Posted Dec 19, 2019 by Michael L. Brown

Do you recall the words of candidate Donald Trump, specifically, that he could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and he wouldn’t lose voters? Well, if you are a Christian supporter of Trump, as I am, you now have your “Fifth Avenue” moment. How will you respond?

Before I explain what I’m talking about, let me make my own viewpoints clear.

After strongly opposing Trump in the primaries, I voted for him in 2016, and I support him as my president. I have also stated that, if the elections in 2020 were between Trump and one of the current Democratic candidates, he would get my vote.

I also believe that the Democrats have been intent on impeaching Trump since he was inaugurated (really, since he was elected). And I do not believe he has committed impeachable offenses.

So, I am not a Trump basher in any sense of the word. And while I will make an appeal to the president in this article, my focus is on my fellow-believers, in particular, those who claim to be Bible-believing Christians.

And that brings me to the “Fifth Avenue” moment of which I speak.

In his large rally in Michigan the night of the impeachment, President Trump related how he honored the late Democratic Rep. John Dingell, from Michigan, when he died earlier this year, lowering the flags to half-mast.

Trump then said that his widow, Debbie Dingell, now a Michigan Democratic Representative herself, called him. “That’s the nicest thing that ever happened,” she said. “Thank you so much. John would be so thrilled. He’s looking down. He’d be so thrilled.”

Then Trump spoke these words, which have created an instant firestorm and even deflected some of the attention from the impeachment: “Maybe he’s looking up,” Trump said. “I don’t know. ... But let’s assume he’s looking down.”

What? The President of the United States suggests that John Dingell might be in hell? He cracks a joke at the expense of Dingell’s widow, who is about to experience her first Christmas without her husband since their marriage in 1981? He disparages a World War II veteran who served his country for years?

My appeal to the president, of course, is simple: “Please, sir, acknowledge how wrong this was and issue a public apology, without qualification. That, Mr. President, would be in keeping with the dignity of your office.”

My issue, however, is not so much with Mr. Trump as it is with Christians who found his comments funny. Who laughed at them and saw nothing wrong. Who may have even said, “Yeah, who knows? Maybe the man is in hell!”

This is the proof that you have drunk the Trump-can-do-no-wrong Kool-Aid (just as many on the left are suffering from Trump Derangement Syndrome). This is the proof that your allegiance to Trump, in this instance, is greater than your allegiance to the Savior. This is the proof that, by finding this comment funny, you are in the flesh, not the Spirit.

You might say to me, “Get off your self-righteous horse! This is a battle for the soul of our nation, and this whole impeachment process is of the devil. This is when we need to stand with the president, not get into legalist nitpicking. Throw stones at the Democrats, not the president.”

But that’s the whole point.

I want to stand with the president.

I want to defend him against his attackers.

I want to expose the wrongness of the impeachment process.

But when he says things like this, integrity requires that I speak out.

Of course, if I had direct access to the president, which I don’t – I’ve never met him or been in the same room with him – I would reach out to him personally.

But to repeat, my issue here is not so much with the president’s words, which, as much as they disappoint me do not surprise me. My issue here is how we reacted to those words.

To me, this is where we make our priorities known, not to appease the Trump-haters, which will never happen, but to honor the Lord.

Some things are not funny, and a person’s eternal fate is not one of them. And would Trump have implied for a split second that John Dingell might not have been in heaven had his widow voted against impeachment? (For the record, only God knows where Mr. Dingell is right now and where he will be forever. I recommend that none of us play God and presume to know. We also don’t know if the deceased are aware of everything that is happening here on earth.)

Can you imagine if the shoe were on the other foot? If Hillary Clinton had made a similar comment?

How would you, as a Bible-believing Christian react? Would you be outraged? Mortified? Would this be proof to you of Hillary’s depravity? You might well say, “She is not just crooked. She is downright evil!”

Then how is it funny when President Trump makes this very comment?

Let me say it again: My intent is not to hit the president when he is down, and I am absolutely not on the side of those who impeached him. In fact, it might well turn out that his impeachment will help him win a massive victory in 2020. So be it.

But to my fellow-Christians I make this earnest appeal.

