Among the things I struggled with during my foray into the Republican Pleasure Dome this past week was the music that was played throughout.
Imagine having Ted Nugent direct the house band at a PETA/Vegan conference. There were times during the convention where I could relate.
As someone whose grew up under the musical sermons and discipleship of Jim Morrison and Jimi Hendrix (among many others), I know first-hand how music can help influence and even fashion a person’s worldview and actions. (I have produced videos and written numerous articles on the subject.) Under their tutelage, I became the person your mother warned you about. It took Jesus and the Bible to renew my mind and heart and keep me from some form of the tragic end that met both of the talented but lost men.
I get that the RNC was meant to be in part a big party. And loud, high-energy, evocative, dance-able and sing-along-able pop songs are an important part of the mix. And the party also doesn’t want to come off as straight-laced or un-hip by only covering Gospel-inflected rock. People are going to want the Beatles, the Stones, Sly, Springsteen, Creedence, Wonder, the Whites Stripes, Arcade Fire, etc.
Thankfully, there are thousands of “great” (in the sense of checking off the five boxes just mentioned) songs available to choose from that are reasonably “safe”–that don’t just set out to celebrate the “sex, drugs, and rebellion” ethos that rock ‘n’ roll is unfortunately known for.
But the set list during the convention featured several deplorable picks. I don’t know if they were chosen by the RNC, Team Trump, or were–in the case of some of the live music–an act of subversion by the bandleader: the talented, former house guitarist on Saturday Night Live and William Defoe’s doppelganger, G.E. Smith. But the cognitive dissonance and lack of attention to detail that was on display sonically had me wondering—along with other things—if this “Make America Great Again” thing had a snowball’s chance in hell of working.
Here are four examples:
- G.E. Smith’s band covered David Bowie’s Station to Station. Ironic to see the party of Christian family values grooving to occult references (“Kether to Malkuth”), semen imagery (“white stains”) and drugs (“It’s not the side-effects of the cocaine, I’m thinking that it must be love.”)
- AC/DC, You Shook Me All Night Long: We’re not talking here about dice, hands or a drink shaker. The song is rife with not-so tender, loving, or family-friendly references to “shaking walls,” being knocked out by “American thighs”, “fighting for air”…I could go on, but you get the point.
- Bad Company’s I Can’t Get Enough of Your Love was covered by the house band on the last night during the ramp up to Trump’s unveiling. Opening stanza: “Well, I take whatever I want, and baby, I want you. You give me something I need. Now tell me I got something for you.” As the song proceeds to make clear, that “something” is not a box of chocolates or wedding ring. (I wondered if the song was perhaps—intentionally or accidentally—a message to the American people.)
- Perhaps most incredibly of all, as Trump finished his speech and his family and running mate joined him on stage, as the balloons dropped and the confetti fell, what song was chosen to usher in this new era of promise? Free’s All Right Now—a song that celebrates a one-night-stand between a couple that barely know the other’s name.
Again, I wondered if the song might be unintentionally prophetic.
In the cosmic scheme of things, these unfortunate musical choices might seem pretty inconsequential. Certainly there were other, more important things—policy decisions involving war, immigration, trade, globalization, the economy, law and order, etc.—that deserve our careful attention and consideration. But as it’s often noted, “the devil is in the details.” And these particular little devils got me wondering about the party of Trump’s sincerity concerning its pro-Christian and pro-family platform and well as their clarity on the bigger issues.
It’s possible that 2016 will go down as the most bizarre, polarizing, conventional-wisdom-shattering presidential election in our nation’s two hundred and forty year history. It has brought together so much in the way of synchronicities, oddballs, schisms, drama, corruption, scandals, pratfalls and fodder for conspiracy theorists, that if it were written up as the backdrop for a novel of political intrigue, the manuscript would likely be rejected as being just too unbelievable.
For the Christian who knows God and has at least a passing familiarity with His ways, it is very clear—as I have noted elsewhere—that in all this preposterousness, a divine trumpet is being sounded. The Lord of Hosts is getting the Church’s and our nation’s attention.
What is He saying?
Well, that depends on one’s presuppositions. Or to phrase it in the language of modern physics, Where you are standing and how fast you are going.
From my personal perch, a few things are as obvious as the collapsed wave function that is my hand in front of my face.
1. Seriously, these are our two choices—our two offerings to America’s posterity? If this is the best we’ve got, we ain’t got much. We’re running on empty, my friends.
