Christ Figure: A literary technique or discovery that a person, whether they exist in reality or in fiction, parallels Christ in some way. The person or character might display one or more of the following actions: performance of miracles, manifestation of divine qualities, healing others, displaying kindness and forgiveness, fighting for justice, being guided by the Spirit, and in their own suffering, rejection, death, and/or resurrection. Christ figures are often martyrs, sacrificing themselves for larger causes. William Wallace, due to his cause, torture, and death for his country, is an example of an historical person who has been called a Christ Figure. Superman, due to his being an only son sent by his father to save the world, is an example of a character who is often thought of as a Christ Figure.
I don’t want to talk about politics publicly. It’s not because I don’t have deep-seated political views or that I don’t like it. And it is not something that I think I have no responsibility in. I do. You do too if you live here in America or some other place where your voice matters. However, I have been called to something very particular and too much revealed passion in this area can damage the opportunities that God has put before me. This is why this is only my second or third political post in nearly 15 years of writing well over two-thousand posts. However, this may, nevertheless, cause damage that I don’t like.
I have already revealed (one time) on social media that I am voting for Trump and I feel a responsibility to write about this only because of a certain well-respected theologian’s remarks about him. For many of you it is no surprise that I’m voting for Trump. As well, many of you expect that I am voting for him and it would come as a surprise if I didn’t! Others of you will be upset and angered by this and may quit following me, supporting the ministry, or using our products. I don’t want this, but I realize I am not going to make everyone happy, even many of those that I care about such as yourself.
With that said, I want to briefly make my case to why I do and will support Trump and disagree a respected theologian..
What You Do Matters Much More Than What You Say
I was somewhat taken aback by John Piper’s revelation that He is not voting because he does not want to “determine which path of destruction [he] will support” (I think that was his conclusion). He believes Donald Trump’s character is just as damaging to this country as Biden’s support of abortion. Here is some of his reasoning:
I remain baffled that so many Christians consider the sins of unrepentant sexual immorality (porneia), unrepentant boastfulness (alazoneia), unrepentant vulgarity (aischrologia), unrepentant factiousness (dichostasiai), and the like, to be only toxic for our nation, while policies that endorse baby-killing, sex-switching, freedom-limiting, and socialistic overreach are viewed as deadly.John Piper
I have been in the theological world long enough to know that you either learn to understand that those who believe differently than you have valid reasons for believing the way they do or you harden all your categories and are content with a small circle of fellowship. I try to take the path of understanding. So, I do understand where Piper (a very gracious theologian) is coming from. And he may be right, I just don’t agree with him.
First, even if I conceded the destructiveness of Trump’s character, I don’t think we can easily judge a person’s except by what they do. What they say is much less important. I think this passage is perfect for this:
Matthew 21:28 “What do you think? A man had two sons. He went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work in the vineyard today.’ 21:29 The boy answered, ‘I will not.’ But later he had a change of heart and went. 21:30 The father went to the other son and said the same thing. This boy answered, ‘I will, sir,’ but did not go. 21:31 Which of the two did his father’s will?” They said, “The first.”NET Bible
Jesus conceded this answer.
Jesus says here that what you do matters much more than what you say. In this case, the first son had good character. Why did he say what he said and tell his father he was not going to work in the vineyard? We are not told. I can only imagine that he was like a lot of us, expressing his true desires. He really didn’t want to work! I can understand that. Then he felt bad and went because he knew it was right. But the second son only wanted his father to think he had good character by saying the right things in a respectful way. But it is his action that mattered here.
Like it or not, Trump is a doer. He does and thinks what he says. I have been so irritated by politics since birth. I have no idea who they truly are because they play politics. I have no idea who they truly are just by what they verbally express. They say one thing and do another. Trumps introduction of relentless action on so many matters causes many of us to be refreshed in a way we did not think was going to happen in our lifetime. We like the way Trump has shaken Washington up. And it is our hope that his election causes both parties to reflect on this question: “Why do so many people like Donald Trump so much?” Then they may see the entire polluted character of today’s politics as unnecessary and counter-productive. Christ uses this parable to warn all the self-righteous hypocrites about saying one thing and doing another.
What you say is not the issue. It is what you do. Trump may say some things that Piper and others do not like, but his actions may be betraying his words about his character, just like the first son.
