Donald Trump will address the 66th annual National Prayer Breakfast today. Last night I read a Voice of America piece on the event. This piece triggered a few thoughts.
It seems that Trump’s evangelical supporters approach his presidency in one of two ways.
First, there is the “King Cyrus” crowd. These are the court evangelicals who believe that God appointed Trump to deliver evangelicals from secular forces trying to undermine America’s status as God’s chosen people. In the Old Testament, Cyrus was the Persian King who freed the Jews from captivity and allowed them to return to Jerusalem. Cyrus was a pagan. Yet God used him. In this scenario, Trump does not need to be a Christian or exemplify Christian character for him to play a providential role in human history. Those who embrace this view believe that they have a firm grasp on the will of God or else they claim that God has given them special revelation.
Second, there is the “baby Christian” crowd. These are court evangelicals who believe that Donald Trump had a born-again experience. He is a “baby Christian” who is still growing in his faith. We should thus understand his blunders and anti-Christian statements and policies as part of this spiritual growth. Moreover, his past sins have been forgiven and we should now give him a second chance–a “mulligan‘ if you will–because God offers sinners “second chances” through the Gospel.
Here is a third option: Trump is not a new Cyrus or a “baby Christian.” He is a political opportunist who is using the court evangelicals to sustain power.
I have done my best to interpret the evangelical support of Trump in my forthcoming book Believe Me: The Evangelical Road to Donald Trump.