Search your hearts and ask yourself if you have, on any level, sold your soul in allegiance to Trump.

Without a doubt, he has exposed the hatred of the leftwing media and the radicality of the Democratic Party. And he has exposed just how deep the swamp is in D.C.

But he has also exposed carnality in the Church. We dare not lose our Christian sensitivities out of allegiance to the president. Not only is he not our Savior, as I have written before, but he is not Jesus. (That’s why I won’t compare his impeachment with the crucifixion.)

So, I will stand with President Trump as he stands for what is right. I will cheer him on as he fights courageously for good causes. And I will applaud his backbone of steel as he refuses to wither under unrelenting attack.

But I will not laugh when he insults the dead or mocks a widow. Neither should you, if Jesus is your Lord.

Plenty of other voices will be bashing the impeachment process and calling out the Democrats. My voice is not needed to add to that chorus. But it is needed when believers lose their conscience in the midst of today’s political madness.

So, revile me if you like. It is the Lord I seek to please, not people.


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Jay500 posted a comment · Jan 05, 2020
To Dr. Mark Wills..... You claim that any “Christian who stands with Trump, rather than rebuke him, is evidence that their allegiance to policy is greater than their allegiance to righteousness.” This assessment is really confounding the issue. It is because we believe in Christ and his word is the very reason why we should wholeheartedly support any policy that aligns with our beliefs and principles. Many of us voted for Trump to be President of the U.S., not to be our 'spiritual advisor' or a Christian leader. Like all of us, he has his faults and sins. Regardless, he has shown unusual perseverance and integrity to follow through in keeping his promises made to the American people. The problem with your evaluation is that you don’t seem to comprehend that his policies are, for the most part, righteous in nature. It is not compromise to support a leader who is imperfect, yet whose foundation is in alignment to truth. No leader is perfect. That’s why we are to pray for our leaders in the areas they need prayer for. Second, you don’t seem to have any discernment that distinguishes immaturity from disobedience. In Titus 3 Paul is addressing a believer whose sin is disruptive to a local assembly of believers. The president’s motives and actions do not correlate. He is most definitely not rebellious against Gods mandates, even though, perhaps, immature in how he goes about supporting it. Yes, he is harsh against many who are for the most part antichrist in spirit. He isn’t God, he isn’t perfect, but neither was Paul, David or Peter. And they were spiritual leaders. And they too were harsh in their words against the wicked. He is our executive in chief for our nation and unlike most of his predecessors, he’s a fighter. This can be disconcerting since he holds no bars when dealing with his opponents, especially when they’re corrupt and deceptive. They try to exploit and take advantage of his unrefined mannerisms and unwise statements while diminishing or mischaracterizing his accomplishments. Yet all the while Trump is educating us in reality. His threat is not to this country or to democracy, but to the arrogant who have been making those particular allegations against him. They have for too long been the status quo, but only recently have been revealed in being delusional and the real threat to this nation’s future. He is a realist who has been trying to expose this. To be insecure to support such a leader because we’re afraid as to how it may give us a bad testimony (or in reality how we think it makes us look in the eyes of others) may be more revealing of a lack of character on our part. (substance in your soul). God is bigger than this, and is not insecure, but is actually testing hearts in a valley of decisions. It’s not an issue of being loyal to a man, but to be supportive when someone dares to stand in the gap. Whenever he supports what we believe, we stand with him. If he seems to go off the plantation, sure, let people know, if they ask, that you don’t condone it. It may perhaps be immaturity on his part, as far being a believer, if he actually is saved (God knows for sure). But at the same time, his primary MO has been thus far, and for the most part, to be true to principles that aligns with God’s. That does not characterize a disobedient servant. Maybe you can’t stand his personality traits, or the way he expresses himself. Well then perhaps it’s time to grow up to stand with truth, to dare to go beyond your own preferences and be a mature believer in Christ, and not allow a person’s personality traits to deter you in supporting what really matters, other people’s opinions be damned. It’s not an issue of endorsing things that should have not been said, or to allow ourselves to be carnal, desensitized or dummied down. It’s being real in the middle of a battle where we ought to be diligent to not to let our