Steve Deace said something on his show Friday night that all Americans–especially those who call themselves Christians–need to hear and take deeply to heart. So I’ve transcribed what he said here, from the podcast, about 14 minutes in:
Trump, today, chose to have himself, one of the two Bibles he chose to have himself sworn in on was Abraham Lincoln’s inaugural Bible. One of Lincoln’s most oft-quotes phrases during the Civil War was I am not saying God is on our side, I am saying that we’re trying to get on his.
I’m happy to see there were prayers in the name of Jesus today. There were things that have been missing in our nation’s capital, and I am going to take them at face value that they were done in earnest. And even if they are, that is utterly meaningless if they are not followed by action.
Why do you call me “Lord,” Jesus says, if you do not do what I say? It is not about what you say, it is about what you do. A tree can call itself whatever it wants. But you know how we know what kind of tree it is? By the kind of fruit it bears. It can scream and yell and cry and it can Tweet all it wants “I am an apple tree,” but come harvest time, when oranges are sitting there budding on the leaves, it’s not an apple tree, it’s an orange tree, no matter what it identifies as or claims to be.
So it’s not about the fact that we heard prayers today. In fact, I would urge you to follow Trump’s own advice. Trump himself said today the time for talk is over. The time for action is here. Well, I believe James would agree: faith without works is dead. Enough with prayers. That’s great, but if they’re not going to be followed by action, they’re irrelevant. They will fall on deaf ears. I am sure plenty of unrepentant people prayed when they saw the floods coming, but the floods still came.
There was a threat of rain today. Franklin Graham said that rain is a blessing in the Bible…unless you are one of Noah’s contemporaries. We have to be very careful with this, guys. We are playing a very dangerous game here, invoking God’s word and then not following through with it. As Saint Peter says, it is better to have never known God’s law and his word, than to know it and not obey it.
I cannot believe how many of you Tweeted me today or sent me notes today: “It’s good to hear these words again.” No, it’s not about words. Jesus said people come to me and they will say we did this in your name, we said this in your name, we, we, we–“I don’t know who you are.” Where’s the obedience?
Trump said today that our nation will be protected by God. Pretty presumptuous to speak for God. You know, there’s no nation that God loved more than his own, Israel. And he punished them with captivity for their disobedience. Would we presume–we have been a very blessed and favored nation–would we presume to be more loved by God than his own? That’s quite a presumption unto itself as well. So if he was willing to take his belt off and spank them, if he was willing to look at them and say, “I just want you to know before Nebuchadnezzar shows up, this is going to hurt me more than it’s gonna hurt you, for the next 70 years, if he was willing to do that with his own people, you don’t think he’d be willing to do that with us?
So the question isn’t that we will be protected by God. The petition is, may we be protected by God. And if you follow God’s word and if you follow the way he interacts with his people, and all of his creation throughout history, there seems to be at least some reliance on our obedience in order to obtain his protection in the end. It doesn’t happen in a vacuum.
The president of the United States cannot just simply decree that we will be protected by God. Whether his name is Barack Obama or Donald Trump or Pope Whatever; can’t simply decree that. Don’t fall for empty rhetoric, don’t fall for empty sentiments. And that worries me when I see that. And when you demand that God will protect us, and you have a known heretic like Paula White up there doing the praying, that might not be the best way to try and curry God’s favor.
Now I’m going to take it at face value, because there were also some people doing some praying up there that I respect immensely. So I’m going to take at face value that Trump, spiritually, is a neophyte, he’s really just new at a lot of this. And he’s got a menagerie of beliefs and perspectives surrounding him, and he’s earnestly seeking the right way to do things. And we’re all clumsy when we fumble through the darkness. I get that. That’s why we search for the light. I get that. I did the same. I’m going to take at face value that’s true.
But it doesn’t work the way it was presented today. It doesn’t work that way. And those aren’t my words, those are his. Read them yourself. We have to be very careful in the way invoke God into our public and civic affairs. Because we don’t dictate terms to him, gentlemen, he dictates terms to us. So it’s not about, are we praying to him. It’s about what are the motivations behind those prayers. Because if the motivation is there behind those prayers, obedience will follow.
Just some things I pointed out a few thousand times during the election last year in countless conversations with many people who have in the past championed conservative and Christian principles (and which fell almost entirely on deaf ears this past year).
And in case you don’t know or have forgotten why I (and others, like Deace) am so skeptical that we will see any real conservatism or righteousness from the Trump Administration, here is a brief summary of why (and more here, in case that still leaves you wondering).
I am not nearly as optimistic as Deace seems to be that Trump is really trying to do the right thing, but he’s just a “neophyte” whose trying to sort through a lot of conflicting advice. You just don’t get to be 70 years old and be that kind of neophyte if you’ve been paying attention to anything of significant importance for the past 70 years. And someone who’s trying doesn’t act the way Donald Trump has acted in the past year (not even getting into the past 70 years), and continues to behave, if you’ve truly repented of your reprobate ways and genuinely want to do better. Maybe it’s all my years in law enforcement, my years in the collections industry, and my years being active in politics (all of these, rubbing elbows with human nature brazenly on display), but color me skeptical.
Yet I have no choice but to give him a chance–to prove me right, or prove me along. I’m along for the ride. Unlike the Leftists who promised to leave America if Trump got elected (then mostly disappointed us by sticking around), I’m not leaving this country I love. I hope that despite all the voluminous evidence that Trump has supplied which indicates he’s nothing but a reprobate liberal whose number one priority is boosting himself, he proves me wrong and he will actually press for policies which return this nation to its heritage of righteousness and liberty.
For once in my life, I really want to be wrong. Because if I’m wrong about the kind of man Donald Trump is and the kind of agenda he will pursue (in other words, if he behaves completely different from the way he has behaved for the past several decades), then America will prosper and become healthy again. Because if I’m right about Donald Trump, and he behaves the way he has for the past several decades (and if so-called “conservatives” and “Christians” continue to behave the way they did during the past year), then America is going to continue sliding down into the pit of sewage and destruction, with virtually no one to put on any kind of brakes.
I hope against hope, but experience has taught me not to hold my breath when we have the kind of fruit on the tree that we have to behold. If I have to be a kind of “Jeremiah” for our times (though incredibly lame in comparison), so be it. I continue to hope America will turn back to its Creator…even as I fear it may be too late.
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