Once upon a time, a wise Rabbi said, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.” (Matthew 6:33)
More recently, at his inauguration President Trump said:
From this day forward, a new vision will govern our land. From this day forward, it’s going to be only America first, America first….The Bible tells us how good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity…. When America is united, America is totally unstoppable. There should be no fear. We are protected and we will always be protected. We will be protected by the great men and women of our military and law enforcement. And most importantly, we will be protected by God.
President Trump may be well-meaning, and there may be a fine line, at times, between healthy patriotism and full out nationalism. But there cannot be that same line in Biblical Christianity. With respect to what Trump believes the Bible is teaching, I want to explore what the Bible, indirectly, teaches about what Trump said. Jesus, did not teach, nor would he teach, America First. In fact, as shocking as it may be to the random evangelical in the pew, Jesus was surprising un-patriotic and went around saying things like, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place.” (John 18:36)
Now, this is where it gets awkward. Sorry, but this has to be said.
Could it be that Christians are fighting so hard for political wins these days because this world is their home? Have they given up on the Kingdom to come and they are staking their tent pegs in this world? Has nationalism hidden in the guise of patriotism become our new golden calf of worship? And if so, what then will be the model of evangelism? It seems the chosen form of evangelism that many Christians are now cheering for is the holy writ of executive orders and not the Holy Writ of Heaven’s Executive.
The paramount principle comes down to this: Am I an America, Asian, African, Anglo, first or a Christian first? It is ok to be a Christian American, but it is spiritually dangerous to be an American Christian.
What is the difference? The difference is which informs which? Do my American values inform my walk with Christ? Or does my walk with Christ inform my values of being American? I want to suggest to you that if you are not daily putting thought into which it is, I assure you your cultural heritage will always overshadow your spiritual because as the wise Rabbi once said, “Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light.” (John 3:19)
In a world, with increasing social media outburst of political drama and troll wars, we must stop responding, start thinking, and keep praying for wisdom. Jesus is real. Jesus is real, and He is really coming back. This is good news! However, let us also not forget that before that happens, the Rabbi warned, “For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.” Matthew 24:24
I mean no disrespect of President Trump. The truth is, “a new vision will govern our land from this day forward, it’s going to be only America first, America first….,” is selectively good or bad depending on your liberty of political thought. Such a statement is politically subjective. I do not claim he is a false prophet or a prophet at all, but we will worship anything. It is our fallen nature, and that is not Trump’s fault. However, if we as Christians get swept up in the titillation of the political frenzy and internalize “America first” as an identity issue we place personally on ourselves, sudden destruction is even at the door.
The Biblical Evangelical Christian knows a President will not heal this world. It will not matter if the President is from either side of the aisle. God has not given the keys to Heaven and Hell to global leaders. The world is too fractured for a man to heal, or even hold together much longer. But while our hope is not in the political leaders of this world, it is in the Coming King of the next world!
If you are fighting harder to save this world, than you are to prepare others for the next world you need to stop and check yourself. This goes out equally to the “tree huggers” and the “frackers;” this world is not our home. Evil people are going to do evil things. The way to transform it is not to fight for it, but to save the people, preach the gospel, and secure your identity in Christ alone, and to make all other identities, as great as they may be, subjective to the principles of Love, which is the rule of God.
#JesusFirst It is a movement. Pass it along. He is really coming, with a rod of iron, and He will rule all the nations. It is time to get the message out. Jesus is King. And all other rulers will bow to Him and therefore, there is no need to use force to fight for a world that will fade away. Rather we need to warn the world by the preaching of the word, not worldly ideology.