Trump is a baby Christian!?!?

For evangelicals, ‘accepting Christ’ is at the heart of becoming a genuine Christian, and refers to acknowledging sin and declaring the need for Jesus Christ as savior . . . the expectation evangelicals have is of a radical change, a 180-degree turn from the life of sin to following Christ. — NYTimes

This defines the problem I have with evangelical Christianity. The above quote comes from an interview with James Dobson where he claims that Trump has recently accepted Christ and is a baby Christian.

Let’s look at the quote.

To an evangelical, accepting Christ means that you acknowledge that you sin and that you need Jesus to save you. The problem with this, as the Epistle of James explains, even “devils” know these facts. “Facts” is all they are. Knowing facts about Jesus and believing Jesus was who he said he was is nice, but it in no way makes one a follower of Jesus. In like manner, knowing facts about yourself (that you screw up) in no way makes you a follower of Jesus. Even being sorry that you screw up in no way makes you a follower of Jesus.

You actually have to follow Jesus to be a follower of Jesus.  By the way, followers of Jesus screw up all the time.  

In the early days of Christianity, when someone wanted to come into the community of Christians, they were taught what it meant to be a follower of Jesus. They were taught all the things that Jesus taught. They were told they’d need to love – even their enemies, to serve others, to give up their own desires for the desires of Christ, and to put the concerns of others before their own concerns. When they were ready to make a commitment to following the way of Jesus, knowing that they did not have the power within themselves, but that the Holy Spirit would indwell and empower them, then they were baptized into the community. This decision was often met with a hefty bit of persecution by outsiders who didn’t like this radical way of living. It was not an easy or trivial decision to make.

Evangelicals today treat becoming a Christian like believing in fairies. All you have to do is believe hard enough, be sorry enough, and voila you are a baby Christian. Part of this is because they translate scripture to say, “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ,” when the phrase is better translated “Trust in the Lord Jesus Christ.” Believe has magic fairy dust sprinkled all over it – the term baby Christian kind of fits. Trust, however, connotes complete commitment to the person of Christ and the way of life that Jesus taught. It is an intentional informed adult decision (though children are capable of making it).

I don’t know what goes on in any of the political candidates’ spiritual lives. Nor do I care to judge Trump. But I know that no 180-degree turn is going to happen by mastering a set of facts. Jesus put it this way:

For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not first sit down and estimate the cost, to see whether he has enough to complete it?  . . .  So therefore, none of you can become my disciple if you do not give up all your possessions. — Jesus (Luk 14:28-33)

Jesus wants us to count the cost and then make a decision to follow him. And uh oh. That decision anticipates sacrificing everything. Is Trump willing to give up all his possessions? Am I?

How many of us really want to be followers of Jesus?

Check out April’s Books, Disorderly Bible Studies, for group and individual study.

3 thoughts on “Trump is a baby Christian!?!?

  1. I am not sure that I will have to right words to say, but I want to acknowledge all that you are going through. And offer encouragement though I am not sure I will be capable of it. This is going to ramble a bit. But know that I am for you! And so is God.

    I can sympathize somewhat with your son being ill. One of my sons was born mostly blind – I felt guilty about his condition as if it were my fault. As if I had done something to cause it. I was like you in that I never felt called to pray for his healing. I believed that his vision issues had happened for a reason. And people said a lot of stupid things. The strangest came from my grandmother who said this happened because I was wearing my contacts during my pregnancy. LOL! But some had to do with my lack of faith. A really stupid doctor told me that they were going to do some tests that would allow me to know if this would occur in a future pregnancy and if so I could have an abortion. Here I was holding this precious little baby just a few days old and she thought it would have been better for him to be dead. So stupid and callous. Like you did, I forgave them and moved on.

    I don’t know of any story in scripture where Jesus didn’t heal because someone lacked faith. There was no recipe. He seemed to heal everyone who needed it. Sometimes he healed because of faith and sometimes even when there was lack of faith in order to show the strength of his Father. Today there is no healing recipe either. A friend of mine who was head of my seminary died recently. The entire seminary prayed for his healing – pastors everywhere laid hands on him and prayed. If anyone would be healed because of the sheer number of prayers or because they deserved it, it would have been him. But he died. I will have to say, that he died joyfully. He turned his pain into joy, but there were times of terrible sadness too. But he seemed to gain joy whenever he spent praising and listening to God.

