“For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and produce great signs and omens, to lead astray, if possible, even the elect.” – Jesus
The past two weeks have been an interesting time for Evangelical Christians.
On Jan. 19, Franklin Graham was on Dr. James Dobson’s Family Talk.
Graham said several offensive, bigoted things, but this is crucial:
“What happens is we think we can fight by smiling and being real nice and loving. … We have to understand who the enemy is and what he wants — he wants to devour our homes. He wants to devour this nation. … We have to be so careful who we let our kids hang out with. … We have to be so careful who we let into the churches. You have immoral people that get into the churches and it begins to affect the others in the church and it is dangerous.”
In case you missed it:
“We have to be so careful who we let into the churches.”
If you’re in a church without immoral people, you’re in a church of hypocrites.
If your church isn’t for every immoral, hurting, broken person who comes in the door, then you don’t understand the purpose of a church.
Wonder how Jesus would respond to Graham?
We don’t have to wonder.
“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to.” (Matt. 23: 13)
Earlier this week, multi-millionaire Jerry Falwell Jr., the president of Liberty University, endorsed a multi-billionaire for president of the United States.
Before his current annual salary of more than $803,000, Falwell made millions developing real estate in Lynchburg, Virginia.
Of his endorsement of a fellow developer, Falwell explained in the Washington Post:
At this stage in our history, I believe we need an experienced and successful businessman who has fixed broken companies — because I saw firsthand as a young lawyer the tough measures that were required to save Liberty University.
Evidently he’s unaware that his businessman candidate has bankrupted and walked away from multiple companies while defaulting on personally guaranteed loans. Absolutely legal, proclaims the candidate. Ethically abhorrent, respond many others. But not the president of the largest Christian college in the United States.
Falwell went on to write in the Washington Post:
Finally, it was not my intent to compare Trump to Jesus Christ in my introduction at Liberty. I know that all of us are sinners, and only Jesus was perfect.
I do believe Trump is a good father, is generous to those in need, and is an ethical and honest businessman. I have gotten to know him well over the last few years and have come to admire him for those traits.
I do not believe, however, that when Jesus said “render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s” that he meant we should elect only someone who would make a good Sunday School teacher or pastor. When we step into our role as citizens, we need to elect the most experienced and capable leaders.
As I said, Jimmy Carter is a great Sunday School teacher but the divorced and remarried Hollywood actor Ronald Reagan saved this nation when it was in nearly the same condition as it is today.
Jesus said “Judge not, lest ye be judged.” Let’s stop trying to choose the political leaders who we believe are the most godly because, in reality, only God knows people’s hearts. You and I don’t, and we are all sinners.
Reagan was a Democrat union president before he was a Republican governor. Falwell’s candidate is a political neophyte and a bigot. The reality is, he’s also a pretty bad businessman:
The mainstream media simply believe Trump when he claims to be a good businessman. So, too, does Falwell.
In thanking Falwell on Twitter for the endorsement, Trump called Falwell, “Rev. Falwell.” Falwell is a lawyer, not a minister.
Neither Falwell nor Franklin Graham have formal theological educations. It shows in their bad Christian theology.
Both men inherited from their fathers the family business of Christianity Inc. Trump inherited $40 million from his father.
Falwell is right, Only God knows people’s hearts. The rest of us have to assess people based on the results of what they do, the effects of God working in their lives. Or as Paul wrote in his letter to the Galatians:
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” (Ga: 5:22-23)
Where are the fruits of the Spirit in the words and actions of Franklin Graham or Jerry Falwell Jr.? Or in the lives of the men they support and promote?
There is no love or joy in denying people admittance to a church. There is no gentleness or peace in encouraging college students to carry guns.
There is no fruit of the Spirit in the life and words of Trump.
Falwell and Graham represent a type of Christianity that I don’t want to have anything to do with it, and I completely understand others who become disillusioned.
Falwell, Graham, Dobson and too many others who call themselves conservative Christians are false leaders and false prophets leading others astray.
They occasionally stumble upon some scriptural principles, but they miss the overall message of Jesus. The public witness of these false prophets is devoid of the fruit of the Spirit.