[Photo from http://williamkendallbooks.blogspot.ca]
For years Tim LaHaye wrote books about the so-called Rapture with a friend, Jerry Jenkins. The books were a huge success, unfortunately, and screwed up a lot of people ignorant of the Bible. But LaHaye became very important in “evangelical” circles. In fact, Time magazine in 2005 declared him to be one of the 25 most influential evangelicals in the U.S., and went on to call LaHaye and his wife “The Christian Power Couple.”
Tim has died. I’d say “God rest his soul,” but I’m afraid he’s not going to meet his maker for he was a fakir from the word “go.” His theology was twisted and irresponsible with no connection to the Jesus he claimed to follow. None! He was a Christian supposedly, but as we’ve come to learn, that, in many cases, means nothing. All kinds of people claim to be Christian but it's quite obvious that Jesus would not know them. The term, "Christian Power Couple," in and of itself, implies a denial of all that Jesus taught!
Jesus, of course, was not a Christian, either. Assuming he was a real person, we learn from the Gospel stories that he was a Jew, that he attended the synagogue, that he was well-learned in the Hebrew Bible, that he was a rabbi (teacher) and that he taught NONE of the doctrines that comprise the Christian faith in its various forms today.
My point is that if evangelical Christians today would actually follow Jesus, whom they claim as their “savior,” they would act very differently than they do. So, we must conclude that their religion is a sham and they are essentially and fundamentally hypocrites.
But I want to discuss Donald “The Traitor” Trump, who has said on numerous occasions that he is a Christian. I want to discuss Trump and his “evangelical” Christian followers as their lives relate to the Jesus of the Gospels. We shall see that, in fact, they actually deny and disavow Jesus by their words and by their actions.
The other day I received an email containing a link to a film by the con man and Christian crook, Dinesh D’Souza. It was sent by an “evangelical” Christian to many other evangelical Christians (I got it because I am related to the sender). The film is a horrible hackneyed attempt to crucify Obama and particularly Hillary Clinton as well as all Democrats for destroying the world.
D’Souza should have no hearing in the evangelical world! He’s a convicted felon who was fired as president of King’s College in New York, a small evangelical school which serves as the home of Campus Crusade for Christ, because of an adulterous affair with Denise Odie Joseph who was at the time already married. At the time D’souza was married to Dixie Brusker with whom he had a child.
In the end he married someone else altogether, a woman named Debbie Rancher - the ceremony conducted by the father of Ted Cruz, Rafael Cruz.
Obviously, we have a whole packet of hypocrites involved in this mess.
But, perhaps worse than that is the fact that D’Souza was convicted of “felonious election fraud,” for which when he finally admitted his guilt he was sentenced to 8 1/2 months in a half-way house.
The sad part of all this is that millions of evangelicals will watch this film on YouTube and come to believe that Hillary Clinton is of the devil and should never become president. And it’s all lies! Lies by one who claims to be an evangelical Christian but does not know or follow Jesus.
And it’s another example of the fact that evangelical Christians these days no longer even pretend to follow Jesus. They follow power and fame and money but not Jesus. They try to protect themselves and their possessions with government and military might. So, they will vote for Donald “The Traitor” Trump. But a vote for Trump is a slap in the face of Jesus!
The Gospels are not the first books in the New Testament. They were placed in that position by the Church Fathers in the 4th century to make it appear that Jesus came first and everything else flowed from him.
The truth is that Paul’s letters were the earliest “books” of the New Testament, and the first was the Letter to the Romans, written sometime around 50 C.E. Paul’s letters indicate that there were a number of “Christ” groups in the Mediterranean early on - people who followed a “Christ,” which is the Greek word for Savior. Paul preached that their Christ was really Jesus. He did this to root his theology in history, in Judaism in particular; for while he was probably not the rabbi he claimed to be, he was Jewish.
The gospels were written at the end of the first century by persons unknown to us; persons who had never met Jesus in the flesh. Therefore, their accounts are 2nd hand. The earliest of the gospels is Mark and Mark is based upon an earlier document known simply as “the source.” Thus, you will see Mark is rather bare-bones. Matthew and Luke, writing later, used Mark as their framework to which they added other stories. You’ll note that the gospels do not present anything like an historical narrative, but are a collection of stories and vignettes thrown together, sometimes with little rhyme or reason.
We’re going to begin looking at what Jesus really taught by heading into the Gospel according to Mark. Jesus begins his ministry forthwith (there’s no birth story here!) by teaching in various synagogues. And we learn that he was very inclusive, healing the sick and ministering to those considered outside of respectable society. He wasn’t bound by religious conventions: “And looking around at those who were sitting in the circle about him he said, ‘Here are my mother, and my brothers. Whoever does the will of God is my brother, my sister, my mother.’” (Mark 3:33-35)
In other words you become part of Jesus’ inner circle not by going through ritualistic motions or following religious precepts, but by DOING the will of God which is to love and care for your fellow human beings; all of them! His message was an active message. You don’t get to heaven by chanting or praying or reading the Bible. You’ve got to be out there DOING the will of God, which as we will see, includes NOT voting for Trump.