    One thing about your salvation being in question. In this post, I was writing about what it meant to me a follower of Jesus not what it meant to be saved. Evangelical culture is focused on getting people saved, but the culture of the 1st century wasn’t. They didn’t ask the question, “Do you know where you will go when you die.” They asked if you were filled with the Spirit – in other words, how you were living — not how you were dying. Their concern was if you were connecting with the Spirit for life and joy and power. I’d stop worrying about whether you are saved and spend that energy on how you can open yourself more and more to the Spirit’s comfort, wisdom, and power. Jesus will handle your salvation. Keep your mind on how to live the best you can in the next hour knowing that the Spirit is with you. For me, I go to a church near my house and sit in their chapel. I talk to God – but most of all I listen.

    Having someone you can trust to have faith for you when you are too tired is also a good thing. Look for someone who will do this for you. Who will stand in the dark places with you and remind you that light will come. There will be times when it is too hard to have faith yourself. That is okay. Think of Jesus in the garden. He asked God for another way – he didn’t want to go to the cross. God said no to Jesus. Jesus sweated blood. His disciples were supposed to pray for him – to sit with him – but they went to sleep instead. Look for someone who won’t sleep when you need them to pray. Angels came to minister to Jesus because his disciples couldn’t. Angels will be there for you too.

    My son eventually went completely blind in college. Over a day’s time, he lost the vision he had. So the doctors did risky laser surgery that they wouldn’t have done otherwise. Six surgeries later, he could see well enough to drive.

    I will be praying for you and your son. I will be praying that you will feel the Holy Spirit within you giving you a hug, wisdom, and power to endure.

    I hope this helps, if it does not, don’t give up. Light will come.

    April

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    1. It does help.

      Your writing helps, its why I signed up to follow your blog 🙂

      Be cheered becuase today I am not in such a dark place. However the issues haven’t gone away. I think most of our problems are that we are so desperately exhausted and feel so isolated. Its hard to convey the underlying stress of every morning checking to see if your child is still breathing. The number of people that we still have even giving us emotional support has dwindled somewhat over eight years.

      I wouldn’t have got this far without God and I will continue, I will endure but I need to work out how to do so with more joy,

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Well I was struggling with your last post but I feel even worse after this one. The reason being I so don’t trust that God will provide. I try to but I just don’t.

    My son has been desperately ill for 8 years and throughout that time I have been able to trust God through thick and thin. I never felt called to pray for healing but I knew it was possible. If my son had been healed when others had prayed for him I would not have been surprised but then I also knew that God doesn’t always heal even though he always can. When others prayed for him and then said that he wasn’t healed because of my unbelief I forgave them. I knew I hadn’t been called to pray for his healing. I knew I was called to do other things and I was faithful there. I knew had to trust that God knew what was best. I could do that even if my son remained disabled and desperately ill at times.

    When it comes to finances though I struggle. I can’t work a regular job because at any point I might have to drop everything to spend days in hospital. I’ve worked so hard to developed other sources of income but I need to access to capital to get them off the ground and get our business to the point that it is supporting us rather than us supporting it.

    I am very literal. As I stare into the pit that last thing I need to be told (actually it could be the most important thing) is that my salvation my be in question which I would take it to be if “believe” is better translated as “trust”. I’ve already been struggling with this. If I am saved and if I have faith in the love of my father shouldn’t I be coping better? Being a christian doesn’t give you a fairy god mother or deliver milk and honey scripture and history tells us that. Becoming a christian in the past and in many countries still today opens a door to horrendous persecution. If our faith is genuine we won’t live pain (physical and emotional) free lives but shouldn’t we be freed from pain?

    As I right this though I’m reminded of Christ’s stress and pain both just before and as he was crucified. However, maybe he did not have the benefit of the new covenant? Stephen didn’t seem too fussed as he was stoned. How much pain was Peter in when he was crucified? How did Mathew cope being boiled? While I can trust that all tears will be wiped away in heaven what can I do to strengthen my faith and renew hope in this world?

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