2. Relatedly, the experiment in Christian liberty that is America has gone very wrong. Nutty professor kind of wrong.
3. Collectively we have gotten an “F” on our “yuge” civics project for the World’s Fair. Our noses are being rubbed in our dirty diaper. Mixed metaphors are starting to make sense.
4. Hypocrisy, thy name is America.
5. Our two-party, money laundering political system? How’s that working for us?
6. There’s not much salt left in the American church. And the jackbooted heels of man are getting ready to tap-dance even faster on our faces.
7. The twin idol-towers of personal peace and affluence will not be torn down of our own accord. The One who rides on the clouds is likely going to have to send—or more properly allow—two transports laden with a wide variety of explosives to tear them down for us. (For the literalists who will read this, I am invoking a metaphor here that has nothing to do with literal buildings or a literal airplane.)
God is sovereign, just and merciful. As He does His “strange work”, we must remember that it is but for a season. (Isaiah 28:14-29) Oh, he will plow and harrow and thresh. But then He will sow and bring forth a new harvest of righteousness. The mustard plant, if but by fits and starts, will prosper. Slowly, incrementally but surely, the knowledge and reign of the Lord will cover the land mass we call North America—as well as the rest of the world—even as the waters cover the seas.
Thus sayeth the Lord.
It’s time to put your boots on, Christian. It’s time to gird up your loins and mind with truth and to beat your plowshare into a sword.
In one manner or another, it’s time to die.
I have been told by more than a few sincere Christian friends that the Lord has anointed Donald Trump to be the next president. And I have seen variations of it posted in cyberspace more times now than I can count. God, the gist of it goes, has chosen an admittedly very earthy, earthen vessel into which He has poured His grace. The result (see Isaiah 45:1,2) is a new Cyrus the Great, a man ordained in this hour to be a blessing to Israel, America and the Church while doubling as a “wrecking ball” to smash the “bronze gates” of the humanist/globalist/socialist juggernaut.
For some, it’s a genuine prophetic word—akin to Agabus’ message to Paul in Acts 21: 10,11—assembled together from multiple witnesses that range from Lance Wallnau’s now much-known revelation on Isaiah 45 — to retired firefighter Mark Taylor’s vision in 2011.
For others it’s more a product of piecing together information from a number of sources, including: American history; fiscal and cultural trends; presuppositions concerning end-time events and/or American exceptionalism; conspiracy theories; dislike for Hillary Clinton; appreciation of Trump’s non-PC persona and other aspects of his character and approach to trade, immigration, and foreign wars (among others); concerns about the direction of the Supreme Court for a generation to come; the lock the Democratic party will have on future elections as the third Clinton administration first grants illegal aliens worker status and then voting rights; increased susceptibility to Islamic terror…I can go on.
They see Trump as the best way to “make America great again”—or at least hold back the Orcs at Helm’s Deep—and therefore believe, or want to believe, He is God’s chosen vessel.
Anything else looks like a full-tilt boogie disaster and the potential end of America as we know it.
For me? Well, as a Christian with a “yuge” view of God, His power and sovereignty, I have no problem with the idea that the Lord can use any crooked stick He wants to strike a straight blow. The Bible is replete with examples of this, the aforementioned Cyrus being a prime example.
In fact, that is one of the characteristics I most admire and am awed by concerning God: that He can make even the wrath of man praise Him. (Psalm 76:10)
So any Christian who is certain that Trump’s many problems necessarily disqualify him from being the Lord’s instrument of blessing, does not know God’s ways or even history very well.
I also have no problem theologically or experientially believing that God can give one of His children a dream, impression, vision or in some other way a inspired “word” that can address all manner of things, including future events. It should be clear to a Biblically-literate person that these prophetic impressions can never be contrary to scripture and are never to be treated as inerrant—as a “Thus sayeth the Lord” utterance that is even remotely akin to the inspired words that make up the Bible. They need to be discerned, judged, and tested. But they certainly can be a prompting towards encouragement and direction and, as such, should not be despised. (1 Thess. 5:20).
I have experienced the blessing of these types of words first-hand. And have also been surprised by their power. My own salvation involved a person who received a supernatural glimpse into the hidden recesses of my soul. As another example, I remember a “prophecy” given by a little-known, now deceased, self-taught country teacher/preacher with a reputed gift for receiving prophetic impressions. I attended a conference in 1989 when after worship he got up and shared a bizarre word about some riots that were going to soon break out in Miami, Florida. It has nothing to do with anything about the conference, just a shot from deep right-field. I thought he was a bit of a loon at the time. And so did most everybody else…until it came true with startling specificity about a month later.
