Donald Trump Is a Scam. Evangelical Voters Should Back Away (CP Editorial)


Editors’ Note: The Christian Post has not taken a position on a political candidate before today. We are making an exception because Trump is exceptionally bad and claims to speak for and represent the interests of evangelicals.

We the senior editors of The Christian Post encourage our readers to back away from Donald Trump.

As the most popular evangelical news website in the United States and the world, we feel compelled by our moral responsibility to our readers to make clear that Donald Trump does not represent the interests of evangelicals and would be a dangerous leader for our country.

Trump claims to be a Christian, yet says he has never asked for forgiveness.

While God, in His wondrous creativity, has drawn people to Himself through the saving grace of Jesus Christ in many different ways, there are certain non-negotiable actions needed to become a Christian: One must repent of their sins and follow Christ as Lord and Savior. Trump doesn’t talk this way, even when urged to.

Further, his words and actions do not demonstrate the “fruit of the spirit.”

Trump is a misogynist and philanderer. He demeans women and minorities. His preferred forms of communication are insults, obscenities and untruths. While Christians have been guilty of all of these, we, unlike Trump, acknowledge our sins, ask for forgiveness and seek restitution with the aid of the Holy Spirit and our community of believers.

On Sunday, Trump’s apparent reluctance to disavow David Duke until late in the day was extremely distasteful. The Ku Klux Klan is an evil, unholy movement representing the worst of America. Anyone who will not immediately denounce their support is unfit to be president.

Trump claims he will “protect Christians.” We already have a Protector, and He is not Trump.

The grievances of Trump’s supporters are legitimate. Politicians for too long have promised to represent the best interests of all Americans before an election, only to represent the interest of their cronies after the election. But Trump’s followers are being fooled into believing that he can help them.

Trump is promising many things that he cannot possibly deliver, but the most frightening part is Trump’s stated willingness to ignore the authority of the Supreme Court, Congress and the U.S. Constitution if he were to become president.

Trump has been surrounded by controversy for decades because of his untruthfulness, questionable business practices, reported association with organized crime, and abrupt changes in fundamental positions. Many of these controversies involve defrauding the working class and decisions that compromised American workers. He has taken a political position both pro and con on virtually every subject and major political party. This should give evangelicals great pause and concern about supporting such a mercurial and chameleon-like candidate. Past performance is the best predictor of future behavior.

Trump said he wants to make it easier to sue newspapers that criticize him. When it was pointed out to him Sunday that he would have to amend the Constitution’s freedom of speech and freedom of press clauses, Trump was unmoved, simply noting that England has weaker protections for the press.

Many evangelicals, including our friends, have criticized Trump on our own opinion page and elsewhere, such as Matt Barber, Dr. Michael Brown, Kristi Burton Brown, Susan Stamper Brown, Rev. Mark Creech, Wallace Henley, E.W. Jackson, Max Lucado, Dr. Russell Moore and Rep. Reid Ribble. If Trump were to become president we fear he would use the levers of government power to silence them and others.

We are already concerned about the expansion of executive power to dangerous and unconstitutional extremes in the current and previous administrations. Plus, in just the past year we have seen Christians put out of business and jailed for living according to the dictates of their faith.

Trump, an admirer of Vladimir Putin and other dictatorial leaders, may claim to be your friend and protector now, but as his history indicates, without your full support he will turn on you, and use whatever power is within his means to punish you.

This is a critical time in American history and we call on all Christians to pray for personal repentance, divine forgiveness and spiritual awakening for our nation. It is not the time for Donald Trump.
Read more at http://www.christianpost.com/news/donald-trump-scam-evangelical-voters-back-away-cp-editorial-158813/#r6ezrgYpYkLLuL7C.99

Read more at http://www.christianpost.com/news/donald-trump-scam-evangelical-voters-back-away-cp-editorial-158813/#cyBgffzJQhIJuibY.99

Donald Trump Is a Scam. Evangelical Voters Should Back Away (CP Editorial)


(PHOTO: REUTERS/RANDALL HILL)

U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at a rally at the Sumter Civic Center in Sumter, South Carolina, February 17, 2016.

Editors’ Note: The Christian Post has not taken a position on a political candidate before today. We are making an exception because Trump is exceptionally bad and claims to speak for and represent the interests of evangelicals.

We the senior editors of The Christian Post encourage our readers to back away from Donald Trump.

As the most popular evangelical news website in the United States and the world, we feel compelled by our moral responsibility to our readers to make clear that Donald Trump does not represent the interests of evangelicals and would be a dangerous leader for our country.

Trump claims to be a Christian, yet says he has never asked for forgiveness.

