Evangelicals at the Crossroads: Will We Pass the Trump Test? Paperback – July 13, 2020
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With all the sound and fury from always-Trump people and anti-Trump people I have looked for a voice that reflects my views, a spiritual voice, a reasonable voice and sober voice. I have found that voice in the writing of Dr. Mike Brown on President Trump. He is the one person I recommend without reservation. Read his book to gain a solid perspective. --Daniel Juster, Director, Tikkun International
About the Author
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This is the title of Mike Brown's new book. It is the best I have seen on Evangelicals and the issue of voting for Donald Trump. Before Mike wrote this, I wrote a long post as a final word on my concerns and ultimately why I come down on voting for Trump but with reservations. I mentioned four categories of people who are pro and anti Trump among believers in Yeshua. Now Dr. Brown has written a powerful summary. Here is what he covers and with brilliance and perception.
1. The case for voting for Donald Trump.
2. The prophetic words and Donald Trump
3. The importance of speaking the truth on the destructive aspects of Donald Trump and not buying into silence as a means of support as if these matters are not important.
4. Keeping a right heart and balance so that politics and patriotism does not become idolatry. The central focus reaming Yeshua, repentance and revival.
5. Staying godly and keeping friendships with believers who disagree if they are willing. Our unity in Yeshua is more important than even the national issues before us.
6. Why we are called to political responsibility and cultural influence but not to make this the center focus of our lives.
I could say more but there is no book on Trump with which I more agree. I have had friends upset with me for being for Trump even with my qualifications. Other friends have been upset with me for calling out the destructive things Trump does as hurting the cause of our culture battles. Mike argues that if we do not call him out on the destructive things, we hurt the cause of the Gospel. I have friends who have been anti-Trump but agree that I have some good arguments. I don't know why but these folks are rare. They do exist. It seems that few anti-Trump people are given to solid reasoning on the issues, but seem blinded by their antipathy to Trump.
I can not recommend this book too highly. Somehow when Brown deals with an issue he is able to provide thorough research and also is able to provide prophetic insight and power. Please get this book. Also available electronically. Daniel Juster, Restoration from Zion
In his attest book Brown seeks to explain why this election is so crucial, and why a vote for the Democrats will be so detrimental to Americans and to America itself. In this volume he offers 17 short, punchy and well-referenced chapters dealing with a number of concerns, such as:
“Since When Was Loyalty to Trump the Dividing Line for Christians?”
“Does Character Still Count and Does Morality Still Matter?”
“Does a Vote for Trump Really Hurt Our Witness?”
“What Would Bonhoeffer Do?”
“What If Hillary Had Been Elected?”
Consider his chapter on “Since When Was Loyalty to Trump the Dividing Line for Christians?” He notes that both Trump supporters and Trump opponents can use their views on Trump as some sort of litmus test for Christian orthodoxy. Neither should be the case, and he urges us to insist upon biblical balance.
He closes this chapter with these words: “We can vote for Trump and support his presidency without doing so blindly. And we can stand with the president without becoming like the president. There’s quite a difference between the two.”
In his chapter on “Have We Failed the Love Test?” he again demonstrates how both sides have been guilty of unbiblical behaviour. He says this: “I do believe in fighting, but not the way the world fights. As Paul wrote, ‘We are human, but we don’t wage war as humans do’ (2 Corinthians 10:3, NLT).”
In another chapter contrasting pro-Trump cultists with anti-Trump cultists (and yes they do exist in both camps) Brown again seeks to move us away from extremes and into the biblical middle ground: “Personally, I do believe that there are many Trump supporters (including evangelicals) who seem to have a cult-like devotion to him, passionately defending him no matter what. . . . On the other hand, there are plenty of Trump supporters who are anything but cult-like in their support of him. They freely express their differences with him. They publicly bemoan his tweets and comments. They wish he would not shoot himself in the foot so often. And they make clear that they are voting against the radical left more than they are voting for him.”
Later in that chapter he makes it quite clear that there is such a thing as Trump Derangement Syndrome. Brown, I and countless others know all too well that this sickness exists: simply dare to say something favourable about Trump and all hell will break loose. He really does seem to be the most hated president ever.
Of course this is a book on politics as much as on Christianity, so Brown has good reasons for urging us to vote for Trump. Early on he lists a number of his many vital accomplishments in his first term, and in his chapter on what a Clinton win would have looked like he reminds us of some hard truths: “Obviously, none of us know for sure what would have happened had Hillary Clinton been elected, but we can be almost certain that: 1) she would have nominated pro-abortion, pro-LGBT liberals to the Supreme Court and other federal courts; 2) she would have kept in place President Obama’s aggressive LGBT-activist policies in our children’s schools; 3) she would have strengthened Planned Parenthood; 4) her Justice Department and Attorney General would not have sided with conservative Christians in legal disputes.”
And a Biden win will be even worse of course, as he allows himself to be moved to the hard left by his hyper-progressive colleagues. But religious leftists think that a Biden win would be great. So Brown is forced to ask some hard questions in his chapter on “When the Left Demonizes the Right”:
“Why is it fine for Christians on the left to be involved politically but not Christians on the right? Why are the ‘progressive’ Christians who mix politics with religion doing something noble while the conservative Christians who do the same are trying to establish a theocracy? Why are the leftwing Christians who supported Obama or Hillary viewed as altruistic and selfless while the rightwing Christians who support Trump are viewed as power hungry white nationalists? Why the double standard? And why the extreme judgmentalism?”
Good questions indeed. In this book he asks many important questions. And since he asks them primarily of Christians, his concluding chapter is quite crucial by way of wrapping things up. In it he offers us “Ten Essential Keys for Passing the Trump Test”. Some of them are:
-We must clearly and emphatically put the cross before the flag.
-We must proclaim that Donald Trump is our president, not our Savior.
-We must put greater emphasis on spiritual activity than on political activity.
-We must regain our prophetic voice.
-We must unite around Jesus rather than divide over Trump.
-We must lead the nation in repentance, knowing that repentance prepares the way of the Lord, opening a path for revival, visitation, and awakening.
As should be clear by now, this book shows us that Brown is not being one-eyed. He is fully aware of the many weaknesses and deficiencies in Trump. He also understands that politics is not everything. But he is also a biblical realist, knowing that in a fallen world we are not dealing with perfect people, but with quite flawed people.
Therefore we have to make do with what is on offer in this election. And in this book Brown shows us how utterly contrasting our two main options are. So we must carefully and prayerfully seek to do the right thing come November 3. The election result - however it goes - may not be the end of the world, but it may be the end of America.
As always, Christians need to keep the big picture - the biblical picture - in mind. And Brown does just that throughout this book. Thank you Michael Brown for bringing much-needed biblical, political, moral and intellectual clarity to one of the most divisive moments in American history. This is indeed a watershed moment, and what you have to say in this book offers us a very useful roadmap for how Christians – and others – should proceed.