TruNews, and I have no idea who they are, is reporting that Dr. James Dobson, of Focus on the Family fame, reported that Donald Trump has trusted in Christ and that we should all be praying for him.
Well, no, he hasn’t exactly trusted in Christ for salvation. Dr. Dobson said: “He did accept a relationship with Christ, I know the person who led him to Christ, and that’s fairly recent.”
Under the direction of scripture, which calls for 2 or 3 credible witnesses, let’s just put the breaks on for a moment. First off, accepting a relationship with Jesus Christ does NOT lead to salvation. Trusting in Christ for salvation, leads to salvation. Please, hear me out on this. This is important. Jesus did not die on the cross so that we could have a relationship with Him or the Father. He died on the cross because we are sinners in need of forgiveness, and who need to have God’s wrath towards us satisfied. So, for us to be saved, we must first understand that we are sinners, and know that we are justly deserving of God’s eternal damnation.
Accepting a relationship with Christ, can completely ignore this reality and give Trump a false hope, in a false Jesus. Remember, words mean things. We cannot change the necessities of the gospel with terms like relationships, and asking Jesus into our hearts, without consequences. In fact, remember what Jesus said about salvation: “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God (John 3:5).” A relationship does not bring about the new birth, only the Spirit can do that, and that comes through the preaching of the Word of God. I’m sure that Trump had an emotional experience with the evangelicals that he was courting. But has he been born again? Let’s wait and see if he bears any fruit.
Secondly, why does Dr. Dobson have to run to a microphone in order to make this statement? Dobson does say that Trump is a “baby Christian,” which is true if he is truly saved. But why put the spotlight on him? He is not ready to even be called a Christian yet. Has he been baptized? Has he been catechized? Has he been instructed at all? Has he joined a church where the gospel is faithfully preached? These are all the things that baby Christians need in order to survive and grow to mature Christians. Otherwise, they can be stamped out, or eaten up by the crows (Luke 8:5).
This seems more like grandstanding on the part of Dobson, than conversion on the part of Trump. Dobson has made a career on grandstanding and fear mongering, so I am hesitant to trust him. And, I must point out, that it would not be beyond Trump to feign becoming a Christian in order to secure the evangelical vote. He is smart enough to know that he needs evangelicals in his camp in order to beat Hillary. Given that, he would be willing to do, and say whatever is necessary to achieve his goals. Lots of candidates do that. What bothers me is that so many evangelicals are prone to follow along, believing that their man is actually a Christian when he makes the claim, never mind the lack of tangible fruit.
Remember, that the early church was very hesitant to accept Saul/Paul into their midst when he was converted. Should we not be just as cautious as they were?
Third, Dr. Dobson does mention that Trump will probably get some things wrong for a while, just like Paul did when he was still Saul. All new believers do. I remember asking about the books of I and II Epistles, and being laughed at by a fellow Christian.
The difference is that Saul/Paul was not immediately ushered into the family of God, and thrust into the limelight of Big Evangelical. Paul was an extraordinary case, in that he knew the Old Testament better than anyone of his day. He was grounded in the word of God. He also spent three years studying the Old Testament in light of the truth of the gospel before going to preach. This is one of the many reasons Jesus called Paul. He had the perfect training, upbringing and zeal for the role of an apostle. I know that Dobson was trying to shield Trump from early criticism in his “relationship,” but the comparison is really bad, kind of like comparing an apple to pizza.
Given all this, given the nature of politics, given the nature of grandstanding psychologists, given the nature of Big Evangelical, I’m not buying the claim of Trump’s conversion. He may have a relationship with a Jesus of sorts. But there is no way to tell if he is truly born again.
Now if Trump were to come out on his own, being led by the Spirit, and said something to the effect of, “Look, Lord, I give half of my goods to the poor; and if I have taken anything from anyone by false accusation, I restore fourfold,” like Zaccaeus did in Luke 19, then I might be willing to consider it.