Some lauded the Donald’s short-lived stint as a would-be presidential candidate, some scoffed, and others were indignant. But one thing no one did was ignore Donald Trump. Obama’s minions at MSNBC did all they could to portray Trump as a loon, and the wind up dolls on the right were incredulous at the thought of this outsider thinking he could waltz in without cow-towing to them.
Personally I never thought Trump would ever follow though and make good on his threat to run for this nation’s highest office. He basically wanted to blow off some steam. But he struck a responsive chord in those who want a leader who is a no-BS kind of guy, a man who couldn’t care less about political correctness and the derriere-kissing and double talk that has come to be the centerpiece of our do-nothing system. Trump cut through the smoke and said it like it is. When he talked about fixing the economy he spoke as one who has built and run a huge corporation. When he talked about foreign policy he put it simply: We fix our own country before we go play nanny to the world. His solutions were common sense and his strategies simple. Slash spending, cut taxes, don’t fight unless it is to win, and drill baby drill–here and now.
Make no mistake. I am not endorsing Trump. He would not be a good president. He would be an improvement, but that isn’t saying much. The question is, why does Trump resonate with so many? Because people are fed up with politics as usual and they want talk backed up with more than empty promises. There is no doubt that the current political climate is volatile. People wanted change three years ago, and the slick talk of our current president won the day for him. Now that people have seen though him and realize he is in way over his head they feel angry and betrayed.
The political scene is an analogy of the state of the church. I really do not enjoy going to church that much, and here is why. Most churches make music more important than the teaching of the word. There are scores of verses and passages in the NT that speak of the primacy of the communicated word in the assembly. But there are only two parallel passages which mention singing (Eph. 5:18ff; Col. 3:16ff) and these verses tell us that singing should be the result of the word dwelling in us richly, and that it should involve teaching and admonishing as well as praise. What we see in many churches is a long period of singing of shallow praise ditties as a build up for the teaching, which is really just an add-on. I think it would be better to teach the word first, and then once the word of God was dwelling in the hearts and minds of the believers, then sing some appropriate songs as a response to the word.
Recently I went to a church where the singing portion lasted an hour. We were on our feet the whole time, and the songs were repeated over and over. The song service ended in a crescendo of voices repeating the word Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, Jesus………..Then there were announcements and a prayer time (another fifteen minutes) before the pastor came up to speak for about twenty minutes. This is pretty much how it goes in any church of any size in our area.
“Good” preaching in today’s church has to be culturally relevant, politically correct, need sensitive, and above all, positive. Don’t piss anyone off or make them feel bad. Unless, of course, they aren’t recycling their paper, metal, and plastic–then go ahead and guilt-trip them to death. Many people will flock to churches where they can hear this kind of teaching, but many others just want someone to get up, open the Bible, and plainly expound it. When they can’t find it, many join cults or follow idiots like Harold Camping. Joseph Smith started Mormonism in an era known for it’s biblical illiteracy and relativism. These are dangerous times politically and spiritually, be not mistaken about that.
On the other hand the opportunity has never been more abundant for the spread of the word. When Jesus came on the scene and taught in the synagogues we read that the people were blown away by His teaching, because He taught with authority–not like the scribes of the day, who endlessly quoted this rabbi or that. Jesus did not cite the rabbis, but instead stated: You have heard it said…..but I say to you…
There is no way I can sit on the sidelines much longer and hide my lamp under a bushel basket. The gifts and calling of God are without repentance. My style of teaching is from the Donald Trump school–simple and to the point. The Bible is the inspired inerrant word of God and our only source of authoritative revelation on salvation and Christian living. Jesus is the only way to God, and those who do not consciously acknowledge Him as Lord and Savior have no hope of salvation. Pop psychobabble, self-help, fuzzy feel-good-about-me-ism, and hollow platitudes about love winning be damned. When I am asked a sticky question about whether this or that behavior is sinful, I let my yes be yes and my no be no–without qualifiers, like: Yes, but it is no worse than other sins…..after all, we’re all sinners, you know. What nonsense! Is this what you would say if someone asked you if stealing is a sin? Or murder? Or sex with animals? Look, either believe what God says, or go have your ears tickled by some smoldering stub like Rob Bell.
I have no illusions about what the outcomes will look like. But my mind is made up. This old warrior will be back in the saddle soon. No more church done badly for me. No more feeling guilty for stating the obvious. The church needs a few more spiritual counterparts to Simon Cowell.
Or Donald Trump.