While God, in His wondrous creativity, has drawn people to Himself through the saving grace of Jesus Christ in many different ways, there are certain non-negotiable actions needed to become a Christian: One must repent of their sins and follow Christ as Lord and Savior. Trump doesn’t talk this way, even when urged to.

Further, his words and actions do not demonstrate the “fruit of the spirit.”

Trump is a misogynist and philanderer. He demeans women and minorities. His preferred forms of communication are insults, obscenities and untruths. While Christians have been guilty of all of these, we, unlike Trump, acknowledge our sins, ask for forgiveness and seek restitution with the aid of the Holy Spirit and our community of believers.

On Sunday, Trump’s apparent reluctance to disavow David Duke until late in the day was extremely distasteful. The Ku Klux Klan is an evil, unholy movement representing the worst of America. Anyone who will not immediately denounce their support is unfit to be president.

Trump claims he will “protect Christians.” We already have a Protector, and He is not Trump.

The grievances of Trump’s supporters are legitimate. Politicians for too long have promised to represent the best interests of all Americans before an election, only to represent the interest of their cronies after the election. But Trump’s followers are being fooled into believing that he can help them.

Trump is promising many things that he cannot possibly deliver, but the most frightening part is Trump’s stated willingness to ignore the authority of the Supreme Court, Congress and the U.S. Constitution if he were to become president.

Trump has been surrounded by controversy for decades because of his untruthfulness, questionable business practices, reported association with organized crime, and abrupt changes in fundamental positions. Many of these controversies involve defrauding the working class and decisions that compromised American workers. He has taken a political position both pro and con on virtually every subject and major political party. This should give evangelicals great pause and concern about supporting such a mercurial and chameleon-like candidate. Past performance is the best predictor of future behavior.

Trump said he wants to make it easier to sue newspapers that criticize him. When it was pointed out to him Sunday that he would have to amend the Constitution’s freedom of speech and freedom of press clauses, Trump was unmoved, simply noting that England has weaker protections for the press.

Many evangelicals, including our friends, have criticized Trump on our own opinion page and elsewhere, such as Matt Barber, Dr. Michael Brown, Kristi Burton Brown, Susan Stamper Brown, Rev. Mark Creech, Wallace Henley, E.W. Jackson, Max Lucado, Dr. Russell Moore and Rep. Reid Ribble. If Trump were to become president we fear he would use the levers of government power to silence them and others.

We are already concerned about the expansion of executive power to dangerous and unconstitutional extremes in the current and previous administrations. Plus, in just the past year we have seen Christians put out of business and jailed for living according to the dictates of their faith.

Trump, an admirer of Vladimir Putin and other dictatorial leaders, may claim to be your friend and protector now, but as his history indicates, without your full support he will turn on you, and use whatever power is within his means to punish you.

This is a critical time in American history and we call on all Christians to pray for personal repentance, divine forgiveness and spiritual awakening for our nation. It is not the time for Donald Trump.
Read more at http://www.christianpost.com/news/donald-trump-scam-evangelical-voters-back-away-cp-editorial-158813/#AkZ9wVYjirWOMaIp.99

Read more at http://www.christianpost.com/news/donald-trump-scam-evangelical-voters-back-away-cp-editorial-158813/#VIRWTtDOzqdPMWzu.99

Decency for President – by Max Lucado


NOTE: This is an updated version of the blog originally posted 2/24/16. This expanded version was published 2/26/16 by the Washington Post.

As the father of three daughters, I reserved the right to interview their dates. Seemed only fair to me. After all, my wife and I’d spent 16 or 17 years feeding them, dressing them, funding braces, and driving them to volleyball tournaments and piano recitals. A five-minute face-to-face with the guy was a fair expectation. I was entrusting the love of my life to him. For the next few hours, she would be dependent upon his ability to drive a car, avoid the bad crowds, and stay sober. I wanted to know if he could do it. I wanted to know if he was decent.

This was my word: “decent.” Did he behave in a decent manner? Would he treat my daughter with kindness and respect? Could he be trusted to bring her home on time? In his language, actions, and decisions, would he be a decent guy?

Decency mattered to me as a dad.

Decency matters to you. We take note of the person who pays their debts. We appreciate the physician who takes time to listen. When the husband honors his wedding vows, when the teacher makes time for the struggling student, when the employee refuses to gossip about her co-worker, when the losing team congratulates the winning team, we can characterize their behavior with the word decent.

We appreciate decency. We applaud decency. We teach decency. We seek to develop decency. Decency matters, right?

Then why isn’t decency doing better in the presidential race?

