of a Biblical Worldview? Do those principles drive this man? Are his beliefs compatible with mine? Is this affection for the Bible and God and concern for Christians being persecuted a gimmick or a core conviction?”
“Is this a real Christian thing going on or is it a manipulative ruse to get my vote?” My answer is straightforward. Donald Trump is a man whose ego is incapable of pandering to anyone for the sake of votes.
Having said that, he revealed an insight into himself I thought you would find interesting. It happened when he disclosed how he views himself in contrast to Pastors and Clergy. It beckons back to an earlier time in American life when “men of the cloth” were held in higher esteem. Tapping his Bible he said, “Look, while you all were perusing a higher calling I was running around building buildings, and making money. Now I’m catching up.”
FIRST – He considers the work of ministry a “higher calling” than what he was doing when he made his billions. In some ways, this was a humbler admission than most people of wealth and affluence ever make.
SECOND – He senses a need to keep going forward as regards either his understanding of the Bible or his own walk in his calling. Either way, that one sentence says a lot don’t you think?
Donald Trump may be a shrewd negotiator but in matters regarding his faith he was transparent. Why? Because you could tell that he respected the “higher calling” people gathered in that room.
He felt it necessary to explain why he has made standoffish comments about his personal beliefs to others. “Look, when people from Forbes are interviewing me about economics and then want to explore my religious views I just tell them ‘that’s inappropriate, I don’t talk about that in public.’ But I say that because the guy is coming out of left field.” Trump didn’t mind talking to us. He’s not ashamed of anything he believes in, including faith.
DOES TRUMP PRAY?
I could not believe it but one Pastor asked point blank “do you pray?” He hesitated only a moment and then said unapologetically and emphatically “Yes, I do.”
Trump is multifaceted but not complex. He is genuine in his simplicity about seeking to honor God. He does not have the depth on this subject to be complicated like a Mario Cuomo or Jimmy Carter. Again he reminds me of Patton, when asked if it was true that he prayed, the controversial General responded gruffly, “every Goddamned day!” I don’t think Trump is a choirboy, but I do believe he is genuine.
My sense is that this is a growing conversation inside his own heart as he feels the weight of what he is stepping into. In this sense he reminds me of another historical character; Lincoln – a man revivalists were dubious about because he did not attend church regularly in Springfield Illinois. Yet a man who had a center of gravity more aligned with God’s principles then the pious men he was running against, like Samuel Chase.
What Lincoln had was a respect for the Bible and a deposit of Christian values from his Mother. Curiously, Donald Trump’s Bible was given to him in 1955 – with a personal note from his Mother on the inside cover. It was this Bible he tapped while talking to us.
TRUMP IS GROWING IN HIS UNDERSTANDING – MAYBE IT’S TIME WE GROW TOO.
It’s time we stopped thinking like adolescents when it comes to the intersection of the Bible, politics, and the business of culture shaping. Let’s face it, all our spirituality has not had much of a national effect. We have been overly simplistic in our formulas for world changing – and as a result, changed very little outside of our own back yards. The hour is late and these are dangerous times. Figures like Patton, Churchill and Lincoln do not step out of Cathedrals onto the stage of history, yet we canonize them when they are gone. Only in retrospect do we see the instruments raised up by God to meet a singular crisis.
DISCLAIMER: If I sound overly pro Trump let me qualify this by saying, there are several brilliant candidates on the Republican bench. Many are real bone fide Christians. I am not dismissive of any of them. But only one of them invited me to check them out. It just so happens it is the one I most wanted to investigate. I’ve felt from the beginning that God is doing something thru this man. But it’s early in the season still (So don’t start beating up on me and “unliking” me yet.)
Which leads to a concept that will set you free! How do you really know who God is raising up?
“Common Grace” is the term used by Reformed Theologians (first introduced to me by Chuck Colson) as it describes the grace of God that comes down upon a fallen world to keep in check the forces of anarchy and the inclination of sinful man to self-destruct. It is the grace that comes upon all (Christian and non Christian) to help them affirm the good and resist the bad, personally, and in institutions.
