Friday, June 08, 2018

Trump: King? Or Conqueror?

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In their upcoming issue, TIME Magazine is making the case that President Trump sees himself as a king---doing so with a clever cover that depicts the president looking at himself in the mirror, seeing his reflection adorned in a kingly robe; and of course, TIME uses thousands of words to further make their case.

Shakespeare would likely say they are protesting too much.

King? Or Conqueror?

TIME's premise is in their title: "Donald Trump's Campaign to Discredit the Russian Investigation May Be Working. It's Also Damaging American Democracy."

Time begins with... "Downstairs from the Oval Office and next to the Situation Room, Donald Trump's lawyers are waging war."

Ask yourself this question. When did Truth become the enemy of freedom or democracy?

The War according to TIME.

In the several thousand words that follow, they define the "war" that the lawyers are waging as political.

Quoting well-placed sources and experts, TIME declares that the "president is trying to delegitimize the entire prosecution... it's exactly what Clinton did to Ken Starr," back in the day. "It's a dangerous moment for Trump... Trump is declaring authority to pardon himself" and "Trump's allies have taken up the battle cry"..."declaring the president cannot be indicted" and this whole investigation is said to be merely "nefarious tactics to frame the president's team and cover up the crimes of Barack Obama and the Clintons."

TIME says the president's allies have flip-flopped on Mueller.

TIME says, "When Mueller was appointed special counsel in May 2017 by Trump's handpicked Deputy Attorney General, Republicans couldn't stop praising him. Speaker Paul Ryan said Mueller would help 'ensure thorough and independent investigation are allowed to follow the facts wherever they may lead'."

TIME says, "Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich called [Mueller] a 'superb choice'... his reputation is impeccable for honesty and integrity."

Now, TIME says "Gingrich calls Mueller an agent of the 'deep state' and his investigation an 'open-ended hunt for guilt'."

I would add that Ryan is still with Mueller---he has never really been a Trump ally.

TIME also welcomes the comments of a few Republican Congressmen who have suggested they support the ongoing work of Mueller.

And the magazine seizes the notion that Trump could pardon himself as absolute proof that he believes himself to be a king. A guilt king.

The public disagrees with TIME's conclusion.

The magazine article itself has to admit that the public disagrees with their accusations of the president.

The article says, "It seems to be working. In a May CBS News poll, 53% of Americans said they believed Mueller's investigation was politically motivated, up 5 points in five months."

A poll by the Economist the same month found that 75% of Republicans agreed with Trump's claim that Mueller's probe is a "witch hunt."

TIME says, "With Trump's 87% support among Republicans, the only president since the 1940s who has been so loved by his own party after 500 days in office was Bush, post 9/11."

And that is a problem for the Left.

Why have so many conservatives coalesced around the president?

TIME is right. There is a war.

When David Brody with CBN and Scott Lamb with the conservative Washington Times (authors of a Mike Huckabee biography) wrote a book titled, "The Faith of Donald Trump: A Spiritual Biography" the far Left New York Magazine took on Brody, Lamb and anyone who agreed that Trump might be a Christian.

The article sarcastically admits they don't know whether Trump is "washed in the blood of the Lamb" or not, but no doubt millions of evangelicals believe in him as president.

There is a political war.

Lars Larson pointed this out to his radio audience yesterday:

"News broke this week that President Obama shopped around to several banks billions in money laundering for the Mullahs in Tehran. Thankfully, the banks reminded all the President's men that kind of thing is illegal under the sanctions that were still in place at the time. So Obama had his Treasury Secretary, Jack Lew, cobble up a special order to let the Bank of Muscat in Oman do the deed instead, illegally. Then he lied to Congress and told them he wasn't doing it. The whole Russian/ Trump collusion thing...that no one can find proof for? That's just the cover story and it helps explain why the FBI has been so desperate to sabotage the Trump campaign and now the Presidency. You see, providing material support for terrorism, as Obama did, is a crime. Consider that earlier this year, a Muslim convert cop in Virginia went to prison for 15 years just for sending 200 dollars in gift cards to a terrorist group. So how much time should Barry do for sending billions?"

And Lars reminded his audience, "The Inspector General's report arrives soon. It's gonna show the criminal activities the FBI engaged in under James Comey and Andrew McCabe and they may even go to jail."