The leading Republican candidate to be the next leader of the free world would not pass my decency interview. I’d send him away. I’d tell my daughter to stay home. I wouldn’t entrust her to his care.

I don’t know Mr. Trump. But I’ve been chagrined at his antics. He ridiculed a war hero. He made a mockery of a reporter’s menstrual cycle. He made fun of a disabled reporter. He referred to the former first lady, Barbara Bush as “mommy,” and belittled Jeb Bush for bringing her on the campaign trail. He routinely calls people “stupid,” and “dummy.”1 One writer catalogued sixty-four occasions that he called someone “loser.”2 These were not off-line, backstage, overheard, not-to-be-repeated comments. They were publicly and intentionally tweeted, recorded, and presented.

Such insensitivities wouldn’t be acceptable even for a middle school student body election. But for the Oval Office? And to do so while brandishing a Bible and boasting of his Christian faith?

I have no inside track on the intricacies of a presidential campaign. I’m a pastor. I don’t endorse candidates or place bumper stickers on my car. But I am protective of the Christian faith. If a public personality calls on Christ one day and calls someone a “bimbo” the next, is something not awry? And to do so, not once, but repeatedly? Unrepentantly? Unapologetically? Can we not expect a tone that would set a good example for our children? We stand against bullying in schools. Shouldn’t we do the same in presidential politics?

Could concerns not be raised about other Christian candidates? Absolutely. But the concern of this article is not policy, but tone and decorum. When it comes to language, Mr. Trump is in a league of his own. “It is out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks,” Jesus said.3 Let speech befit the call. We, as Christians, would do well to summon any Christian leader to a higher standard. This includes pastors (especially this one), teachers, coaches and, by all means, presidential candidates.

All of them.

The stock explanation for Mr. Trump’s success is this: he has tapped into the anger of the American people. As one man said, “We are voting with our middle finger.” Sounds more like a comment for a gang-fight than a presidential election. Anger-fueled reactions have caused trouble ever since Cain was angry at Abel.

We can only hope, and pray, for a return to verbal decency. Perhaps Mr. Trump will better manage his comments. (Worthy of a prayer, for sure.) Or, perhaps the American public will remember the key role of the president: to be the face of America. When he/she speaks, he/she speaks for us. Whether we agree or disagree with the policies of the president, do we not hope that they speak in a way that is consistent with the status of the office?

As far as I remember, I never turned away one of my daughter’s dates. They weren’t perfect, but they were decent fellows. That was all I could ask.

It seems that we should ask the same.

©Max Lucado
February 26, 2016

___________________________________

1http://presidential-candidates.insidegov.com/stories/5187/23-ridiculously-offensive-donald-trump-quotes
http://www.cnn.com/2015/08/08/politics/donald-trump-cnn-megyn-kelly-comment/index.html
http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2015/11/26/trump-blasted-mocking-disabled-reporter/76409418
http://www.businessinsider.com/donald-trump-jeb-barbara-bush-mommy-2016-2
https://www.bostonglobe.com/news/politics/2015/11/13/how-stupid-are-people-iowa-trump-asks-while-blasting
2http://www/macleans.ca/news/world/the-definitie-list-of-every=person-donald-trump-has-called-a-loser/
http://www.theverge.com/tldr/2015/8/4/9096781/donald-trump-dummy
3Luke 6:45

Worried Enough to Pray?


by Max Lucado
Last week’s blog struck a nerve. I wrote a piece entitled “Decency for President.” The premise was a simple one. Shouldn’t a presidential candidate who claims to be Christian talk like one? When a candidate waves a Bible in one speech and calls a reporter “bimbo” in the next, isn’t something awry? Specifically, when Donald Trump insists that he is a Christian (“a good Christian” to use his descriptor) and then blasts, belittles, and denigrates everyone from Barbara Bush to John McCain to Megyn Kelly, shouldn’t we speak up?

If the candidate is not a Christian, then I have no right to speak. But if the candidate does what Trump has done, wave a Bible and attempt to quote from it, then we, his fellow Christians need to call him to at least a modicum of Christian behavior, right?

Again, I struck a nerve. More than three million of you read the article in the first 36 hours! Thousands of you weighed in with your comments. They were fascinating to read. (Not all of them pleasant to read, mind you. The dozens of you who told me to stick to the pulpit and stop meddling in politics– I get it. By the way, I’d like to invite you to attend our services. My upcoming message is “Kindness”.) Detractors notwithstanding, your comments were heartfelt and passionate.

I detected a few themes.