guards down, to have discernment, to have guts, to be spiritual, to be salt. Whether he became a believer or not, he’s facing more pressure than most presidents ever had. And unlike most, he sees clearly the unrighteousness that permeates the government, media and society. And unlike most presidents, he is a fighter. As such, we don’t withdraw from spiritual warfare when it comes to politics. There is no separation between the secular and the sacred. The enemy doesn’t draw any lines there and neither should we. Of course we should be occupied with the great commission to share Christ whenever we can to individuals. Yet we are also citizens of this nation and as such should take every opportunity to be available to give a voice whenever we can to provide support for our leaders when they are in alignment to truth. We are not of this world, yet we are most definitely in it.
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DrMarkWill posted a comment · Dec 31, 2019
Sir, while I appreciate your valor in speaking out on this singular atrocity of Trump's behavior, my personal opinion is that it is merely perfunctory. There is an abundance of instances that should cause any bible-believing Christian to rebuke Trump's actions - his self-proclamation of being the "Chosen One" should not be the least of them. The bible clearly tells us to seek after the fruit of the spirit & to shun the works of the flesh (Galatians 5). Trump exhibits none of the former but embodies nearly all of the latter. Yet, you desire to "stand with" Trump as you've reiterated emphatically in your article. How can two walk together unless they be agreed? Your statement of allegiance is a yolk which suggest that you are either unconsciously equally yolked with the multiplicity of his offensive behaviors or are consciously yolked to his policies by the sacrifice of your soul (or at least your Christian witness). That Christians "stand with" rather than rebuke Trump is evidence that their allegiance to policy is greater than their allegiance to righteousness. Titus 3:10 adjures us to warn a divisive person twice and if he still doesn't change, to have nothing to do with him - not "stand with him" because you like his policies. God could care less about man's policies & laws. His ultimate desire is that we follow His law. Instead, what you & many other White Evangelicals have done is to compromise God's commandments/laws to enact man's. To me, that is sacrilegious and borderline blasphemous. Paul concludes his letter to the church at Thessolonica by admonishing the disciples to not associate with believers that are disruptive and don't follow the teachings of Christ so they might be ashamed and correct their ways. He encourages us to not treat them as an enemy but to warn them as a fellow believer. Assuming Trump is a believer, as you afforded him that benefit in your article, he has yet to be shamed by the dissociation of his White Evangelical base. His continued malfeasance and defamation of the Christian witness is the product of misguided and ill-convicted Christians who remain in silent assent to his behavior.
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Jay500 posted a comment · Dec 22, 2019
I guess, then, that sets you up to be more qualified? Job 12:2
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Sharon C posted a comment · Dec 22, 2019
We Christians ought to be able to agree that the comment was inappropriate. And contrary to some of the comments here, Trump is the last person who is qualified to make any kind of judgment on a person's eternal destiny.
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neptune posted a comment · Dec 21, 2019
Very insightful comments, Jay500. As you pointed out, there's a much larger picture to be had here. And I agree that we shouldn't have a knee-jerk reaction every time Trump says something offensive. As Brown pointed out, we do bring godly criticism to bear whenever it's warranted, but it's important to remember Trump's carnal background and not expect him to suddenly change overnight. Yes, as many have speculated, he may well be a new believer—only God knows for sure. Anyway, in spite of Trump's many flaws and coarseness, God seems to be using him to accomplish a lot of things that might never have been accomplished without him as our President. It's important that we try to keep him (as well as our other leaders in government) in our prayers.
Princeton University posted a comment · Dec 21, 2019
You have expressed my feelings precisely. I supported Ted Cruz in the primaries. Suffice it to say that diplomacy and theology are not President Trump's strong suits. We must continue to pray for Trump, and for America.
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Jay500 posted a comment · Dec 21, 2019