And history is replete with these types of divinely-inspired downloads that have inspired heroes of the faith esteemed even by Christians who are cessationists and don’t believe God can speak or direct apart from scripture.
So as incredible as it will seem to most people, could Lance and Mark have a true word from God concerning Trump?
My answer is… I don’t know. I am open to it. While I’m far from a fan of Mr. Trump, a part of me would love for it to be true with Hillary Clinton waiting to step into the Oval Office if it’s not. (Literally, an involuntary shudder came over me as I typed those words.) And I find encouragement in that there are lots of other thoughtful, culturally engaged Christians that feel the same way.
But while I remain open, I’m also not going to lap water like a dog. (Judges 7:4-6) I’ve got my eyes up and on the horizon and am watching.
I hope you, Christian, are doing the same.
And there, on the horizon, I see a number of potential problems, or gut checks, that give me serious pause in regard to the “Trump as Cyrus” word.
- Modern prophetic words are often wrong. Because the anointing to channel scripture is gone and the canon is closed, there are no longer servants of God who are perfect amanuenses for the Holy Spirit. As a result, post-Apostolic-age, prophetic impressions are not inerrant. They can range from being right to varying degrees of wrong, including wildly so.
As someone who has been in and around the charismatic arm of the church for thirty-six years and has received his own fair-share of words, my impression is that only a small minority are spot on relative to the specificity that characterize Wallnau’s and Taylor’s revelations. And, again from my experience, this susceptibility to be off is magnified when prophetic sensitivities enter the realm of politics. If I had a nickel for every unfulfilled or flat-out wrong word I’ve heard about how so-and-so was called by God to be president, or governor or whatever—or how another so-and-so was going to spell the doom for America, or the GOP—or how this so-and-so was going to usher in, or even be, the Anti-Christ or would end up bringing in the New World Order—I could buy a Venti latte at Starbucks. Or two.
In addition, prophetic impressions are normally an amalgam of the Holy Spirit’s leading coupled with the conveyor’s personality, mood and presuppositions. A person, for example, who is dispensational and believes that the Great Tribulation is around the corner can take an authentic impression that God is doing a fresh work of converting and reviving souls and turn it into a “this is the last great outpouring before the Lord’s return to rapture His bride” type of word. I saw this happen repeatedly during the move of God in Pensacola, where I was living at the time. No one is exempt from this. And this is why prophetic words need to be carefully tested and why many of them, even when the impetus is the Holy Spirit, can be off.
From my cursory research, Wallnau, Taylor and many if not most of the people who are really in to the “Trump as Cyrus” word—or some permutation thereof—have been influenced by premillennial/apocalyptic as well as other eschatological and theological “flavors” that are not part of my particular worldview stew.
Now I’m not saying I’m right and they’re wrong about these things—though obviously that would be my leaning (otherwise I would believe the way they do, wouldn’t I?), only that it makes me question the precision of their supposed revelations.
These are things that reflective Christians should be aware of when discerning not just prophetic impressions but even Biblical teaching and preaching.
- Trump the man. God normally (I would say never, but it’s rarely good to say never when it comes to how God does things) doesn’t do a brain and personality transplant when He anoints someone for a task. He may resurrect them from the dead and turn the lights on (and it has been said that this may have recently happened to Trump. ) But if they were an introvert, or an extrovert, or right-brained, or an “N” on Myers & Briggs scale before they were met by and transformed by Jesus, they will pretty much retain the same wiring, albeit with a new mission, afterwards.
God, for example, used the Apostle Paul to do most of the theological heavy-lifting in the New Testament canon precisely because he was a very learned man in the scriptures even before He got zapped by the Lord on the road to Damascus. Paul may have never actually met Jesus before His death, resurrection and ascension. But a good number of other people did, including twelve disciples that essentially lived with, were discipled by, and listened to His teaching for three years. Yet the majority of them didn’t contribute a peep to the Bible. Why then Paul, who perhaps only met Jesus in a vision? (1 Cor. 15:3-10) Because He was anointed? Sure. But he also had the right stuff; the fissionable raw material that enabled him, with the Holy Spirit’s obvious help, to get his mind around the great truths to which the Old Testament was pointing.
Cyrus was already both a seasoned governor and a military leader, one who ruled Persia and conquered the Babylonian empire, before he became the deliverer (literally, “anointed one” or “messiah”) of the Jewish people.
