Donald Trump is officially the President of the United States. Typing that still seems unreal and unbelievable. As we explore the early days of his administration let us explore how a Christian ought to approach the Trump administration.
1. Preach the Gospel
The most important work we can be engage in advancing the Kingdom of God by preaching the gospel of Christ. This is our highest calling and all that follows flows from this.
We serve our community and nation best when we love our God the most. Faithful to the gospel is, I believe, the only hope for our great nation. President Trump, like all his predecessors, is a poor savior. He will fail to deliver on all of his campaign promises. Christ, however, is forever faithful and calls on us to walk in the light as he is the Light.
As such let us continue the work of the gospel. Who occupies the nation’s highest office has no effect on the mission of the church as the history of the church and present spread of Christianity even in hostile nations proves. In order to do so we must learn to not confuse the gospel with Republicanism, Trumpism, or Americanism. Let the gospel be saturated with Jesus and Jesus alone. He alone saves.
2. Pray for Our Elected Leaders
Regardless of who our leaders are, we are commanded to pray for them. Scripture is clear to this regard. Both Peter and Paul encourage their Christian audience to make supplication for Caesar even though he was one of the most godless, vile, and violent men of his day. Furthermore, it was this Caesar, Nero, who (according to tradition) had both apostles executed and other Christians tortured and killed on false pretenses. Regardless of what you may judge about President Trump, he is no Nero and Scripture demands we pray for him.
One of the best models I have come across in this regard comes from the pen of Martin Luther. In his book A Simple Way to Pray, he models a prayer by which we pray (1) for the salvation of the lost, (2) the protection of the innocent, and (3) the judgment of the wicked. Such a prayer reminds us of the role the church plays in society and the important role the state plays. God does use the state to protect the innocent and to judge the wicked and thus let us pray that God will grant our elected officials the wisdom necessary to fulfill their office.
One helpful ministry in this regard is pray1tim2.org which allows you to pray for state and national leaders. You can search by your state.
3. Promote Gospel Justice
It remains too common for many Christians to presume they can take a break from advancing the gospel and gospel causes while “their candidate” is in office. From my perspective, Donald Trump is no representative of orthodox Christianity. Nevertheless, I fear that many will think we will have to work less in the broader culture because “our guy(s)” is in power. That is not the case.
It is not the responsibility of a politician to promote Christianity and its message but the church. No administration will be able to pull back the depravity of the culture of death or the confusion of our oversexualized culture or increasing darkness. The church must advance regardless of who sits behind the Resolute Desk.
The church must continue to promote a robust pro-life message that encompasses every stage of life from conception to burial. We must continue to model and promote gospel marriages. We must continue to defend and promote religious liberty for all and not just for us. We must continue to articulate our belief that everyone is made in the image of God including our neighbors, our enemies, the unborn, the immigrant, the prisoner, the poor, and the rest.
This work will require speaking prophetically to both the culture and to elected officials including the President. Trump is bombastic and lacks moral character. As such we must speak against any verbal or political abuse of others for our loyalty is with Christ not Republicanism.
4. Prepare For the End
Scripture exhorts believes to pray “Come Lord Jesus quickly!” Such a prayer, first, reminds us that our citizenship is in heaven. Certainly the command to love our neighbor compels us into the culture and the public square (see the previous point), ultimately we must remember that our hope does not lie here but in Christ.
Secondly, preparing for the imminent return of Christ draws us to greater holiness today. Faith that Christ is coming, and coming soon, is a hope with present realities. Let our lives reflect it.
Finally, being heavenly minded makes us earthly good contrary to what others may say. CS Lewis made this point brilliantly when he wrote in Mere Christianity:
A continual looking forward to the eternal world is not (as some modern people think) a form of escapism or wishful thinking, but one of the things a Christian is meant to do. It does not mean that we are to leave the present world as it is. If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were just those who thought most of the next. The Apostles themselves, who set on foot the conversion of the Roman Empire, the great men who built up the Middle Ages, the English Evangelicals who abolished the Slave Trade, all left their mark on Earth, precisely because their minds were occupied with Heaven. It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this. Aim at Heaven and you will get earth “thrown in:” aim at earth and you will get neither.
So let us look to heaven so we can get earth thrown in.
Though I have made some initial predictions of what a Trump presidency will look like, our hope should never be in princes or presidents. Let our hope rest solely in Christ who reigns from the right hand of God the Father.