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Evangelicals & Character

Knowledge will give you power, but Character respect (Bruce Lee)

People are interested by talent. God is impressed by Character (Rick Warren)

Character is doing the right thing when no one is looking (J.C. Watts)

Talent is a gift, but Character is a choice (John Maxwell)

Character is what you are in the dark (D.L. Moody)

            The impetus that compels me to blog today is the response former President Donald J. Trump received as he made his first public appearance since leaving the White House. Former President Trump was the keynote speaker at the recently completed CPAC Annual Meeting. I am troubled and filled with angst about the continual adulation former President Trump still receives from (in my opinion) far too many people. It is evident DJT will remain as one of the major voices in the Republican Party as we proceed towards the mid-term elections in 2020 and the National Elections in 2024, and possibly for many years beyond.

I write as one who voted for Donald J. Trump in 2020, and I carry no water whatsoever for Joseph Biden nor the Democratic Party. Yet, I am equally troubled with the abased popularity such a polarizing figure such as Donald J. Trump (DJT) still retains with many in the Republican Party. I admit I was sickened at the boisterous praise DJT received from the CPAC event participants this past weekend. I know some will counter this crowd represents a tiny portion of the Conservative Party, but I would argue it represents a significant portion of those on the Right. I have had one of the few disagreements with fraternity brothers who comprise the small demographic of fraternity brothers on the Right.

There is much speculation whether Trump will run again in 2024, but one thing is abundantly clear. DJT will remain a significant voice in the Republican Party for the foreseeable future. As I said earlier, I did vote for DJT in 2020, but please make no mistake my vote was more an anti-Biden vote than a pro-Trump vote. Speaking frankly, especially now that DJT no longer holds a position of authority, I find DJT a most despicable person. Though I align myself with the vast majority of DJT’s policy decisions, I still hold character counts.

I subscribe Creeds are vastly more pertinent than the subsequent Deeds. The Evangelical worldview theologically understands a person can hold all the correct doctrines yet still be spiritually bankrupt. However, the Word of God makes abundantly God frowns upon individuals who possess the external veneer of righteousness; however, Christ regards them as dark and black internally. The Pharisees were often eviscerated (and deservingly so) by Jesus Christ for their ability to stand on the street corners of Jerusalem and make huge spectacles of their supposed righteousness. The observant Bible reader realizes that Christ castigated these supposed holy-men as white-washed tombs, vipers, and hypocrites.

Whatever you choose to believe about President Trump’s actions on January 6th, I find his overall track record both deplorable and detestable. I can start with DJT making a major political announcement from the Playboy Mansion to his reticence of admitting he was a sinner in need of repentance to his infamous remarks during the 2020 summer of mayhem, “when the looting starts, the shooting starts.”

Even at the CPAC event, during his remarks, DJT chose to falsely proclaim yet again he “won” the 2020 election. Say what you want about Al Gore; at least he chose to take the high road and graciously concede the 2000 election. I believe he did so for the good of the country; at least I can give him that.

Just listening to the news report from the CPAC event made me wonder, “what are some people thinking.” America was on the brink of anarchy with people dying as a result, whether directly or indirectly, because of the hubris of four years of a DJT presidency.

I will submit America is full of crap if they try to posit that Character still truly matters. The evidence just does not support that contention.

If Character still mattered, then I submit:

  1. Snoop Dog would not be a highly in-demand pitchman for many companies nor have his own show on TBS

  2. Cardi B would not be a major star in the music industry

  3. William Clinton would not be a major figure on the speaker circuit earning million per year

  4. Hilary Rodman Clinton would not remain an influential voice in the Democratic Party

  5. An innumerable number of sports figures & celebrities of all genres would not hold the social cache they hold over many in the culture

My second book will take a critical look at Caucasian Evangelicals and the 180-degree change they exhibited when they spent the decades of the ’80s and ’90s fanning the flames that Character and Morality matter. I do not understand Conservatives’ moral permissiveness that conveniently forsook that ideology when Donald Trump was the individual with the Character and Morality issues. As the character from SNL “The Church Lady” was say, “How Convenient?” If Character and Moral Fitness were a non-starter for William Jefferson Clinton in the ’90s, then how in the world does Donald J. Trump become qualified to be the standard-bearer for the Republican Party in 2016 and 2020 and for some still today?

One principle I learned during my seminary training is the need for consistency. One prominent Christian thinker I have learned to deeply respect really made an impression upon me when he stressed to need “if one is wrong, then they need to be wrong consistently.” Now, while on the surface that may sound illogical, I would submit it makes perfect sense. I would submit what the advocate of this philosophical approach (Dr. James White) means is the need for one to think in a logical, rational manner where each preceding thought builds upon a prior logical, rational thought. That does not guarantee the conclusion will always be correct, but at least a person has applied a logical, rational line of thought to the matter.

I did not vote for DJT in 2016, primarily due to the issue of his personal character, and right up until the election in 2020, I had made my mind up not to vote for him in 2020. Dr. Albert Mohler was able to persuade me with his logic and reasoning. While some could argue Dr. Mohler’s argument breaks down to nothing more than a lesser of two evils justification, I came away convinced enough that I could make a compelling enough of a case that the actions and policies of DJT would be far more beneficial to the Nation than the actions and policies of Joseph Biden.

Voting for DJT in 2020 was one of the more anguished decisions I have made as an adult. I am not 100% sure I will be vindicated when I stand before Jesus Christ at the Bema Seat, but one thing I know is my choices were severely limited in 2020.

I do still hold that Character Does Count. I will defend that supposition until I take my last breath. The demand for Character does not equate to a demand for Perfection. No one, outside of Jesus Christ, has ever and will ever meet that threshold. As Pastor John McArthur so astutely teaches, “It is not the perfection of our lives, it is the direction of our lives.”

I am not perfect, but I do have Character. My wife and anyone who knows me really well will readily attest to my many foibles, but I trust many of the quotes that begin this blog article; others will heartily attest I possess consistently, yet not perfectly.

Ultimately, it does not matter what Miss Monique or any other human would posit about my Character. The only Person who matters is He, who will return to judge the living and the dead. I can guarantee Character will matter to Him immensely. That is why it is most disappointing; it apparently does not matter to many of my fellow Conservatives. Yet, Liberals and the larger culture demonstrate far too easily they are just as misguided as my Conservative countrymen.

            Let me know what you think. Until then, keep your hands to the plow and seek to serve for an Audience of One.v

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