Plenty of Christian leaders have come out in support of President Donald Trump over the past 18 months, though there have also been consistent critics on the faith front — pastors and leaders who are now once again speaking out about how they believe Christians should react to the newly installed Trump administration.
For instance, Pastor John Piper, founder of DesiringGod.org, penned a piece on Friday titled, “How to Live Under an Unqualified President,” reaffirming his belief that Trump isn’t qualified to be commander-in-chief (to be fair: he said Clinton is unqualified as well).
Of course, Trump should step down as Olasky and Grudem say. So should Hillary. That is what "unqualified" means. It's never been a question.
— John Piper (@JohnPiper) October 12, 2016
Piper started his blog piece, which was published on Inauguration Day, with some candid proclamations.
“Today we will inaugurate a man to the presidency of the United States who is morally unqualified to be there,” he wrote. “This is important to say just now because not to see it and feel it will add to the collapsing vision of leadership that enabled him to be nominated and elected.”
Piper continued, “Not only that, but if we do not see and feel the nature and weight of this sorrow, we will not know how to pray for his presidency or speak as sojourners and exiles whose pattern of life is defined in heaven, not by the mood of the culture.”
The pastor went on to list Trump’s “immoral conduct,” mentioning Trump’s comments about adultery, claims that he mocked the disabled and disrespected women, his Trump University woes and a variety of other infractions, including “appealing to popular desires and prejudices rather than rational arguments.”
Piper also then answered an important question: “What is leadership?” noting that he believes leaders should set an example for others that shows what and how they should be, saying Trump’s behavior makes him the opposite of that sentiment. Piper also said leaders should be “dependable, trustworthy and reliable,” among other characteristics. Read his full commentary here.
The post concludes by asking people to pray for Trump — a call Piper made good on himself, gathering the staff at Desiring God on Friday and openly praying for Trump. Here’s just a snipped of that prayer, which was later published:
We ask that you would bring Donald Trump out of darkness and into light. Give him a spirit of brokenness and humility. “Unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:3). “Unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3). I pray that you would break his heart, give him humility, show him what it feels like to be penitent and to admit he’s done wrong — to confess he was wrong, ask forgiveness from you, and ask for forgiveness from the people that he’s wounded or people that he’s set a bad example for. He needs to be given the gift of faith and humility and repentance, and I pray that you would give it to him.
We’re not eager to have him as an adversary. We would like him as a brother. That will not be an easy transition for him. He’s a very wealthy man, and it hard for the rich to enter the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 19:23–24). But Lord, you are able. The disciples threw up their hands in dismay saying, “Who then can be saved?” You didn’t say, “Well, that’s a stupid question.” You said, “With man this is impossible.” Then, you entered the glorious news, “But with God all things are possible” — including our conversion and Donald Trump’s conversion (Matthew 19:25–26). That’s our big, overarching prayer: for the advance of your kingdom and salvation there and throughout this land.
Read and listen to the entire thing here.
Other critics such as Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, have mirrored this call for prayer in the wake of the inauguration. Moore published an op-ed in the Washington Post, urging readers to appeal to God. His comments are noteworthy, considering that he and Trump exchanged heated barbs during the 2016 campaign.
In the end, though, Moore didn’t focus on that conflict, instead calling on Americans of all stripes to join together in prayer.
.@drmoore Russell Moore is truly a terrible representative of Evangelicals and all of the good they stand for. A nasty guy with no heart!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 9, 2016
“As Donald Trump takes office as the 45th president of the United States, we should pray that his presidency is a great and good one. That prayer applies to all, whether someone voted for the current president or not,” he wrote. “Those who like the new president should pray that he governs so successfully that their hopes are realized. Those who don’t like the new president should pray that, at the end of his term if not before, they are surprised that they were wrong.”
And Jim Wallis, founder of Sojourners, a progressive Christian group, also posted an op-ed the day before the inauguration, addressing the two things he believes people of faith should do during Trump’s presidency. Wallis, who was openly critical of Trump in the piece, said Christians must “always protect vulnerable and marginalized people.” He also discussed race.
The love of money, sex, and power must not overtake the nation in a Trump era. Faith must stand up for itself https://t.co/2uPCcP5amt
— Jim Wallis (@jimwallis) January 20, 2017
“We should talk about our original sin, how it still lingers, and what repentance from our continuing racial sins might look like,” he wrote. “In a divided nation, people of faith must help lead the way, learning and showing how faith can and must triumph over race, that ‘Christian’ must come before ‘white’ and not the other way around.”
As Faithwire previously reported, many pastors have come alongside Trump and have even said he is authentically Christian, though debate over his actions and words — and whether or not they align with that sentiment — persists.
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