Narcissism defines Donald Trump. Narcissism means to be most concerned about one’s self; to love one’s self to the exclusion of other people. Here’s what Jesus said about that: “Anyone who wishes to be a follower of mine must leave self behind; he must take up his cross and come with me. Whoever cares for his own safety is lost…” (Mark 8:34-35)
Then there’s this message to twice-divorced D. Trump: “What God has joined together, man must not separate. … Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her…” (Mark 10:9-12)
A vote for Trump is a slap in the face of Jesus!
Throughout the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus meets and and heals people hanging on the lowest rungs of society - children, first-century illegal immigrants, convicts, etc. These folks included the deaf, the dumb, the leprous, and the crazies. NOT ONCE DID HE SAY HE WANTED TO BUILD A WALL AROUND HIMSELF!
In Mark 10:17ff, Jesus is confronted by a stranger who wanted to gain the kingdom of heaven and had kept all the commandments. Jesus said “One thing you lack; go, sell everything you have, and give to the poor, and you will have riches in heaven; and come, follow me.”
But he wasn’t done. The rich, he said, have almost no chance of entering the kingdom of God! “It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”
A vote for Trump is a slap in the face of Jesus!
What about those who hate the government and don’t want to pay their taxes: Jesus was asked by the Pharisees if it was right to pay taxes to the Roman Emperor. He asked for a piece of silver. When it was given to him he asked whose face was on the coin. “Caesar’s,” they said.
Jesus said, “Pay Caesar what is due to Caesar, and pay God what is due to God.” (Mark 12:15-17)
Just after this exchange, Jesus is asked what he thinks is the most important commandment. If you’re into self-aggrandizement, power, pride, money, status, etc., you will not like his answer, which is, in summary: Love the Lord your God with everything you have - no reservations, and then, he added a second, very important commandment: love your neighbor as yourself. Which means, of course, love your neighbor wholeheartedly, even if he or she is a Mexican or a Muslim.
Oops! Trump fails on that one too! So a vote for Trump is a slap in the face of Jesus!
Let’s move on to Matthew, which is the 2nd book in the New Testament as it is currently construed. Matthew and Luke are very similar, but each have added stories particular to them. They both took Mark’s gospel and added a variety of embellishments, such as birth stories. The birth stories contradict one another, but church people never have been worried about such things, for they make up doctrines and ignore biblical passages they don’t like.
In Matthew, chapter 5, we first encounter the so-called “Sermon on the Mount.” This is the sermon that political demagogues like Trump and followers of Ayn Rand, such as Paul Ryan, don’t like at all.
For Jesus turns the tables upside down. “Blest are the sorrowful…Blest are those of a gentle spirit…Blest are those who hunger and thirst to see right prevail…Blest are those who show mercy…Blest are those whose hearts are pure…Blest are the peacemakers…”
Oh, the ignominy, the horror. All these things directly contradict what Donald Trump teaches and how Donald Trump acts.
Later, in that same chapter, Jesus raises the bar even further. He notes the law says one shall not commit murder, but Jesus says “anyone who nurses anger against his brother shall be brought to judgment, and “if he sneers (at his brother) he will have to answer for it in the fires of hell.”
Trump is in big trouble! So are those who vote for Trump! A vote for Trump is a slap in the face of Jesus!
Here’s one Trump ignores big time. If someone sues you, don’t countersue, but come to terms. Somewhere I read that Trump is currently involved in over 2,500 lawsuits!
Even worse for Trump and his Trumpees: “Do not set yourself against the man who wrongs you. If someone slaps you on the right cheek, turn and offer him your left…
“You have learned…’Love your neighbor, hate your enemy.’ But I tell you this: ‘Love your enemies and pray for your persecutors…”
For those righteous and pious evangelicals who insist on praying in the pubic square, who insist that they have a right to cry out to their god in schools and courts and congresses, Jesus has some harsh words:
“Be careful not to make a show of your religion before men; if you do, no reward awaits you in your Father’s house in heaven.”
“Again, when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites; they love to say their prayers standing up in synagogue and at the street-corners, for everyone to see them. …when you pray, go into a room by yourself, shut the door, and pray to your Father who is there in the secret place.”
Matthew 6:19ff: “Do not store up for yourselves treasure on earth…store up treasure in heaven…For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
Chapter 7: “Pass no judgement, and you will not be judged…Always treat others as you would like them to treat you: that is the Law and the prophets.
And there is so much more. I’d urge you to read it for yourself. Jesus welcomes the outcast, the despised, the hated Samaritans, the crazy people, those who had no resources and no hope. He told his followers to not lie, or bear false witness. Think about where Trump lands on those issues. He’s proven over and over again that he hates people different than he is with a passion and that he is a pathological liar.
Notice also that Jesus said nothing about birth control, abortion, homosexuality, capitalism, socialism, the “right” to own and shoot guns or about any of the other hot-button issues that drive the evangelicals to do their dirty work and allows them to justify their completely ignoring of the Jesus they claim to love.
I remember one video where Trump, with hate filling his face, is waving his wee little fists at DNC speakers crying out he wants to hit them, hit them so bad! His fury is palpable because they had the gall to criticize him.
In summary, Jesus said that the first and great commandment is to love God with your whole being and to love your neighbor as yourself. That is the whole of the Law and the prophets.
To vote for Trump is to break both of those commandments. A vote for Trump is a slap in the face of Jesus.