Burning Down the House
People who shake things up are necessary. I wish we had one in the media and in Hollywood, but we do have one in politics. This is someone who does things differently, someone who does not follow the status quo of a system tempered by a gavel of half-truths and corruption, someone who has a personality that is aggressive and forthright.
People hate Trump for his personality just as they hated Christ. I am not saying that Trump is a Christ-figure or even a Christian. I don’t know if he is either of the two. But if you define a Christ figure as “a character who possesses qualities or experiences events similar to those of Jesus Christ,” then I argue that he is. Let me explain.
Trump is progressing through Washington like Christ progressed through Jerusalem. He is breaking a mold and no one likes it. Why would they? No one really likes change. Politicians are uncomfortable with how the money-changing is done. They like the stability as it seems to create patterns for them to follow. They like their robes, their tassels, and getting their feet washed by business owners. They like Jerusalem the way it is. Trump is truly burning down the house and I am glad.
Piper seems to be scared Trump is destroying our country by being divisive. He says this:
This is true not only because [Trump’s] flagrant boastfulness, vulgarity, immorality, and factiousness are self-incriminating, but also because they are nation-corrupting. They move out from centers of influence to infect whole cultures. The last five years bear vivid witness to this infection at almost every level of society.John Piper
This is a laundry list of claims that, as I mention later, Piper does not back up. He calls Trump “factious.” It simply means dissent, schism, or faction. Does Piper think the kind of change we need can come without turbulence? What does Piper say about William Wilberforce and the abolition of slavery in England? What does he say about Martin Luther’s rash and dissident personality at the Reformation? Were they factious too? What about Christ? Does he think that the Temple can be rebuilt without first destroying it? I don’t know.
Past Sins and Present Accusations
Piper brings up Trumps past sins. There are three problems with this:
1. He brings up his past sins to make present allegations. How could someone like Piper do this? I’m sorry, I love Piper and I learn so much from him, but I think he is heading in a wrong direction here. If Trump is a Christian, as he says he is, these sins are covered. Only Satan brings up our past to vilify our present. Not only this, but even if Trump is not a Christian, we should be very carful in defining anyone by past sins such as these. Everyone can change.
Piper continually talked about the destructiveness of Trump’s character, but he gave no past quotes or illustrations, much less current ones. It was stated as if it was a fact. That is why I think this next point is necessary.
2. Piper and many others seem to believe the media. Trump has been called every name in the book from a xenophobe to a racist. But if I take away everything the media has said, and go off only what I have seen and heard from Trump, I can’t find it. I really can’t. With just about everything, I find the opposite in his word and actions. I’m not saying that Trump is not sometimes harsh, divisive , degrading, and too quick to accept and pronounce accusations that help his agenda, I just can’t let the media create my view. Maybe Piper has seen Trump be divisive by being racist or a hater of other countries, but I think I have all the intel that Piper has (unless he and Trump are close acquaintances!) and I don’t see it.
3. Who doesn’t have indiscretions? The things he is accused of saying and doing that desecrate his character are, indeed, improper. But how many of us don’t have a sordid past (and, many times, present) such as this. We just don’t have a paparazzi of media trailing us and putting on tape all our indiscretions. I could not imagine having on tape or video the things I have said and done done, even as a Christian. They would trump Trump’s indiscretions all day long. He is a lightweight if all he has is what the media has reported. And most of you have things in your past (and present) also, right? Maybe Piper doesn’t.
“Trump is Mean and Does Not Have Christian Character”
I don’t like the way Trump treats his enemies. I would love him to be kinder, more sympathetic, and more balanced in his treatment of their positions. I cringe when he calls people liars, idiots, stupid, and thugs.” With hesitation and trepidation I gaze at my phone as it sends a message that he has tweeted. But I hate to say this, I have also thought these things about what Christ said, so I don’t really know how to think about this! Did he just call those leaders “white-washed tombs” (Matthew 23:27)? Did he just say the greatest man who ever walked the earth (besides him) was a guy calling leaders and scholars a “brood of vipers” (Matthew 11:11)? Did Jesus not call them a brood of vipers himself? (Matthew 12:34)? He did. And here are a few other things Jesus has tweeted that will jolt many of you?