You have a deep sense of love for our country. Patriotism oozed through your words. You cherish the uniqueness and wonder of the USA. You have varying opinions regarding leadership style, role of government, and political strategy. But when it comes to loving the country, you are unanimously off the charts.

You have an allergy to “convenient” Christians. You resist people who don the Christian title at convenient opportunities (i.e., presidential campaigns). You would prefer the candidate make no mention of faith rather than leave the appearance of a borrowed faith that will be returned to the lender after the election.

You are concerned, profoundly concerned, about the future of our country. The debt. Immorality. National security. The role of the Supreme Court. Immigration. Religious liberty. The list is as long as the worries are deep.

So where does this leave us? When a person treasures the country, but has trepidation about its future, what is the best course of action?

Elijah can weigh in on this question.

He lived during one of the darkest days in the history of Israel. The Northern Kingdom had 19 kings, each one of whom was evil. Hope had boarded the last train and optimism the final flight. The leaders were corrupt and the hearts of the people were cold. But comets are most visible against the black sky. And in the midst of the darkness, a fiery comet by the name of Elijah appeared.

The name Elijah means, “My God is Jehovah.” And he lived up to his name. He appeared in the throne room of evil King Ahab with a weather report. “‘As the LORD, the God of Israel, lives, whom I serve, there will be neither dew nor rain in the next few years except at my word’” (1 Kings 17:1).

Elijah’s attack was calibrated. Baal was the fertility god of the pagans, the god to whom they looked for rain and fertile fields. Elijah called for a showdown: the true God of Israel against the false god of the pagans. How could Elijah be so confident of the impending drought? Because he had prayed.

Eight centuries later the prayers of Elijah were used as a model.

“The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. Elijah was a human being, even as we are. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops” (James 5:16-18).

James was impressed that a prayer of such power came from a person so common. Elijah was “a human being” but his prayers were heard because he prayed earnestly. This was no casual prayer, comfortable prayer, but a radical prayer. “Do whatever it takes, Lord,” Elijah begged, “even if that means no water.”

What happened next is one of the greatest stories in the Bible. Elijah told the 450 prophets of Baal: You get a bull, I’ll get a bull. You build an altar, I’ll build an altar. You ask your god to send fire; I’ll ask my God to send fire. The God who answers by fire is the true God.

The prophets of Baal agreed and went first.

“At noon Elijah began to taunt them. ‘Shout louder!’ he said. ‘Surely he is a god! Perhaps he is deep in thought, or busy, or traveling. Maybe he is sleeping and must be awakened.’

“So they shouted louder and slashed themselves with swords and spears, as was their custom, until their blood flowed. Midday passed, and they continued their frantic prophesying until the time for the evening sacrifice. But there was no response, no one answered, no one paid attention” (1 Kings 18:27-29).

(Elijah would have flunked a course in diplomacy.) Though the prophets cut themselves and raved all afternoon, nothing happened. Finally Elijah asked for his turn.

“Then Elijah said to all the people, ‘Come here to me.’ They came to him, and he repaired the altar of the LORD, which had been torn down. Elijah took twelve stones, one for each of the tribes descended from Jacob, to whom the word of the LORD had come, saying, ‘Your name shall be Israel’” (1 Kings 18:30-31).

Elijah poured four jugs of water (remember, this was a time of drought) over the altar three times. Then Elijah prayed.

“LORD, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, let it be known today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant and have done all these things at your command.   Answer me, LORD, answer me, so these people will know that you, LORD, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again” (1 Kings 18:36-37).

Note how quickly and dramatically God answered.

“Then the fire of the LORD fell and burned up the sacrifice, the wood, the stones and the soil, and also licked up the water in the trench. When all the people saw this, they fell prostrate and cried, ‘The LORD—he is God! The LORD—he is God!’” (1 Kings 18:38-39).

“Pow!” the altar was ablaze. God delighted in and answered Elijah’s prayer. God delights in and answers our prayers as well.

Let’s start a fire, shall we?

If your responses to my blog are any indication, you are anxious. You love this country, yet you are troubled about the future. You wonder what the future holds and what we can do. Elijah’s story provides the answer. We can pray. We can offer earnest, passionate prayers.

It’s time to turn our concerns into a unified prayer. Let’s join our hearts and invite God to do again what he did then; demonstrate His power. Super Tuesday, March 1, is the perfect day for us to step into the presence of God.

Dear Lord,

You outrank any leader. You hold sway over every office. Greater is the occupant of Heaven’s throne than the occupant of the White House.

You have been good to this country. You have blessed us in spite of our sin and guarded us in spite of our rebellion.

We unite our hearts in one prayer. Let your kingdom come. Let your will be done. Please, speak through the electoral process to reveal your leader.

