I have felt compelled to write this special blog addressing the topic Evangelical Christianity and Donald Trump. Yesterday Donald Trump met with over 900 “Evangelical leaders” and revealed his “Evangelical Executive Advisory Board”- a group of 25 Evangelical leaders, which will advise Donald Trump on spiritual matters. I, personally, am not a politician (although I love the topic of politics). However, I am a theologian, and I am convinced when theology and politics intersect I am obligated as a member, and elder of the body of Christ, to speak on these issues and examine them according to God’s eternal word.
On my very first blog I had written about the theological inconsistencies, and irreverent conduct, of Donald Trump, and how his conduct was not befitting of a presidential candidate. Now I will discuss briefly some of the spiritual advisers of Donald Trump, and what this tell us about the Presidential candidate.
First, let us explore some of the names of these “spiritual advisers” on his “Evangelical Executive Advisory Board,” and some of their beliefs:
- Paula White: Paula White, who is known as the Senior Pastor of New Destiny Christian Center in Florida, and the television show that bears her name, praises the presumptive presidential nominee. Paula White is a proponent of what has become known as the “Prosperity gospel,” which is also known more commonly as the “Word of Faith” teaching. Gotquestions.org describes the teaching:
[The Prosperity Gospel is] the belief in the “force of faith.” It is believed words can be used to manipulate the faith-force, and thus actually create what they believe Scripture promises (health and wealth). Laws supposedly governing the faith-force are said to operate independently of God’s sovereign will and that God Himself is subject to these laws. This is nothing short of idolatry, turning our faith—and by extension ourselves—into god.
This doctrine teaches that your words create reality, and if you have enough faith you can garner the power to create prosperity in your health and finances. This doctrine teaches you, essentially, that you are a “little god,” which is explained by the next individuals on the “Evangelical Executive Advisory Board” below.
2. Kenneth and Gloria Copeland: Kenneth and Gloria Copeland, who are the founders of Kenneth Copeland Ministries, are also promoters of the “Word of Faith” teaching like Paula White. Kenneth Copeland, in his series titled,”Following The Faith of Abraham Part I” Kenneth Copeland said this about Adam, the first man God created:
“God’s reason for creating Adam was His desire to reproduce Himself. I mean a reproduction of Himself, and in the Garden of Eden He did just that. He was not a little like God. He was not almost like God. He was not subordinate to God even. . . . Adam is as much like God as you could get, just the same as Jesus. . . . Adam, in the Garden of Eden, was God manifested in the flesh.”
Other spiritual advisers of Donald Trump include: Mark Burns, another person who preaches the prosperity gospel, Jentzen Franklin, Tom Mullins, who believes that God is using Glenn Beck, a devout Mormon, and Robert Morris, Senior Pastor of Gateway Church in Dallas Texas, who in October 2013 told his congregants that if they do not tithe 10 percent that their money is “cursed” by God:
Don’t give the first portion [of your income] to the mortgage company because the mortgage company does not have the power to bless your finances. Only God does. Don’t give the first portion to the electric company, the electric company cannot bless your finances, only God can. Would you rather live with 100% of your income and all of it cursed, or 90% of your income and all of it blessed. That’s what the Bible says.
3. Michele Bachmann: Michele Bachmann, who was formerly a Minnesota state senator, and a former presidential candidate in the 2012 election, stated she had direct revelation from God. Instead of looking to God’s objective (and sufficient) word found in the Scriptures, she claimed she “knew” by prayer that God wanted her to introduce a marriage amendment in her state. She has also embraced what has become known as “Dominionism Theology,“ and once said she had a vision she should be married to her present husband, while her husband had a similar vision at the same time.
Now that we observed some of the people on his “Evangelical Executive Advisory Board,” I want to briefly touch on the main theological influence of Donald Trump. The theology of Donald Trump comes from a man named Norman Vincent Peale. Peale’s claim to fame is a book titled a Power of Positive Thinking, which was published in 1952. Norman Vincent Peale believed in what he called “Positive Thinking,” and took ideas from Christian Science, as Tim Challies notes:
[Norman Vincent Peale] took existing ideas from Christian Science and other inspirations, gave them a biblical veneer, integrated them with psychology, and packaged them for the masses, spreading his message through The Power of Positive Thinking and his other works. His foremost contribution to the world was this notion that thoughts are causative, that our thoughts can change our lives, our health, our destiny. Readers were thrilled with this notion that if they believed it, they could have it, or be it, or do it.
Norman Vincent Peale’s teachings, just like the teaching of the “Prosperity gospel,” are contrary to what Sacred Scripture says. The Bible does not teach that our words, or thoughts, create reality (this is more akin to New Age/mind science cult thought). The instruction of “positive thinking” is also very similar to the “Word of Faith” doctrine that was addressed above.
I understand we are not voting for a “Pastor and Chief.” I also understand Donald Trump is not “perfect.” However these are not the arguments that I am making. Donald Trump, in his attempt to build a broad coalition of Republican support among Evangelicals, is touting himself as a supporter of Biblical truth, and those who surround him are attempting to establish him as a bulwark of religious freedom. However the company he keeps to advise him leaves much to be desired in terms of true Biblical truth. The apostle Paul told Timothy in 1 Timothy 4:16:
Until next time…
Soli Deo Gloria!