Trump avoided the military and has had virtually no governmental experience.
Cyrus was a master of diplomacy and inclusion, able to gain respect and fealty from a diverse number of people groups with their disparate cultures and religions.
Donald Trump on the other hand…well not so much, to put it mildly.
From what we can tell, Cyrus was very wise in regards to his speech.
Trump has one of the worst cases of foot-in-mouth disease in American history.
Polls didn’t exist at the time, but if they did Cyrus would have a high approval rating across his vast empire.
As of this writing, 60% of the American population don’t like Trump. And a significant percentage of them despise, hate or are in abject fear of him. Outside of America, his approval ratings are even worse. Even the Russians now are saying that they would rather work with Hillary.
One of Wallnau’s laugh lines is that both Cyrus and Trump wanted to “build a wall.” Cyrus actually was more a leader who wanted to tear down walls, both literal and ideological, that separated people and nations. Yes, he sponsored the Jews in their return to the homeland and in their rebuilding of their temple and their holy city. And yes, rebuilding the walls of the city was a part of this process—for the Jews. But that wasn’t Cyrus’ primary emphasis.
It is for Trump.
Lastly, Wallnau has made a point of Trump’s connection to both Scotland and John Knox through his mother’s ancestry, calling him a “strange hybrid walking in a Cyrus anointing to break things up and a Knox disposition to Reform.”
Well again, “I know John Knox and I know the Reformation, Mr. Trump. And you wouldn’t know either of them from a hole in your hat.”
- Trump’s trajectory since becoming the nominee. Like at lot of Christians who shudder at the thought of Hillary selecting the next two, three or four Supreme Court nominees—as just one of many critical issues facing our nation—once Trump won the GOP nomination, I thought, “OK Father, let’s see what we have here. Even though I haven’t liked much of what I’ve observed about the man thus far, perhaps that will change now the primaries are over.” I heard about Wallnau’s revelation, followed later by Taylor’s dream. And I had a good number of friends, thoughtful Christians I respect, affirming variations on the same theme.
And so I have diligently prayed. Understanding that God doesn’t necessarily call the qualified, but rather qualifies the called, my daily prayer has been for this conditioning process to become manifest: that whispers of the wisdom, grace and character of a divinely called and qualified leader would be evidenced in Trump’s words, demeanor and decisions.
And I have prayed not just to see it, but for the Father to make it happen. I’ve been pulling for Donald, really believing for and wanting to like the man, truly hoping to see him become the leader who could help reverse our nation’s decline.
To date, I’ve been having to ignore camels in order to find some gnats . In fact, I would say that things have gotten—one could say supernaturally—worse since the primaries.
If I was counseling a young man who was waiting on a leading and confirming signs concerning a woman he was thinking of marrying and he experienced half of the cringe-worthy moments Trump has delivered, I would advise him to run. Hard.
- The circle-the-wagons syndrome. I begin to get suspicious when people claim a prophetic word but then begin to throw up weak objections or qualifiers to any ensuing events that call into question the veracity of it. (How many times has this happened for so-called prophets and teachers concerning their predictions about the return of Christ?) Well, I’ve seen more than a little of this going on with the “Trump as Cyrus crowd” as well.
No matter how un-Cyrus-like Trump behaves, his apologists seem to be ready to look the other way or make excuses for his behavior.
As just one example, consider Trump’s recent, bone-headed comment about the Khans, the Gold Star parents of a slain Muslim American soldier. Within a day or two after the brouhaha began, Trump supporters, Alex Jones followers and anti-Islam apologists like Walid Shoebat began to weigh in on the matter, among other things pointing out the father, Khizr Khan’s, connections to the Clinton money machine and the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist organizations. (Don’t get me wrong, these are issues that should be carefully and tactfully vetted and, if true, brought to light. I share their grave concerns about the threat fundamentalist Islam represents to America and the West.) Wallnau also weighed in on the subject (see the Wrath of Khan), taking the heat off Trump and stating that this was more of the same, “the spirit of political correctness” run amok, “manipulated by the media” and producing “mind control” and then proceeded to list the reasons why Khan is part of a larger conspiracy to derail Trump, normalize Islam and perhaps even open the door to domestic terrorism. (There’s that apocalyptic presupposition raising its head again.)