- “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.” –Matthew 10:34
- “Woe to you, blind guides, who say, ‘If anyone swears by the temple, it is nothing, but if anyone swears by the gold of the temple, he is bound by his oath.’ You blind fools! For which is greater, the gold or the temple that has made the gold sacred?” –Matthew 23:16-17
- And the Lord said to him, “Now you Pharisees cleanse the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness.” –Luke 11:39
- “And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” –Matthew 25:30
- “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea.” –Mark 9:42
- “But you have not known him. I know him. If I were to say that I do not know him, I would be a liar like you, but I do know him and I keep his word.” –John 8:55
- “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness.” –Matthew 23:27
- “You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” –John 8:44
- “You hypocrites, rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you, saying, 8 ‘This people honors Me with their lips, But their heart is far away from Me.” 9 ‘But in vain do they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the precepts of men.’” –Matthew 15:7
- “But as for these enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, bring them here and slaughter them before me.” –Luke 19:27“
- Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you.” –Matthew 7:6
- “Do you think that I have come to give peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division.” –Luke 12:51
- “And will cut him in pieces and put him with the hypocrites. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” –Matthew 24:51
- “Woe to those who laugh now, for you shall mourn and weep.” –Luke 6:25
- “…but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” –Luke 13:3,5
- “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.” –Matthew 25:41
This is hard to hear. There are many more, and you don’t want to look at the Old Testament and the Apostles. When the situation called for it, as long as they were in authority, they would often express themselves in cringeworthy ways!
I don’t really follow this path of most resistance myself. For one, I don’t have the authority that Christ had and I am not anyone’s elected leader. And for another, it is not my personality. But if you are God or the President of the United States, maybe, just maybe, you must talk this way to bring about change. Trump was elected to change things. Christ was killed for it. Christ had the mandate of God (being God himself) and Trump has the mandate of the American people.
Can you imagine what the Jerusalem Times was saying about Christ? Can you imagine the villain they created out of him on the Israeli Facebook and Twitter? Can you imagine the memes unbelievers would have of him? It’s this simple: people believed the media. “Christ is destroying Jerusalem and we must kill him.” The pressure was so intense that Nicodemus, a Pharisee and supporter of Christ, had to come to Christ at night because he did not want anyone to know he believed in him. Sound familiar? It is the same thing Chris Pratt will be doing when he sneaks out of Hollywood, at night, to go vote. He will have to do it in secret so that no one catches wind and crucifies him in the media. It was the same in Christ’s day. Most people caved to the political pressure of the day. That is why he was crucified by the Jewish leaders and a fearful Pilate. I feel as if Piper has done the same.
Is it possible the following is happening with Trump:
Mark 14:55 The chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin were looking for evidence against Jesus so that they could put him to death, but they did not find anything. 56 Many gave false testimony against him, but their testimony did not agree. 57 Some stood up and gave this false testimony against him:58 “We heard him say, ‘I will destroy this temple made with hands and in three days build another not made with hands.’” 59 Yet even on this point their testimony did not agree.NET Bible
Sound familiar? It does happen. Look at what you have heard him say and do. Is it conceivable the media is giving false testimony?
I am not too divergent in my politics (maybe a bit more libertarian than some), but I believe that most conservative policies are correct when it comes to upholding our constitution. And I believe in our constitution. With that said, I am still a one-issue voter and I have no problems confessing this. The issue of abortion is paramount. If you just switched the two candidates beliefs about this one thing, I would support Biden rather than Trump. Let me go further . . . I would support Bernie Sanders over Trump. I believe the president can do something about abortion. It is already progressing faster than it ever has since 1973. Piper believes that Trumps attitude is destroying the country while witnessing first-hand life literally being given the the most helpless by Trump’s appointments and support.
I love John Piper dearly. I don’t know him and don’t remember meeting him (though I may be wrong). And I am sad that the only thing I have written about him is this. I just don’t believe what he said in his post is true or responsible for a critical thinker and felt the need to respond. I believe we are in a time of political transition and things will always get messy when change is introduced.
I will continue to take note of my own imperfections and listen to and consider what those of you who disagree with me say. If this has done nothing to convince you to vote for Trump, that is okay. I don’t even know if that was my goal. Nevertheless, we can all agree that God is on the throne no matter who is the president and he will always accomplish his will. Therefore, I will not panic no matter who is elected. I will rejoice at His will being accomplished.