First Chink in Trump's Spiritual Armor
Since his remarks on Charlottesville, business leaders who made up Donald Trump's Business Advisory Councils have left in droves causing him to formally disband the groups (here).
Yet, for the most part, the Evangelicals who make up his Spiritual Advisory board have stood firm (here). Many like Franklin Graham (here), and Paula White (here) going so far as to defend the him.
The lone exception to this has been A. R. Barnard.
Barnard recently stepped down from the Spiritual Advisory Board, announcing his decision on Twitter. He then appeared in a couple of interviews on MSNBC where he explained his decision in further detail. Barnard said that he doesn't believe council members need to step down, but they do need to call out the president when he errs.
“I would love to see more of the evangelical leaders who are on the board make strong statements in reaction to it, and that doesn’t mean they have to abandon him,” he said. “But they should come out and say something of substance.” (here)
I've pointed out is a couple of previous posts how Evangelical Leaders have crossed the line, abusing their own reputations as Christian leaders to sell an immoral candidate to their loyal flock.
Franklin Graham's inaugural speech for instance reminded me of reminded me of the prophecy Zedekiah made before King Ahab
"Then Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah made horns of iron for himself and said, 'Thus says the LORD, With these you will gore the Arameans until they are consumed.'" - 1 Kings 22:11
Zedekiah told the king exactly what he wanted to hear, along with 399 other prophets. Saying "This is what The LORD says."
If you will recall - Graham said, "Rain is a sign of God's blessing, and it started to rain just as you began your speech." Graham twists the scriptures to the service of this president and does not mention that rain also falls on the just and the unjust alike (Matt. 5:45) - and was also once used as judgement (Genesis 6-7). Invocations have been offered before Presidents before, but people are always careful when asking God's guidance and blessing, to stop short claiming prophetic insight (my post on Graham January 20, 2017 Here).
James Dobson, told his followers that Trump's behavior should be overlooked because he was "a baby Christian," but later backed away from his statement claiming that he had no personal knowledge of Trump's conversion - but he heard it from Paula White. Paula white's own account of Trump's conversion dates back to 2001 when he "reached out to her" after 9/11 (fyi - that is several years before the Billy Bush (P**sy grabbing) recording. (My previous post on Dobson Oct 14, 2016 (Here).
Dobson's final comment on the matter - before the election - revealed a man who had no direct access to the President and no influence.
"Trump speaks in hyperbole, clearly. His rhetoric has been inexcusable, and I don’t defend it. I hope that the criticism he has received from the public will have an influence on his speech. I think it already has. I serve on a faith committee of 22 conservative Christian leaders, and we are working to help Trump make the right choices. I know that Franklin Graham, Jerry Falwell Jr., Robert Jeffress, James Robison, and many other respected leaders have direct access to him. If Trump turns out to be an incorrigible demagogue, we can hope he will be reined in by the political process. There are checks and balances in our system of government. (Christianity Today Interview - Here).
This quote is telling and shows the severity of his early deceit. Trump may turn out to be a demagogue - but that's okay, because we can hope he will be reigned in by the political process. What happened to being a "Baby Christian" who was "sensitive to the things of the Spirit"?
He says he is confident that the other leaders on the council who have direct access to Trump are helping him to make the right choices. If his certainty is as well founded as his certainty in Trump's conversion experience - then we can be assured that he is not certain at all. In fact he is probably lying to us again. A.R. Barnard's comment (that members of the board should "come out and say something of substance") suggests they have not challenged him at all.
For me, this calls into question - what exactly a spiritual advisory board is supposed to do. Do any of these people really have "the ear of the president"?
I would contend that the spiritual advisory board was not so much selected to give Donald Trump a Christian perspective on the political landscape, but to act as a kind of spiritual shield to deflect religious criticism and provide legitimacy to his administration. Their job is not to give spiritual guidance, or to prevent him from taking this country to a dark place, their job is to play defense. To put their own reputations between the president and the moral outrage he creates. Their job is to stifle the prophetic voice of the church for as long as their reputations can hold out.
If that is the case, then Barnard represents the first chink in Donald Trumps spiritual armor. Others will follow - either by choice, or by having their reputations soiled beyond repair. This is not a partisan issue. It is about the integrity of the Gospel. Our job is to make sure they don't take the rest of of the Evangelical Church down with them.
Here is the list of people on Donald Trumps board. If you are so inclined put there names - along with Donald Trump, into a Google search, and see if anyone has done anything except excuse, endorse, or explain away. Anyone besides A.R. Barnard that is.
· Michele Bachmann - Former Congresswoman
· A.R. Bernard - Senior Pastor and CEO, Christian Cultural Center
· Mark Burns - Pastor, Harvest Praise and Worship Center
· Tim Clinton - President, American Association of Christian Counselors
· Kenneth and Gloria Copeland - Founders, Kenneth Copeland Ministries
· James Dobson - Author, Psychologist and Host, My Family Talk
· Jerry Falwell, Jr. - President, Liberty University
· Ronnie Floyd - Senior Pastor, Cross Church
· Jentezen Franklin - Senior Pastor, Free Chapel
· Jack Graham - Senior Pastor, Prestonwood Baptist Church
· Harry Jackson - Senior Pastor, Hope Christian Church
· Robert Jeffress - Senior Pastor, First Baptist Church of Dallas
· David Jeremiah - Senior Pastor, Shadow Mountain Community Church
· Richard Land – President, Southern Evangelical Seminary
· James MacDonald – Founder and Senior Pastor, Harvest Bible Chapel
· Johnnie Moore - Author, President of The KAIROS Company
· Robert Morris - Senior Pastor, Gateway Church
· Tom Mullins – Senior Pastor, Christ Fellowship
· Ralph Reed - Founder, Faith and Freedom Coalition
· James Robison - Founder, Life OUTREACH International
· Tony Suarez - Executive Vice President, National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference
· Jay Strack - President, Student Leadership University
· Paula White - Senior Pastor, New Destiny Christian Center
· Tom Winters - Attorney, Winters and King, Inc.
· Sealy Yates – Attorney, Yates and Yates
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