Let’s assume for the sake of argument that all of this is true, that Khan is a closeted Jihadist, a Wahhabi operative playing off the Clintons’ lust for power and money. Fine. What would the proper response to this be from a wise, Cyrus-like man anointed by God to be the leader of the free world? I can think of several potential scenarios. I’m sure you can as well. But guess what? None of them involve the seat-of-the-pants blathering Trump exhibited, particularly in regard to his comment—yet again!—about a man’s wife. And then having it go on, and on, and on.
Hillary Clinton didn’t make Trump say it and then keep saying it. God certainly didn’t. Shoot, I don’t believe even the devil would have that much finesse. Trump gave the Left a big ugly-stick to hit him with all by his lonesome.
Well, it’s not over until the full-figured woman sings. As of this writing we have ninety-four days until blast-off. Maybe God is humbling DT, bringing him to a breaking point, and then is going to zap him. Maybe some of the good men that I’m told Trump has gathered around him will be able to break through and we’ll begin to see more of Reagan and less of the host of The Apprentice.
Maybe. I’m still praying. And watching.
But I’m no longer at all optimistic.
And I’m also beginning to wonder about another potential plot-line and divine casting decision in regard to this bizarre, “‘Do I have your attention now?’ says the Lord” election season. Yes, Trump’s been anointed all right. But perhaps to a very different end than the one envisioned by Wallnau, Taylor and company.
More on that next time.
 Nothing in this article is meant to question the faith or spiritual maturity of either of these men or the Christians who believe they are on to something. I don’t know them, but both seem to be good men with sincere hearts. And I have a few friends that know Lance and tell me he’s a great guy. I have no reason to doubt them. But anyone can be “off” when it comes to these matters, including me. What follows is shared in humility and charity and with nothing but a desire to let “iron sharpen iron” (Proverbs 27:17) in the hopes of gaining wisdom and understanding.
 Constantine the Great, for example, had both his son and his wife killed. But he nevertheless helped make the Roman Empire (somewhat) “great again”, stopped the persecution of the Church and was instrumental in the Council of Nicea and halting the spread of the Arian heresy
 John Knox, the great reformer and a founder of the Presbyterian church, often prayed, preached and proclaimed concerning future events that came true in powerful ways. Charismatics would say he prophesied.
There are moments in life when a smattering of events suddenly lock into synchronous orbit, ever so slightly lifting the curtain that divides the temporal from the eternal and granting us a deeper glimpse into the Mystery:
All the world is truly a stage and each of us are players.
And for those who through grace have become acquainted with the Playwright, the fog of life’s seeming randomness, with its attendant pain and suffering, also clears a bit. An aspect of the deeper plot is revealed. From quarks to galaxies, seconds to seasons—the flash of sudden awareness of God’s sovereign knowledge and power ignites awe, joy and worship.
All things truly do in the end work together for the good of those who love, and are loved, by God. And virtually everything is working together towards His purposes.
For those with eyes to see and ears to hear, there are also those occasions when these synchronicities coalesce into a warning, the sense that God is getting our attention because something is seriously wrong and needs to be addressed.
The fact that America is facing what for most people is a binary choice—Clinton or Trump?—could very well be just such a prophetic moment.
The trillion dollar question is: What exactly is the Holy Spirit saying to the Church—and secondarily to America—in this hour?
On everything from gay marriage (she was against it until she was for it) to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (reverse ditto), Hillary Clinton has become the consummate shape-shifter. But there is another arena where both she and the Democratic party have “evolved”—and that in a most disturbing direction.
Ever a supporter of a woman’s so-called “right to choose” (one should wonder about the baby’s choice), both have jettisoned the “safe, legal and rare” distinction championed, albeit somewhat hollowly, during the Clinton 1.0 era. Now the party encourages women to be proud of their abortions, something NARAL’s president, Ilyse Hogue, modeled during her speech at the convention.
In 2008, as the most pro-abortion candidate to ever run for the presidency was being introduced to the world, the Dems jettisoned the word “rare” from their party platform. Abortion activists had been claiming that the word stigmatized something that was a benefit to society as well as a constitutional right.
But Hillary is helping put the spurs to this swing to the left, following in the footsteps of her acknowledged hero, Margaret Sanger.
Both Hillary and the Democratic party have announced a full-court press to repeal the Hyde amendment, the 1977 legislative provision—and upheld by the Supreme Court—barring the use of federal funds to pay for most abortions.
That’s right, she wants your taxes to help pay for the murder of pre-born children.
Even with all the scandal surrounding Planned Parenthood, she remains this treacherous organization’s strongest advocate.