“COMMON GRACE” RAISES UP UNPREDICTABLE VESSELS
Trump falls into this category. These are men and women who the hand of Providence serves up. These are people of singular strengths and convictions. Like Churchill they can say their entire life was a preparation for some crucible in history they walked into. I think America is due for a shaking. As said, into this category fall leaders like Churchill, Margaret Thatcher, Abraham Lincoln and even Reagan (who was the point person of Evangelicals but came to power outside their ranks.) All of them individuals who were not the darling or favorite of contemporary Christians. Preachers thought Lincoln to be a skeptic, they stumbled over Winston’s cigars and balked at Reagan’s earlier affiliation with Democrats and his divorce and children from two marriages.
None of these vessels of destiny rose through the ranks of Evangelicals – yet each of them ended up as a defender of Christian values. Churchill himself framed the contest with Hitler as a “battle for Christian civilization” and insisted “Onward Christian Soldiers” be sung on board the ship he and Roosevelt met to form their alliance against the Axis powers. Lincoln quoted the Bible more than any President yet refused to join any established church. In this sense they were the standard bearer for Christian civilization.
Or even more to the point: “Common Grace” changes our thinking about the question we need to ask.
Here is a wild proposition. Don’t ask “WHO IS THE MOST CHRISTIAN CANDIDATE?” instead ask, “WHO IS THE ONE ANOINTED FOR THE TASK?”
Think I’m crazy? Check this out.
“CYRUS MY ANOINTED”
Nearly 150 years before Cyrus’ birth, God declared through the prophet Isaiah that a foreign man, a non Jew named “Cyrus” would be the anointed shepherd of his people and rebuild Jerusalem.
Regarding Cyrus: Isaiah 45:1-13
“This says the Lord TO HIS ANOINTED, to Cyrus, whom I have seized by the right, to subdue nations before him. Yes, I will open the loins of kings, to open the two-leaved doors before him, and the gates shall not be shut. I will go before you and make hills level; I will tear apart the bronze doors and cut the iron bars in two.”
He wasn’t a Jew and he wasn’t from the line of David, but God elevated this foreigner and called him “my anointed.”
The word “anointed” in Hebrew is: mashiyach [maw-shee’-akh]), which denotes a person SPECIFICALLY CHOSEN and SET APART for a SPECIFIC TASK. Notice also that God promised to intervene and help Cyrus conquer many nations (i.e., make many hills level- bring things down to size).
Cyrus ended up becoming a king who protected and advanced God’s purposes for His people better than any Hebrew.
The same is true of “Darius” the Mede, (612 B.C.) who was put into office after angelic warfare occurred to see him succeed.
Daniel wrote about a conversation he had with an angel who told the Prophet:
“I TOOK MY STAND” to support Darius… The angel said: “And in the first year of Darius the Mede, I took my stand to support and protect him” (Daniel 1:11).
Evidently there is spiritual warfare over secular as well as religious appointments. Why? Because God raises up leaders for the sake of His people.
(Tomorrow I will share something that Trump did while we prayed for him. It was revealing.)
My take is this – Donald Trump is more prophetic than people think. There is a Cyrus anointing on this man. He is like a Reformer in secular garb. I don’t see his work being done quickly, but who knows? My advice is to be careful not to dismiss his comments and policy proposals based on the hysterical response of the media and establishment elites. If he is anointed as Gods wrecking ball to political correctness, expect him to be lampooned by Hell on SNL and every other flaming liberal on the East and West coast. Trump is driving the establishment (and their demons) crazy because he does not bow to their altars or pay homage to their deities. They rage because they cannot control him.
I stand by my original (and controversial) pronouncement that Kim Clement and I made from the beginning: Donald Trump is GOD’S TRUMPET.
I like him, and enjoy his style, even when he appears to be blowing his own horn.
TOMORROW FINAL INSTALLMENT (pt.3)
– TRUMP and BEN CARSON
– TRUMP THOUGHTS ON V.P. ROLE
– MY words to Donald Trump… a hidden key to a Republican Victory
So, what do you think?