Donald Trump Is President; Now What?

Donald Trump

by John Ellis

I’m not sure how things like Disrupt J20 and the Women Against Trump March are playing outside the Beltway, but from my vantage point inside the Beltway, the protests appear petulant, unfocused, and, hence, unproductive[1]. Flipping it, I can only imagine the furor that would erupt from the left had Hillary Clinton won and the right had lain down on K Street, banged their balled-up fists, and screamed, “Not Fair! She’s Not My President!” If that had happened, I would’ve used the platforms God has given me to decry the self-centered rebellion and call my fellow conservative Christians to repentance. And I wouldn’t have been the only conservative Christian to do so – not by a long shot. The left, however, seems to have embraced the entitled histrionics from those protesting Donald Trump’s presidency.

It’s not as if I don’t empathize with the protesters. My #NeverTrump bona fides are unassailable, and I remain deeply skeptical of President Trump’s ability to lead this country in a productive manner. I definitely remain convinced that President Trump is morally unfit to hold the office of Presidency. But, like it or not, Donald Trump is now the President of the United States. As a Christian, I’m commanded to pray for those in civic authority over me, and I’m also commanded to “be subject to the governing authorities.”[2] As President of the United States, Donald Trump is now under the umbrella of that command.

The Apostle Paul follows up that familiar command with the admonition that “whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment.”[3] While there are legitimate and God-honoring ways to resist civic authorities who violate God’s righteousness/justice, I’m afraid the only things that the left’s collective meltdown will accomplish are the reelection of Trump in 2020 and the continued unhealthy bifurcation of our society. Worse, I’m afraid that the 2016 Presidential Election and subsequent fallout are harbingers of deepening unrest among God’s people who reside in the United States of America.

While the increase in violence, both actual and rhetorical, can be attributed to both sides, I’ve watched with great sadness as racist, misogynistic, and other hate-dominated speech has increased among those who claim the name of Christ. The messianic language being breathlessly used in reference to President Trump by TV evangelists, conservative pundits, and many of those from middle-America who attend church every Sunday reveal where many professing Christians in this country place their identity and what they see as their salvation. Ironically, those professing Christians have more in common with their political enemies than either side realizes.

As I watch Disrupt J20 and others, I recognize that their efforts are childish and futile. My main concern and sadness, however, is derived from the fact that their actions reflect that they view their salvation in earthly things; they are worshipping false idols.

One of the ways that idolatry is revealed in our hearts is by how we respond when things are taken away, plans are changed, or ideas/goals go unrealized. Many on the left believe that their god of the self-fulfilled individual is threatened by President Trump[4].

Those on the right who have turned to Donald Trump as their Savior have done so out of a desire to reclaim a past that never existed in this country – objectively never existed[5]. They have invited into the fold a wolf who preys on the underprivileged and who owes much of his success to an industry of unrighteousness that was reviled just a few short years ago by the very people who have now embraced him. Due to the efforts of those who have been called to care for the weak and the oppressed, Donald Trump has been given mostly unfettered access to the weak and the oppressed. They, too, worship the god of the self-fulfilled individual; they just define some of their terms differently than do those on the left.

While holding much in common, the two sides’ idols do create much friction; testified by the ongoing protests in my city. Visions of what the good life looks like contradict and one must give way to the other.

As this cultural war between idolaters continues to ramp up, the name of Jesus is going to be increasingly profaned in and through the words and actions of both sides. The division will grow; allegiances will be demanded; non-combatants will suffer the slings and arrows coming from both directions. “If you are not for us, you are against us,” will be spit out by the broad conservative community at followers of King Jesus who are concerned that the evangelical church of America has sold her soul for earthly security, comfort, and the ability to pursue their own brand of individualism that pays fealty to the false religion of God and Country.

The ascension of Donald Trump emboldens cultural Christianity that views church as a consumer activity and wrongly connects the teachings of Jesus to the American Dream. Instead of submitting themselves to the right preaching of God’s word, many professing Christians in this country are more concerned about attending a church that caters to their family’s culturally specific desires[6]. This is evident because of how their fear of the left has driven them into the arms of Donald Trump. Had Hillary Clinton won, there is a very good chance that churches in this country would have been forced to change their habits or, instead, change their beliefs. Large numbers of evangelicals in America have let it be known that their habits/way of life trump their beliefs, and, by extension, have signaled that their beliefs are their habits/way of life.