But perhaps most illustrative of all are the two comments she has made in the last year-and-a-half: one recently when she appeared on The View, the other when she spoke at the Women in the World Summit in April of 2015.
First, note the gaped-mouth duplicity:
The View: The woman’s choice—and presumably that would include everyone else’s—to make a decision on this issue based on her “faith.”
The Summit: “…and deep seated…religious beliefs…have to be changed.”
As for her bald-faced support of the “structure” of Roe v. Wade that permits, with certain restrictions, abortions up until the point the baby enters the world through the birth canal:
Roe v. Wade prohibits third-trimester abortions except to protect the “life and health of the mother.”
Now the life of the mother is a complete red herring. It’s not uncommon for a woman to experience serious health risks during the third trimester. Every day in America doctors use C-sections to save both mother and child, from full-term to thirty-nine weeks gestation and even younger. There’s never a need to overtly set out to kill the baby in order to save the mother’s life. (The baby can, and sometimes does, die in the process. But that is never the intent.)
The real snake in the grass here is “health”.
Here’s the “structure” of the law that Hillary wants to prop up:
Roe: “States … cannot prohibit abortions “where it is necessary, in appropriate medical judgment, for the preservation of the life or health of the mother.” The ruling cites examples of what may be considered harmful to a woman’s health. These include the “stigma of unwed motherhood,” the work of caring for a child, and the “distress” “associated with the unwanted child.”
Doe: “The majority ruled that only the doctor who would perform the abortion needs to determine that the abortion was necessary to preserve the health of the mother. Any abortion provider could make this decision based solely on their “best clinical judgment.”
Obviously, this opens a hole one can drive a Mack truck through. Down Syndrome? At least 67% of them are now being aborted. Lost job and suddenly can’t afford the baby? Forget the vast throngs of couples who can’t have children and would give anything to adopt the child. “How could I give up my baby?” the mother choosing abortion will say. (I’ve heard this more times than I can count outside of abortion mills.) So snip, snip, stab, stab. Problem solved. “Health” protected.
Obama and other party spokespersons are claiming that there has never been a person “more qualified than Hillary Clinton to serve as president.” (Take that George Washington.) This assertion is highly debatable.
But one’s that not is there has never been a more pro-abortion candidate.
Sadly much of America, and that includes her staunch Catholic, personally pro-life running mate, just don’t seem to care.
 It is extraordinary to me that Hillary didn’t note this critical caveat, without which the supporter of abortions on viable children comes off like a Mengele wannabe. A senior moment? Sloppiness? Or has she become so brazen, so in the pocket of the “kill them and harvest their body parts” industry that she just doesn’t care?
Well, multiply that anxiety a million-fold and you have an idea how Hillary Clinton and the DNC must feel if the content of just one of her deleted emails would derail her run for the White House. (My guess is there are quite a few.) In the wake of the DNC’s hacked emails proving a concerted effort on their part to sabotage Bernie Sander’s candidacy, Hillary must have a growing pit in her stomach.
What if the Russians have them? Or the Chinese? And what if they start dropping them in the weeks running up to November 8th?
For me, tis a consummation devoutly to be wished.
Now don’t get me wrong. The idea that the Russians would pull a “DNC to Bernie” on her is fantastic: an example of poetic justice if there ever was one. But if they are doing it because they would prefer a Trump presidency in the belief that it would make it safer to rattle their sword, that concerns me. And it should concern you.
But there are a lot of unknowns here. Besides annexing Crimea, does Putin really want to upset world markets and gamble with his already struggling economy by risking war? And yes, he can be brutal and ruthless. But he, like Trump, is a nationalist. His preeminent objective is to protect and serve Mother Russia, to see his nation become “great again”, to thrive within the boundaries of its historic (admittedly disputable) borders. Perhaps even more importantly—albeit ironic given Russia’s communist/atheistic past—Putin seems sincere in wanting to restore his nation’s Christian heritage. Mass killing in support of wars of aggression doesn’t quite fit into that narrative.
But it would be criminally naïve to not plan for the possibility.
Would Trump blink and give Putin a free hand? You should then ask if Trump would like being perceived on the world stage as weak; as becoming the lapping Beta dog to Putin’s Alpha.
But I’m guessing not.
Does Trump really want to pull the United States out of NATO? Maybe. He says he might try. But is that reality…or the consummate deal-maker scaring our NATO partners so that when it comes time to sit down and renegotiate the relationship, they take on a greater proportion of the financial and logistical responsibility?