Why is it no surprise to me what the president said? At this point I ask myself “should I be offended?” I’ve always hoped he would guard his mouth better, but the fact is, after time I’ve come to realize that he is who he is. That doesn’t necessarily mean that I have become desensitized or carnal, making excuses for some of the things he says. As well, probably in greater measure, I also take into account the decisions he’s made as president, decisions that really matter, which gives me pause and a better understanding, a better grasp of what is going on here. If he is a believer, which I tend to think he may have become, and of that only recently, I realize that he likely had the ego he’s had for so many of the years he’s been a successful businessman. I also realize that for some, especially those like him, it may take time to be conformed into His image. Like so many with gifts and remarkable abilities, there’s so much of himself still there in spite of what we expect of a leader, a decent human being, let alone a believer in Christ. Yet Dave Wilkerson did have to show a great amount of patience with Nicky Cruz, when after getting saved, he still reacted to the taunts of rival gang members by handing him his bible to beat on them. Even still, my wife got saved at one of his rallies. After so many years I’ve known many types of believers. I believe that one of the major problems with the church at large is the issue when morality takes precedence over genuine spirituality and understanding from a divine perspective. For some of us, we tend to allow our “convictions” to override wisdom, and have a mindset that hasn’t yet fully grasped that for many, greater grace is more necessary. Those who love thy law, nothing shall offend them. Righteous indignation is perfect for the right time, but moral indignation is another matter. It can become a hinderance, rather than profitable for a Bible believer. In short, we shouldn’t necessarily agree with some of the things the president says, and should always pray for our leaders as we have been instructed to. In his case I would ask that he would have greater peace and wisdom. Yet, as well, we should also seek understanding in order to have a more mature outlook on how God sees these things from His throne, rather than be overwrought with offensive remarks when there’s a greater perspective to be had.
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Louis posted a comment · Dec 21, 2019
Absolutely spot on. Other commentors, what are you doing? We shouldn't find such vulgarity funny! This is being of the world. We need to live to God's standard, stop compromising! If you don't hold your elected leader to high moral standards, you're saying you're happy with the culture liberalism has created; one of disrespect and instant gratification. Like laughing at jokes at the expense of widows. God help us. Jesus help us not to compromise.
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pastor_marc posted a comment · Dec 20, 2019
Once again Dr you have showen to be leaning left.
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Nathaniel posted a comment · Dec 20, 2019
Yes Trump’s comments were in very poor taste. So is Christian support of his unchristian behaviour. We cannot assume to fight a good fight using fleshly means. That just makes us poor ambassadors of Jesus. Lord help us! My point is to the person who misrepresented Hell disregarding scripture & it’s author. Jesus spoke more of Hell than Heaven. His words were not figuratively spoken. He was simple, clear & concise. We don’t get to choose to rewrite Jesus’ words. Some of them are hard to hear! But they are no less his words or true. Since childhood I have had little faith in the leanings of others, especially large influencers, inside or outside the church. The Word of God is our primary measure of truth. End of story. I have seen & heard too much ear-tickling “truth” in my lifetime. It’s the same for me when I stand to preach and need to deal with difficult issues. Here is what I say, “I love you, but I want His approval more. So I will give you His truth aside from my or man’s opinion.”
Deancooper posted a comment · Dec 20, 2019
Telling a joke -- albeit in poor taste -- is a "'Fifth Avenue' moment"? I wish I could say *you* are joking, but apparently not. What's funny to me is that you come from New York and you don't seem to get Trump's humor. If Hilary had said something similar -- in the same style as Trump -- I would have smiled as well. Goodness, I can't help but wonder if Jesus would smile too. Alas, my wife says it wasn't funny. And you seem pretty upset by it. But I don't know. It seems funny to me. Not that I desire Mr Dingell to be in hell mind you. What's really funny, is that holiness is a big deal to me. But I don't expect holiness from Trump and some things are.. well dark humor has always seemed pretty funny to me. Remember Dr. Strangelove? And please, let's not smile thinking about that! I'm not. Keeping my mouth closed. And not letting the smile form. No I'm not. Honest.
Melchizedek posted a comment · Dec 20, 2019
OK, I confess, I would never in a million years of said anything remotely like that to someone's widow, especially in public. But, let's be frank, we all know that Dingell the Democrat abortion supporter is looking up at us. He voted against prohibiting the transportation of minors across state lines to perform abortions on them, which facilitates child sex trafficking. He voted for so-called partial birth abortion. "Rated 0% by the NRLC, indicating a pro-choice stance." He wasn't so bad on the 2nd Amendment, but that is hardly a decent offset for his otherwise down the line support of liberal Democrat policies.
