|From the TeachingtheWord Bible Knowledgebase|
Donald Trump likely has heard false gospels from members of his "evangelical advisory board," but he has heard the genuine Gospel at least once.
December 14, 2016 - This past Saturday my wife and I attended a Christmas piano recital in which one of our nephews took part. On the way home, we happened to stop for gasoline at a convenience store just a few hundred feet from the end of a runway at Baltimore-Washington International Airport. As I was pumping gas, President-elect Donald Trump's plane descended directly in front of us and landed. Soon traffic was blocked off, and we had to wait for his motorcade to pass.
According to a documentary film Trump's private plane, a modified Boeing 757, is a work of art on the inside after the fashion of its billionaire owner - lush carpeting, leather-upholstered seats, brushed suede leather on the walls, mahogany tables, and enough gold to cover the exterior of a Greyhound bus. According to the documentary, at one point Mr. Trump had a section of flooring in the plane's galley replaced because a seam running down the middle of it "offended his sense of perfection." As Mr. Trump himself commented in the documentary, "I want everything about the plane to be perfect."
Typical of Fallen Man
How typical that is of fallen man. Many of us, rich or poor, want things or the events of life to be "perfect" according to our fallible standards. But we fail to apply even such an imperfect standard of perfection to ourselves. Far less do we understand the perfection of God - His holiness - and all that this entails and demands:
For I am the LORD your God. You shall therefore consecrate yourselves, and you shall be holy; for I am holy. (Leviticus 11:44)
Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin.... For there is no difference; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God... (Romans 3:19-20, 22-23)
Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned. (Romans 5:12)
The President-Elect's Great Need
Regardless of his wealth and power, Donald Trump is in the same position as the rest of us in the eyes of God: He is a fallen son of Adam who needs salvation. He is thrice married and twice divorced, and admits to many other illicit liaisons over the course of his life. His tactics in the 2016 presidential campaign were often sinful. Mr. Trump has said that he believes in God, but has made conflicting statements on the question of whether or not he needs, much less seeks, God's forgiveness.
Claims of Conversion
Both before and after the November 8th election I preached at churches where, while leading in prayer, I led the congregation in petitioning the Lord for Mr. Trump's salvation. On one occasion a young man came up to me afterward and said, "Didn't you know Donald Trump is a Christian? He prayed the prayer of faith with James Dobson." On another occasion, someone said the other person involved was Paula White. Both of these people are members of Mr. Trump's "Evangelical Advisory Board" along with Kenneth Copeland, Jerry Falwell, Jr., Richard Land, James Robison, and many other post-evangelicals.
Given the stated public positions of the members of this board, it is exceedingly doubtful that any of them would have ever shared anything with Mr. Trump except a psychological, inclusivist false gospel - or at best a "repeat-after-me" prayer divorced from any reliance upon, or acknowledgement of, the essential regenerating work of the Holy Spirit.
When Donald Trump Heard the Gospel
But Donald Trump has heard the authentic Gospel at least once.
In 2007, while serving as First Minister of Northern Ireland, Dr. Ian Paisley met with Donald Trump at his office in the Trump Tower in Manhattan. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss possible Trump business investments in Ireland. But according to an eyewitness, during the course of their meeting Dr. Paisley took the opportunity to preach the Gospel to Donald Trump.
Let me say that I never agreed with Dr. Paisley's involvement in politics; I believe the calling to be a Gospel preacher is a singular one that must be pursued without conflict. Some readers may disagree with me on that point. But it must be said there were few men of Dr. Paisley's generation, if any, who were more fervent in their preaching of the full-orbed, authentic Gospel.
Ian Paisley powerfully and unapologetically preached God's holiness; His creation of man in perfection and man's subsequent fall into sin; the resulting curse upon man and creation; man's subjection to the wrath of God because of his rebellion; and salvation from the wrath of God, forgiveness of sin, and the sure promise of eternal life in the perfect world to come, only through the propitiatory work of Jesus Christ. Paisley preached Biblical Christianity as it truly is - an exclusive faith, the only true faith, uncompromised with the world and its false religions.
Doubtless that is the Gospel that Donald Trump would have heard from Ian Paisley. It was the only Gospel he ever preached, and he preached it in the power of the Holy Spirit, relying upon the Spirit's sovereign work to change a sinner's heart. According to an eyewitness (an assistant to Paisley who is also a believer) Mr. Trump was "sobered" by Ian Paisley's words.
Pray for America's President-Elect
Scripture repeatedly instructs Christians to pray for those who govern. As Paul wrote to Timothy,
Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. (1 Timothy 2:1-4)
Donald Trump's having heard the Gospel gives us all the more reason to pray for his salvation. It is imperative for Christians to pray that even now the seed of the Word sown nearly a decade ago would spring forth within him to eternal life. We must pray that the genuine seed that was sown will not be choked out by the false gospels of post-evangelicalism that Mr. Trump has doubtless heard from some of his religious advisors.
In the Gospel record we read of Jesus' encounter with a young ruler who clung to his riches rather than bowing the knee to Christ. Afterward,
Jesus looked around and said to His disciples, "How hard it is for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God!" And the disciples were astonished at His words. But Jesus answered again and said to them, "Children, how hard it is for those who trust in riches to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."
And they were greatly astonished, saying among themselves, "Who then can be saved?"
But Jesus looked at them and said, "With men it is impossible, but not with God; for with God all things are possible." (Mark 10:23-27)
Some have characterized the recent election as the choice between an Ahab and a Jezebel. It seems that God has given America an Ahab. But it could also be that He has given us a Nebuchadnezzar. That great king, lifted up in pride but brought literally to the ground by his Creator, later rose to acknowledge the sovereignty of God:
And at the end of the time I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my understanding returned to me; and I blessed the Most High and praised and honored Him who lives forever:
For His dominion is an everlasting dominion,
And His kingdom is from generation to generation.
All the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing;
He does according to His will in the army of heaven
And among the inhabitants of the earth.
No one can restrain His hand
Or say to Him, "What have You done?"
At the same time my reason returned to me, and for the glory of my kingdom, my honor and splendor returned to me. My counselors and nobles resorted to me, I was restored to my kingdom, and excellent majesty was added to me. Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the King of heaven, all of whose works are truth, and His ways justice. And those who walk in pride He is able to put down. (Daniel 4:34-37)
Christian, pray for the salvation of America's president-elect. Humanly speaking it may seem impossible. But with God all things are possible.
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