I’m guessing the latter.
And lastly, with all the bravado and big talk on both sides, at the end of the day, who would you really rather have staring across the table at Putin? Hillary or Trump?
For me, whatever their motivation might be, if the Ruskies have the doomsday emails, I say drop them.
And Halloween would be the perfect day to launch the first salvo.
Trick or treat, Ms. Clinton!
(As an aside, I must confess there is another, more selfish reason I hope the Russians—or someone—has the emails. They would make it unnecessary for me of the double-mind and conflicted conscience to feel I need to vote for Trump to keep Hillary out of the White House. Unless I see some evidence before November 8th—a change in his language, tone and temperament to suggest that God has anointed (as many suggest) this too often braying Balaam’s bicycle of a man to lead this country—I will probably vote third party. (Father, make Your will clear!) But I suspect I will have gnawing doubts about it. The Russians blowing Hillary out of the water and giving the election to Trump would make everything so much simpler.)
The obvious problem here is that a large percentage of them—likely a sizeable majority—have consciences formed or at least influenced by the vagaries of fallen human reasonings and desires as well as the worldly and at times even satanic feedback loops that dot our cultural landscape. These people voting their conscience is akin to what Bildad the Shuhite described to Job. Danger lies everywhere.
(Their) confidence is severed, and (their) trust is a spider’s web. (They) lean against (their) house, but it does not stand; (they) lay hold of it, but it does not endure. Job 8: 14,15
But a potential problem also exists for sincere Christians whose consciences have been conditioned by the Holy Spirit and God’s word.
Recently, while the primaries were winding down, I spoke with a good friend. Gregg Cunningham is a leading advocate for life and also one of the most politically astute men I know, having served in the military (as an officer in the Air Force), in a state legislature and in the arena of public policy for many years. Our conversation, as these things tend to do in this surreal political season, turned to the upcoming presidential election.
“Are you going to vote for Trump?” I asked, knowing that he rather be water-boarded to death than cast a vote for Hillary. Gregg opened with a qualification I’ve grown use to—listing the many flaws that make the Donald such a problematic candidate—before getting to the “but…”
“But if Trumps ends up being the Republican candidate, of course I will. What else can you do? We’ve got to stop Hillary.” He then reeled off several of the dangerous “bugs” that will come with running the Clinton 3.0 program: SCOTUS appointments; the deconstruction of the 2nd Amendment; pimping for Planned Parenthood and the abortion industry; expanding government while increasing debt; strengthening both her party and the ongoing swing from republicanism toward unchecked democratism by granting first work permits and then voting rights to millions of illegal aliens; the weakening of the military; runaway multiculturalism that weakens both national security and identity; the continued push towards statism, socialism, and globalism; stumping for the LGBTQ agenda; etc..
He was so convinced and convincing that I was almost embarrassed to tell him that while I got all of that, my conscience was nevertheless troubled at the prospect of voting for a man like Trump. I strengthened my case a bit by naming some Christian friends he knew and respected that were equally troubled; some having even gone #nevertrump.
After he calmed down, Gregg threw out an idea I had never considered: that is that I and the others like me should pray about whether there is an element of self-righteousness percolating somewhere in our thought processes. Perhaps, he went on to say, some part was more interested in taking a stand against what we saw as compromise and hypocrisy—and thus feeling good about ourselves and being “not like other men” (Luke 18:11)—than we were in our country and the millions of lives that would be negatively impacted by the Clinton agenda.
I pushed back, asking how he knew that Trump couldn’t create more harm and havoc than Hillary and then proceeded to offer scenarios were he might. Back and forth we went, ending, as most conversations I have on the subject these days, with more questions than answers.
But the idea Gregg sowed has stayed in the back of my mind. And from time to time I have asked the Lord to show me if some degree of pietistic or Pharisaical thinking could be leavening the loaf of my discernment.
Today, another friend brought this thoughtful and thought-provoking article to my attention. I commend it to yours.
But as I was reading, the seed sown by Gregg began to stir and certain phrases from the article came into sharper focus:
“For my part, my conscience is more important to me than the outcome of this presidential election….”
“It is simply this: Vote as if your ballot determines nothing whatsoever—except the shape of your own character. Vote as if the public consequences of your action weigh nothing next to the private consequences. The country will go whither it will go, when all the votes are counted. What should matter the most to you is whither you will go, on and after this November’s election day.”
My conscience, the shape of my character, whether I will go…there’s a very slippery slope here.