And there is a culture war.

Until the early 1900s, America generally saw itself as a "Christian" nation---even the Supreme Court defined us as "a Christian nation." Nobody believed everyone was "born again," but as Francis Shaeffer explained, there was "a Christian consensus" in our nation.

We generally saw ourselves as a nation that affirmed our values of moral, ethical, patriotic and embracing values like liberty, freedom, justice, and equality.

But a new movement was rising. A culture war on those Christian values began around the 1920s, with groups as diverse as the Fabian Socialists, Saul Alinsky, Herbert Marcuse the Frankfurt School's teaching on Critical Theory and cultural Marxism, all were putting down roots in our culture.

By the 1960s the culture war broke the bounds of decency and our Judeo-Christian heritage. A "new Left" emerged with prayer and the Bible being driven from our public schools, Darwin's evolutionary theory became a "fact" in the public classroom, while public "free sex" broke out in the fields of Woodstock.

Education and the Entertainment industry picked up the mantle and have pushed and normalized these moral and intellectual failures, until today our nation is deeply divided, not unlike it was in the day of Lincoln.

There is a real cultural war. Should Christians be involved?

The Bible does not directly speak to cultural struggles, per se; however, we get very informative insight from the cultural struggles of Old Testament Israel.

Israel struggled, especially in the time of the ancient kings---particularly with the issues of foreign gods and non-Jewish practices coming in conflict with Israeli culture.

A bad king would worship false gods and Asherah poles would be constructed, then a good king would come along, like King Josiah, and would turn things around morally and spiritually, cutting down the poles.

The story of Daniel and his 3 Hebrew friends stood for godly principles and values even at risk of losing their lives.

They lived and ate differently than the Babylonian culture, but didn't shelter themselves from it---they were in the culture, but not of the culture. And they spoke to the culture.

In the New Testament Jesus did involve Himself in the culture.

The Pharisees and Sadducees were the political and religious leaders of that time. While they had to get everything cleared through Rome, Jesus contended with many of the cultural practices of His day, like healing on the Sabbath Day (which was forbidden), condemning the Pharisees as blind guides, whitewashed tombs, and hypocrites. Jesus actually declared a new culture and fought against the corrupted culture of the Pharisees.

Later, the followers of Jesus in the early church also won a cultural battle in Acts at the Jerusalem Council (Acts 15) where it was determined that Gentiles (non-Jews) would not be required to follow Jewish cultural customs, but would be free in their faith in Jesus Christ. Religious freedom.

While neither Jesus nor Paul practiced or advocated a violent overthrow of government, they did address the cultural issues.

The early Christians addressed the issues of the Roman culture, and ultimately, when Rome fell, millions of Romans had accepted Jesus Christ, and the culture saw the redeeming grace of the gospel---Christianity became the official religion of Rome.

For the past 2000 years, the gospel has served to transform personal lives---and cultures.

"Transforming" a culture through Christianity does not mean "enshrining" it as an official religion, or theocracy, it means allowing the righteous influence of the gospel to heal and inspire the culture.

To our Founders, it meant drawing from ancient Scripture and absolute Truth to formulate a new nation under God. Which has become the greatest nation in the history of the world.

To the extent the gospel has been allowed to be heard and received, cultures have improved.

North and South Korea reflect this striking truth.

Christianity is basically illegal in North Korea. We are all well aware of how--- except for nuclear weapons development--- generally backward that country is today.

While only about 30% of South Korea is Christian, the Christian influence is seen woven into the culture, and it is thriving. The two largest Christian churches in the world are located in South Korea. One in Seoul (Assembly of God), the other in Pusan (Presbyterian). I have preached in both many times.

The Seoul church has more than 500,000 members---the Pusan church has slightly fewer.

So much hangs in the balance in America today. I understand the assault against the president from the Left. It's political.

Frankly, I fail to understand the assault from Christians against a president who, despite his personal failures, is standing for what we claim to believe, in stronger terms than any president in modern history. The war we should understand best is the war being fought for the soul of our nation today.

It is a spiritual war. And I personally believe that God has called His people to be engaged in it.

Be Informed. Be Vigilant. Be Discerning. Be Faithful. Be Prayerful. Be Bold.