Preaching for Pastor Robert Jeffress at First Baptist Church in Dallas this past Sunday, former president Donald Trump said,
“Our country needs a savior right now. And our country has a savior. And it’s not me. It’s somebody much higher up than me. Much higher.”
Yes, much, much higher, indeed. Can we say “Amen” to that?
The truth be told, the Savior is on a completely different level than Donald Trump (or any other world leader, or human being, for that matter).
He is not just much, much higher up. And greater. And wiser. And holier. And more powerful. He is infinitely higher up. And greater. And wiser. And holier. And more powerful.
In fact, the distance between Donald Trump on his very best day (or, any of us on our very best day) and Jesus Himself is the distance of infinity.
He is God. We are not. That about says it all.
All of us really do need saving, desperately. And only He is the Savior.
That’s why I’m glad that, on this Christmas-themed message, the former president pointed at the Lord rather than himself.
America’s wounds are too deep and our problems are too great. And Trump did well to point to Jesus, not himself, while speaking at a church on a Sunday morning.
Of course, many would object to him speaking behind on a pulpit in any church service.
Others would object to some of the political content of his message, especially his bashing of the current administration.
But let’s put those issues aside.
America does not simply need a better president. And better elected officials. And better judges. And better . . . well, you name it.
That’s because America does not simply need improvement. America needs saving – and by that I do not mean that we set up some kind of Christian theonomy. That would be a disaster.
I mean that we need Jesus, personally and corporately. I mean that we need serious, deep, life and death help.
We need radical transformation. We need holy upheaval. We need sweeping spiritual visitation. We need the Lord.
Without His intervention, we are doomed. With His merciful help, the tide can be turned and future generations can have hope.
Trump also said in his speech, “The life and death and resurrection of Jesus Christ forever changed the world. And it’s impossible to think of the life of our own country without the influence of His example and of His teachings. Our miraculous founding, overcoming civil war, abolishing slavery, defeating communism and fascism, reaching boundless heights of science and discovery, so many incredible things.”
He continued, “None of this could have ever happened without Jesus Christ and his followers and his Church. None of it. And we have to remember that Jesus Christ is the ultimate source of our strength and of our hope and here and everywhere and for all time.”
He really is the ultimate source – actually, the only source – for sure.
When I wrote Donald Trump Is Not My Savior: An Evangelical Leader Speaks His Mind About the Man He Supports as President in 2018, it was not meant as an attack on our president, as the subtitle indicated. s
That’s why the book ended with these words: “Donald Trump is not our Savior. But he is our president, and as such, one of the most powerful men in the world. Let’s not scorn him; let’s not glorify him; and by all means, let’s not give up on him.”
But there was a message I wanted to proclaim to the watching world, especially to those who asked, “How could you, an evangelical, vote for a man like Trump?”
And my message was simple: Jesus the Messiah, not Donald Trump, died for my sins, and I have one Savior and one Savior alone. He is the one I preach and proclaim. He is the one I will follow regardless of cost or consequence. He alone is my Lord.
As Paul wrote, “For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake” (2 Corinthians 4:5).
The more loudly and clearly we proclaim this, the sharper and clearer our perspective will be and the better our hearers will understand our message.
That’s why one of the 10 closing points in my 2020 book Evangelicals at the Crossroads: Will We Pass the Trump Test?, was this: “We must proclaim that Donald Trump is our president, not our Savior.”
I added, “This, of course, is self-evident to any devoted Christian. We owe our souls to the Savior, not the president. Yet this is a message we need to make clear to the world, preaching Jesus and exalting Jesus and focusing on Jesus rather than preaching Trump and exalting Trump and focusing on Trump.
“We can have our political discussions. And we will certainly have our political disagreements, some of them sharp. But at the end of the day, let’s make it a point to say to those we differ with, ‘Hey, we can have our passionate debates about the president, but there’s something much more important. How are you doing? How is your relationship with God? And who is Jesus to you? He is everything to me.’
“Let Him be our theme. Let His name be mentioned through the day. Let Him be the one who drives our passion. And let’s be sure to help everyone know, without any doubt, that we identify with Jesus, our totally perfect Redeemer, infinitely more than we identify with Trump, our very imperfect president.
“It’s also crucial that our attitudes reflect this reality, that our hope for the nation is in the Lord, not in a man, that our expectations are tied in with the name of Jesus, not the name of Trump. And let’s remember that, on that final great day, the entire universe will bow down and confess Jesus as Lord, willingly or unwillingly. At that moment, not only will the name of Trump be forgotten, along with all of our names, but no one will notice him among the billions bowing the knee with awe and wonder. Only Jesus is Lord. Only Jesus saves. Donald Trump is just one of many billions created by the Son and for the whom the Son died. Let us not lose our perspective.”
Can I get an “Amen”?