A friend of mine sent me a link to an article entitled, “Evangelicals should be deeply troubled by Donald Trump’s attempt to mainstream heresy”. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/acts-of-faith/wp/2017/01/03/evangelicals-should-be-deeply-troubled-by-donald-trumps-attempt-to-mainstream-heresy/?postshare=8361483466894116&tid=ss_fb&utm_term=.0f92418b136f
Since my church home group is currently doing a study in the book of Colossians, which Paul wrote to confront heresy threatening the church at Colossae, I was already focused on the danger heresy poses to the message of the gospel. Doctrinal correctness is no small matter when it comes to following the Great Commission.
Jesus said, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation” (Mark 16:15). This doesn’t mean to teach opinions or theories. It means to accurately and reliably spread the message of salvation given to us in Scripture.
“and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also.” — 2 Timothy 2:2
“This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found faithful.” — 1 Corinthians 4:1-2
The responsibility we have as Christians to preserve the integrity of scriptural doctrines makes us “stewards of orthodoxy”. This responsibility begins by knowing Scripture, a prerequisite which sadly has been forsaken by much of the Church. And because many self-proclaimed Christians are ignorant of what the Bible actually teaches, they are as vulnerable to the slick, charismatic purveyors of heresy as a country rube to a snake oil salesman.
That having been said, the charge that Donald Trump is attempting to “mainstream heresy” falls into another category. It is a specific accusation against Trump, not just against heresy. It points the finger of blame at Trump for intentionally misrepresenting Christianity, when it just as well can be understood that because American society at large is already ignorant and confused about the message of the gospel, even the President-elect is subject to misunderstanding it.
The more important issue is what exactly is the Christian faith. In the past half century there has been an increasing amount of ignorance and misrepresentation of Christianity. That hasn’t occurred as part of the concerted efforts of heretics, and it hasn’t happened because Trump or people like Trump have tried to influence public opinion. It’s happened because our society has increasingly become secular, unfamiliar with Biblical teaching and more specifically, de-Christianized.
Pointing fingers at Trump for this is a bit of a canard, used to distract us from more substantive issues. It will be remembered that Nancy Reagan — beloved wife of a man credited to be a Christian and supportive of traditional values — regularly consulted an astrologist and is said to have influenced the President. That is no less significant than the Word of Faith heresy.
Also, remember Barack Obama’s claim to be a Christian and the infamous quote of his reverend, the Rev. Wright? (“God d— America”)? The horse has long ago left the barn. The damage has been done. But all that so many unhappy and fearful people can do is to blame Trump, just like the liberals blamed everything on Bush for problems under Obama’s watch.
A perfect example is this hysterical claim that Trump is in cahoots with Putin for the dastardly act of hacking the Democrats’ computers. The more important fact is that the information this hacking revealed (regardless of who did it) shows conclusively that the Democrat Party colluded with the media to rig the debates. That is the truth, and that is the real issue. And yet, hardly a peep is heard about it and no one in the Democrat Party or the media is paying any consequences for their deceptive, unethical and illegal acts. Instead, all we hear in the news are reports that Donald Trump is evil because he has said good things about Putin and the Russians.
The “inconvenient truth”, to use a loaded phrase, is that historically, it’s been the Democrats and those on the Left who have been buddy-buddy with the Russians. But in their twisted perspective it is diplomatic statesmanship when they do it, but un-American and unforgivable when their political opponents do it. When the Left is out to “Bork” an opponent, they will stop at nothing, which is exactly what they are doing to Trump. And for the most part, the media is complicit in their unending repetition of the party line.
Most people have either been caught up unawares in this propaganda aimed at controlling public opinion, or they haven’t paid any attention at all. The task of true believers is to know the truth, and our source for the truth is Scripture. We need to focus on that truth, speak it whenever we can and reflect it in how we live our lives. All around us people keep repeating not just lies but half-truths that tempt us away from our message and point fingers at whomever is the whipping boy du jour.
We must be vigilant to remain undistracted from the greater truth. It is our responsibility to share the truth of the gospel. Will the Church do that? Or will they choose to complain that the job isn’t being done because the President-elect has selected heretics as speakers?
Every time I walk to the store I pass a Presbyterian church that proudly flies the rainbow flag. I say a prayer when I do, and I wonder if their consciences are seared or if they will respond to the Holy Spirit’s conviction. The Church in America is in serious trouble, a trouble we cannot lay at the feet of Trump.
Popular trends in evangelicalism defy Scriptural teaching, such as the idea that Hell does not exist or that faith in Jesus isn’t the only way of salvation or that our redemption is the result of the “social justice” our governments bring about. Barely noticed in a quiet corner, away from the spotlight, is the centrality of Biblical faith — that our sin separates us from our Creator and only brings death; but that Christ’s sacrifice on the cross gives us the opportunity to have our sins forgiven if we only accept it and receive him as our Lord.
The good news is that while there is no human solution to the dilemma of sin, we can have fellowship with God and eternal life through Christ. That requires standing before the One who has all authority in heaven and on Earth (Matthew 28:18) and being honest about ourselves — honest about our sin.
Focusing the blame on Trump is a sure way of avoiding that reality.