August 16, 2016
By Kristen Johnson
I read a post on Facebook recently which included a link to an article by Dr. James Dobson, in which the author of the post insists (and really believes) that Donald Trump has really and truly “accepted Christ” and is therefore now a Christian. I confess that I immediately bristled at the suggestion that Donald Trump is a Christian, because I think a lot about the verse Matthew 7:16 (NRSV): “You will know them by their fruits.” It’s difficult for me to see a whole lot of good “fruits” from Donald Trump when I constantly hear his misogynistic, racist, homophobic, anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim remarks.
It’s really hard to judge someone else based on their fruits, when I have my own fruits to think about. But, I guess that’s where we must begin. I was inspired to write today’s post because of a conversation I had last week with a very conservative Christian which included a little comment about President Jimmy Carter. I was irritated with the person I was talking to and I said that he was probably the only real Christian that we’ve had in office in my lifetime. (I admit that I shouldn’t have said it because it’s totally judgmental and a person’s experience with God is between them and God, but as I said – I was really irritated and spoke quickly.) Anyway, I admire President Carter greatly. He still works for Habitat for Humanity in his 90s, teaches Sunday School, vocally and strongly opposes the death penalty, is a deacon in his Church, has been married to the same woman since 1946, etc. All sounds Christian, right? Of course, he is also a third-generation Southern Baptist (which I think is just about the most conservative denomination out there) and yet he denounced them in 2000 for not allowing female pastors. (Let’s talk about the Apostle Paul’s view on this subject – keep reading my blog because I’ll be covering this subject for sure!) After my comment about his faith, my conservative Christian converser quipped back “well, he can’t possibly be a Christian. Because you can’t be a Liberal and a Christian too.”
Okay, so that’s a direct hit on my faith. I profess to be a Christian, a truly dedicated Methodist, and a real and true Liberal (based on my Christianity!) Although I have no need or desire to defend my faith…..let’s be honest. It’s pretty irritating that people question my faith constantly.
So, back to Donald Trump. Are his fruits showing his Christianity? Do Jimmy Carter’s fruits show his Christianity? More importantly, are my fruits showing my Christianity?
James 2:14-16 (NRSV):
14 What good is it, my brothers and sisters,[a] if you say you have faith but do not have works? Can faith save you? 15 If a brother or sister is naked and lacks daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and eat your fill,” and yet you do not supply their bodily needs, what is the good of that? 17 So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead.
Serve all with love.