This we pray in the name of Jesus,

Amen

© Max Lucado
February 29, 2016

God’s Agape Love


Paul reminded the church at Corinth the kind of love Christ offers to us– Agape love that “bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things.” Don’t we need the same prescription today? Don’t groups still fight with each other? Don’t we flirt with those we shouldn’t? Aren’t we sometimes quiet when we should speak?

Someday there will be a community where everyone behaves and no one complains. But it won’t be this side of heaven. So till then we reason, we confront, and we teach. But most of all we love. Such love isn’t easy. Not even for Jesus. Listen to his frustration in Mark 9:19: “You people have no faith. How long must I stay with you? How long must I put up with you? How long? Until it kills me!  Jesus bore all things, believed all things, hoped all things, and endured all things! Even the cross.

From A Love Worth Giving
A-Love-Worth-Giving

Loving Like God Loves


 

Need more patience? Is generosity an elusive virtue? Having trouble putting up with ungrateful relatives or cranky neighbors? God puts up with you when you act the same.

Luke 6:35 says, “But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back.” Can’t we love like this? Not without God’s help we can’t. Our relationships need more than a social gesture. Some of our friends need a flood of tears. Our children need to be covered in the oil of our love.

But if we haven’t received these things ourselves, how can we give them to others? Jeremiah 17:9 reminds us that apart from God, “the heart is deceitful about all things.” We need help from an outside source. A transfusion. Would we love as God loves? Then we start by receiving God’s love!

~ Max Lucado

From A Love Worth Giving
A-Love-Worth-Giving

The Lost Art of Listening


Incourage.Me

Lisa-Jo Baker // incourage.me

I was listening to a podcast recently by two of my favorite human beings — Emily P. Freeman of Chatting at the Sky and Myquillyn Smith of The Nesting Place (this podcast is called, Hope*Ologie and I recommend it as a sort of Vitamin D for the soul). Anyway, they were each taking a turn answering listener questions but soon discovered that while one was sharing their answer the other was inevitably not listening because they were too busy trying to think up their own answer.

It made me laugh.

It made them laugh.

Listening to friends laughing while you’re folding laundry is a great way to start a week.

But it got me thinking.

Because some days I think friendship feels like that — one person sharing and another person thinking about what they’re going to say. Instead of listening to what’s being said.

Some days a friend is trying to share and instead of laying down all the things we’re mentally fiddling around with and focusing our heads, hearts, eyes, and mouths at our friend, we’re actually preoccupied with a sort of mental gymnastics planning what WE want to say next.

Sometimes I imagine those conversations like this:

Friend: Gah, I’m so sad today. I feel stupid and dumb at my job, and there’s this weird nagging loneliness I can’t seem to shake.

Me: (internally thinking: Oh man, I know EXACTLY how that feels — this week has been the WORST. Just wait till I tell her about how I blew that deadline and how I’m sure my boss thinks I’m stupid and why won’t my kids go to bed on time anymore.)

Friend takes a breath: —-

Me: Oh man, I know EXACTLY how that feels — this week has been the WORST. Just wait till I tell you about how I blew that deadline and how I’m sure my boss thinks I’m stupid and why won’t my kids go to bed on time anymore.

Friend: (stranded and without a way to steer the conversation back to the encouragement they so desperately need just feels even lonelier instead).

The thing is, sometimes it’s not our turn to talk.

“Lead with your ears, follow up with your tongue, and let anger straggle along in the rear.” {James 1: 19-21, MSG}

Sometimes, listening is the most powerful gift we can give a friend. Especially when they’re trying to share something that feels vulnerable to them or that feels vulnerable to us — for example, when they feel misunderstood and they’re trying to tell us about it.

912015_Lisa-Jo_Baker_picnic table with friends

Because sometimes our determination to speak before we’re properly done listening is an act of self-defense. We load our responses, our arguments, and our words up in front of us to block out what’s being said and lob our own point of view out into the conversation instead.

Nothing will shut down true communication faster.

But nothing will disarm a friend more than the grace you grant them when you listen with palms up and walls down — inviting their hurt or their joy, their exhaustion or their delight, their fear or their fun, into your own self so you can understand it from the inside out.

Nothing is more powerful than giving someone the gift of truly hearing them without tagging on your own conditions, explanations, or justifications.

Here are three easy ways to put this into practice:

1. Listen to the whole story before you start formulating a response.

2. Ask follow-up questions.

3. Repeat the key parts of what you heard, empathizing with them.

Question for you: What makes you feel truly heard? Let’s crowd-source some of the best ways we can revive the lost art of listening well.