If you’re old enough to remember the 1980’s, you may recall the numerous scandals brought to light involving several American evangelists, including such names as: Jim Bakker, Jimmy Swaggart, Peter Popoff and Robert Tilton. While ungodly leaders and false prophets have existed throughout church history, the 1980’s are recognized as a period of great shaking within the body of Christ because, as St. Peter tells us, God’s judgement always begins with God’s household. (1 Peter 4: 17)
God’s reason for beginning with his own people can be likened to the art of the goldsmith who must burn away the dross in order to purify and refine true gold.
Throughout this campaign season, I’ve been told repeatedly about how Donald Trump has been raised up by God for such a time as this–a claim reinforced by Trump religion advisor Michelle Bachman–and I have rejected this claim due to his blatant display of immoral behavior. However, as I consider this defense of Trump lately, I’ve come to believe that he may indeed be God’s choice for these times . . . but not for the reason his supporters think.
In the aftermath of the video scandal exposing Trump’s apparent sexual assaults on women, many of the so-called leaders in today’s evangelical community not only excused his immoral behavior, they defended it by using—or I should say, misusing—God’s Word. In the scandals of the 1980’s, the evangelical leaders defended their immoral behavior as well, and just as today, they did so by using God’s Word, particularly passages dealing with grace and forgiveness.
During the rise of Nazi Germany, Dietrich Bonhoeffer recognized that the church in his day had become ineffective by their refusal to call evil by name and an over-reliance on what he referred to as cheap grace, which is defined as forgiveness without repentance. As I have written before, the parallels between the church of today and the church of Nazi Germany are frighteningly similar.
God can’t and he won’t allow cheap grace to prosper. If it does, it destroys the body of Christ, the testimony of the church and ultimately those outside of God’s household who need the church for their salvation. By bringing light to the darkness in order to expose the deeds of the disobedient (Ephesians 5:12-13), God will stop the spread of cheap grace.
As Evangelical leadership defends immorality, thus calling evil good, God will expose the men and women who are destroying the testimony of the church. And much like the 1980’s, the majority of them will be removed from their self-centered, politically motivated positions of power. Remember, there will those to whom Jesus will say, “I never knew you.” (Matthew 7: 21-23)
In the short run, this will do great damage to the message of Jesus Christ. However, in the end the Gospel will rebound and revival will come . . . provided Jesus doesn’t return first.
It could be that Donald Trump is God’s man for our times, but not for the reason his supporters think. He is God’s instrument to expose the moral failures of the false prophets and teachers, and to shake today’s church . . . not to be the president.
“Everything that can be shaken will be shaken from within
Better have your house in order when the shaking begins”
David Leach is the owner of The Strident Conservative, your source for opinion that’s politically-incorrect and always “right.” His articles can also be found on RedState.com.
His daily radio commentary is nationally syndicated with Salem Radio Network and can be heard on stations across America.