And I must be honest: I’m very uncomfortable putting the “shape of my character” in the same ballpark as the millions of innocent babies who will be tortured to death by a Clinton Court.
Elections have consequences. Individual votes determine the outcomes of those elections. It’s magical thinking to pretend that “the public consequences of your action weigh nothing” when those public consequences result in preventable child sacrifice.
Look, I don’t want to judge the author’s heart or intentions. Pragmatism is not an absolute. Opting for the lesser of two evils can be a righteous decision in some instances. With others, not so much. Compromise, to lift the line from Chariots of Fire, “can be the language of the devil.” Or it can be ordained of God. (2 Kings 5: 15-19)
But we would all do well to humble ourselves, pray and ask God to search our hearts and remove any tare, any leaven of self-righteousness. This is vital in every area of life. But as we approach this great valley of decision, a lot more than just the well-being of our own souls depends on it.
I saw “Hillary’s America” last night. I almost didn’t because the Rotten Tomatoes rating was so horrible: a 5% splat. Normally, I add in twenty or so percentage points when a movie or a documentary’s ideological perspective rubs the liberal media’s fur the wrong way. But 5%? Truly, it had to be a real stinker.
But a friend who had seen the movie gave me a ticket and insisted I go. And so I did…expecting very little.
I was very pleasantly surprised. Sure, the movie was a little goofy in sections. It also seemed to be a bit too much about the co-writer/director—and now the lead actor—Dinesh D’Souza. He clearly isn’t a trained actor and, through no fault of his own, also has a Mr. Bean kind of nerdiness that doesn’t serve the film all that well. It was at times overblown and ham-handedly conspiratorial. And some of its premises—most notably that Bill’s sexual addiction was accepted by Hillary and turned into a tool for controlling him—are the kind of judging of another person’s heart that is just wrong, particularly when exercised by a professing Christian.
Nevertheless, the movie explored a lot of important, often obscured historical facts every American should know—particularly those victims of the public school, liberal college, and progressive media establishment. I found the sections on Saul Alinsky (I wasn’t aware of the crazy stuff that appeared in the 1967 Playboy interview) and the Clinton Foundation particularly interesting and damning. And we are also introduced to one of great unsung heroes of American history: Ida B. Wells. Her inspiring story (attention Black Lives Matter folk) alone was worth the price of admission.
All in all, an enjoyable as well as educational experience. Easily three stars out of five.
My wife checked on the way home. The audience rating on RT was 84%. (And among them was a good number of 0% splats posted by people who clearly had an ideological axe to grind. So the true audience rating is really higher.) That leaves at least a 79% differential between what the critics and the public think of the movie—the second highest in Rotten Tomatoes eighteen-year history.
If you don’t think there’s a full-court press on the part of the fourth estate to cover Hillary’s criminal past, I’ve got a country to sell you.
Oh, wait. It’s already been bought.
Under its spreading branches George Whitefield once preached to 3,000 people as the fires of the Great Awakening began to sweep across the colonies and gave rise to the experiment in Christian liberty that is America.
Most of its branches are now dead and the tree has been diagnosed as being in a “spiral of decline.”
I wrote this article very much aware of the specter of the mass shooting at the Pulse nightclub a week ago–aware also that my thoughts can be seen and will certainly be interpreted by some as insensitive and just another contribution to the “homophobia” that helps foment acts of aggression towards members of the LGBTQ community.
So, again, let me be clear: I and every Christian I know who believes in and defends the Bible’s clear standards regarding sexuality, marriage and gender genuinely grieve for every God-imaging life lost in Orlando last Sunday. We abominate what the killer did and denounce all acts of condemnation, bullying and hate–physical and verbal alike –directed at anyone, including same-sex attracted people and those afflicted with gender dysphoria.
Had I or any of the Christian men and women I know that have concealed carry permits been walking by the Pulse that fateful night and had a chance to intervene–even at the risk of our own lives–we wouldn’t have hesitated, except perhaps for fear.
But this same commitment also compels us to persist in telling the truth. To “heal the hurt of the people slightly, to say ‘Peace, peace’ when there is no true peace” (Jer. 6:14); to help placate people in their sin–to pat them on their backs and assist them on their journey into a lifestyle that the Bible is very clear will result in its participants having no inheritance if the Kingdom of God (1 Cor. 6:9,10) is not love.
At the end of the day, it’s a lot more like hate.
I echo Dr. Michael Brown’s helpful article on the shootings in Orlando and commend it to your attention.