As is clearly evident, secularism has zero tolerance for a robust Christianity that preaches the truth that the only way to God is through repentance of sins and faith in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. With power comes boldness, and a Hillary presidency would’ve only seen an increase of societal and government pressure on churches to conform to the new reality. Orthodox teaching about God’s sexual ethics would have not have been tolerated. More so than already, seeking to preserve the lives of babies still living in their mother’s womb would have drawn the virulent ire of the left. If the progressive/leftist agenda had remained unchecked, there is a very real possibility that things would’ve become very uncomfortable for Christians in this country. And that would’ve been ok.

God is always sovereign. The shifting, groaning tremors of culture are no threat to God and are no threat to God’s people. In fact, God often uses persecution in the lives of His people for His glory and their sanctification. Persecution does a good job of dividing the sheep from the goats within the Church.

Increased persecution might still happen; churches in America may very well face an uncomfortable future in which their place at the civic table is greatly reduced, material trappings become difficult to retain, and once friendly communities turn their backs on them. Presidents have term limits, after all. Plus, Hillary Clinton roundly defeated Donald Trump in the popular vote. The Democrats are not going to make the same campaign mistakes in 2020 that they did in 2016[7]. However, many conservatives are acting and speaking as if the election of Donald Trump is a complete referendum on progressivism/leftism; they seem to believe that the election of Trump is going to provide them with perpetual protection from the anger of leftists. It will not.

As the cultural and social divide worsens, followers of King Jesus have an opportunity to hold out the only solution that can solve the actual problem of humanity. The problem is that sin, their personal sin, causes a separation between people and their Holy Creator. Because of sin, humans are under the eternal wrath of God. Thankfully, God provided the solution in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Fully and willfully obeying God’s law because we can’t and then laying down his life as the punishment for the sins of his people, Jesus accomplished God’s salvation of His people. Those who are repenting of their sins and placing their faith in Jesus are adopted into God’s family and will enjoy all of God’s blessings for all eternity.

Sadly, instead of preaching the good news of Christ crucified and resurrected, digging in and defending Donald Trump appears to be the priority of many professing Christians in this country. Ensuring their way of life and their comfort outweighs the concern that their coworkers and neighbors are on their way to hell if they die in their sins. Much of the evangelical church in America has signaled to the world that the gospel they are preaching is the gospel of the American dream. Their wholehearted embrace and spirited defense of President Trump is a clear indication what they value and where their hope lies. For example, many professing Christians in this country become angrier over immigration policy than they do over sin; many professing Christians in this country would rather insult their neighbor who disagrees with their politics instead of humbly sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ with them.

Donald Trump is our President; now what? Well, for starters, we are commanded to pray for him. We should pray for his salvation. We should pray that he will govern in a way that promotes peace and justice. We should also pray that the church in America divests themselves of their false idols and turns back to proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ as our only hope in life and death.

However, while praying, we should recognize that the sad reality may be that followers of King Jesus who truly desire to serve God first and promote His kingdom above all else will be further marginalized within their own communities. The left will continue to scorn Christians for seeking to obey God in all things, most especially in regards to sexual ethics. The right will scorn Christians for failing to bow the knee before their new Savior and their culturally specific definitions of security and comfort. Regardless of what God has in store for this country in 2020 and beyond, over the next four years a division may occur within evangelicalism; God may divide the wheat from the tares. Already evident in many ways, a sharp distinction between cultural Christianity and a Christianity that bows the knee before the Lordship of Christ in all areas may be on the horizon. In that eventuality, children of God will be called to rally around the cross, leave those churches that are only called church for cultural reasons, and join with fellow believers who desire to worship only God. Donald Trump’s presidency may signal that a full on civil war is on the horizon within American evangelicalism. As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.

Soli Deo Gloria

[1] The left either doesn’t know or, far more likely, doesn’t care that Standing Rock took place under President Obama. Rules for Radicals as interpreted by *me* – never let the truth get in the way of a tantrum. Plus, most aren’t really protesting for change; they’re simply being disruptive and violent in order to make a point – they don’t like the fact that Donald Trump is now their president.

[2] Romans 13:1, ESV Study Bible (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2008), 2179.

[3] Romans 13:2, ESV Study Bible, 2179-80.

[4] Although, the irony is that I would argue far less threatened than either side is willing to admit. Our new President is a longtime supporter of Planned Parenthood, has recently reaffirmed his support for gay marriage, and is, all around, an individual how places sexual exploits/conquests high on his list of values. President Trump is actually a poster boy for the idol of self-fulfilled individualism.

[5] David Barton and company are frauds.

[6] I originally wrote “culturally specific needs,” but the only thing we need is Christ.

[7] Unless, of course, and referencing a comment I made earlier in this article, the shrillest parts of the left create so much unbearable noise and construct so many straw men as to render independents sick of the whole process while simultaneously angering conservatives so much as to guarantee high voter turnouts amongst blue-collar Americans.


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