Today the United States of America will make Donald J. Trump their 45th President. In light of this impossible to miss historical reality, How should Canadian Christians respond to the Trump presidency? I ask this question because, in spite of the fact that the USA is a foreign nation, we Canadians naturally take an interest in, and are impacted by, what happens south of the 49th parallel. Moreover, all Canadians have an opinion about Trump, which means it is almost impossible to avoid conversation about him. Naturally, therefore, how we respond to President Trump necessarily impacts our public witness to Jesus Christ.
Thus, I offer these 6 ways that we, as Canadian Christians, ought to respond to the Trump presidency.
- With Prayer. Paul instructs Timothy to encourage the church in Ephesus to make supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgiving to God for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life. (1 Timothy 2:1-2). He goes on to suggest that the prayers of God’s people might even have a saving effect on the people we pray for. At the time that Paul wrote this letter, Nero was Emperor in Rome. Nero persecuted Christians with almost unrivaled severity. Thankfully, Trump is no Nero.
- With Respect. Even though we are not Americans, and thus do not officially fall under Trump’s civic authority, he, nevertheless, requires our respect. In Romans 13:1-2, Paul writes, “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment.” Later in the chapter (Romans 13:7) Paul also writes, “Pay to all what is owed them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honour to whom honour is owed.” As President of the United states, we owe Trump our respect (NOTE: this same truth holds for outgoing President Obama and current Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, among other world leaders).
- With Concern. Even while we ought to give our sincere respect to President Trump, we must also consider the way in which Trump presents himself to America and the world. Does he exhibit the kind of character that Jesus exhorts Christians to grow in? As a leader among leaders, does he demonstrate the character requirements for leadership in the local church (1 Timothy 3:1-7, 2 Timothy 2:22-26, Titus 16-9)? Even though Trump is not required to exhibit these character qualities to be President of the United States, we should be careful to recognize that Trump is not an appropriate model of leadership for the Church.
- With Hope. For Christians, it is true that Trump is on the right side of many issues that are dear to our hearts. Perhaps the most important among these is his public commitment to the unborn. Moreover, many in Trump’s administration stand for things that we agree with. Just as God raised up the pagan Cyrus to be a messiah of the LORD (Isaiah 45:1), so too we can hope that God will use President Trump to do some good in the United States and around the world. Let us pray to this end.
- With Balance. It is natural and easy for Christians to balk at the Democratic agenda, to tire of the “liberal media,” and to have feared a Hillary presidency. Now that the Republicans control the White House and both Chambers of Congress, it is tempting to celebrate. However, in our rejection of the Left, we have to be careful not to be too excited about the Right. In reality, we have One King, the Lord Jesus, and He is not a registered Republican. Both the Left and the Right are run by sinful men and women. And, even if the current Right is better than the current Left, it is no substitute for Christ. In our zeal to oppose Clinton and the Democrats let us not be blind to the sins of Trump and the Republicans.
- With Quietness. Our mission is not to promote Donald Trump, or any other politician, but to promote Jesus Christ. In our conversations with unbelieving Canadians it would be an absolute disaster if our vocal support of President Trump closed ears to the Gospel. Rather than trumpeting the agenda of a sinful president, we need to be sharing the Gospel of our saving King. Thus, it is better to say nothing about Trump so that we have an opportunity to say something about Jesus. For, how will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in Him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news” (Romans 10:14-15). Will we choose to be heralds of Trump or of Christ? Most Canadians will not permit us to be both.
Donald J. Trump will be the President of the United States for a time. At most, his administration will last for 8 years. The Lord Jesus Christ is the King of kings and the Lord of lords forever and ever. His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom that is full of justice and righteousness. Let us Canadian Christians, therefore, not lose focus or perspective in the age that we live.