mbabbitt posted a comment · Dec 20, 2019
I think President Trump said was in bad taste but should I be offended? No. I want to pray for his repentance from such behavior. I am so sick of people being offended. That's when there is a carnal me to be offended. We are supposed to better than that. I pray that God will infuse him with greater wisdom and peace inside. I think that is a better response.
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neptune posted a comment · Dec 20, 2019
I agree that Trump's comments were appalling. While we're on the topic of "hell," though, I'd also like to point out something else that most modern Christians aren't aware of. The Early Church (i.e., in the first few centuries after the Resurrection) overall understood the Scriptures MUCH better than we do today. Now let's ask a critical question—did most of the Early Church believe in eternal punishment? The shocking answer: no. Of the six main sects in the Early Church, apparently one (and only one) was decidedly in favor of eternal punishment. The others had different views—some believed that there would be punishment of the wicked, but that it would not be eternal. Anyway, to learn more about what the Early Church *really* believed about life after death, please check out the book "Universalism, the Prevailing Doctrine of the Christian Church During Its First Five Hundred Years" by J. W. Hanson. This book, even though it's written in older English, presents the historical case very well.
B.W. posted a comment · Dec 20, 2019
I agree..... no reviling from me!
B.W. posted a comment · Dec 20, 2019
"TRUMP NOT IMPEACHED" "As for the headlines we saw after the House vote saying, “TRUMP IMPEACHED,” those are a media shorthand, not a technically correct legal statement. So far, the House has voted to impeach (future tense) Trump. He isn’t impeached (past tense) until the articles go to the Senate and the House members deliver the message." "Strictly speaking, “impeachment” occurred – and occurs -- when the articles of impeachment are presented to the Senate for trial. And at that point, the Senate is obliged by the Constitution to hold a trial." Noah Feldman
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SteveF posted a comment · Dec 20, 2019
Once again you have hit the nail on the head. The b.o. of the world has ruined or diluted the testimony of many and sadly many are not even aware of it. Carnal ones, please get some spiritual deodorant and put it on. Rom.12:2
B.W. posted a comment · Dec 20, 2019
President Trump remarks were in bad taste irregardless of who he is! I also recognize the deafening march of the corrupt rogue house democrat leadership! invisible to the multitudes that blindly follow just short of worship them ! sad also President Trump is not really impeached ! it has to move to the Senate to be completed! the process is un finished lol def: kan·ga·roo court /ˈˌkaNGɡəˈro͞o ˌkôrt/ an unofficial court held by a group of people in order to try someone regarded, especially without good evidence, as guilty of a "crime" or misdemeanor. "they conducted a kangaroo court there and then" BW
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words2yz posted a comment · Dec 20, 2019
Trump maligned John McCain after he died,. he maligned Elijah Cummings after he died. He is a malignant, reprehensible, and should be removed !!
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Swkh310 posted a comment · Dec 19, 2019
"ask yourself if you have, on any level, sold your soul"... If you supported the creature during the election process, no. If you continue to support the creature now, after three years of the most relentless un-Godly, un-Holy behavior, yes. You have sold your soul to the Devil incarnate, Dr. Faust.
czarpaul posted a comment · Dec 19, 2019
I will condemn the TIMING of the words and the reaction. BUT since I don't know what MR Dingell believed I think it is fair to question his destination. We shouldn't just assume every good person gets to heaven or everyone who claims to know christ gets there. (many will say Lord Lord did we not...) More christians should be quicker to question the status of someone after death than to default to 'they are with God now'. Maybe then we wouldn't have so many believing that all GOOD people get to heaven irregardless of what they believe! Yes many a person we think is in heaven is now sitting in the fires of hell. Narrow is the way and straight the gate and FEW will find it. doesn't sound like heaven is bursting at the seams with people. We are so afraid to offend someone we don't dare tell them the truth 'your brother, sister, father, mother, cousin, friend or college is in HELL right now. and if you don't want the same fate you must come to christ now'. I think the money in the collection plate is too much of a draw for pastors so they would rather keep the money flowing than stand for the truth.