Evangelical Christians have unquestionably been a loyal and largely unmovable base of support for President Donald Trump since he has been in office, and in some cases before. Should the election results not be overturned by recounts or court decisions, where do they go and what should they do?

Perhaps no evangelical pastor has been a stronger and more consistent supporter and defender of President Trump than Dr. Robert Jeffress, who leads the 13,000-member First Baptist Church in Dallas.

In an essay written for the Fox News website, Jeffress urges his fellow evangelicals to return to their first love. He’s not calling for their withdrawal from politics, but for them to focus on something that is often beyond understanding.

Presuming a confirmed win by Joe Biden, Jeffress asks, “What is God doing in this outcome? Why would He allow this to happen?”

The presumption is that the God of the evangelicals should be on the side of Republicans and conservatives, but as Scripture notes, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.” (Isaiah 55:8)

While acknowledging that “for millions of Christians across our nation” the election of former Vice President Biden and Sen. Kamala Harris “is a bitter pill to swallow,” Jeffress writes he once quoted Daniel 2:21 to Donald Trump the year before he was inaugurated: “It is God who changes the times and the epochs. He removes kings and establishes kings.”

Jeffress adds, “Human government and rulers change at God’s direction and design. Our faith and our salvation lie not in any human ruler, but in the ruler of rulers, the King of kings. The fact that God has established authorities means that by obeying the government, we obey God.”

For many that is going to be the bitterest pill of all. How can they pray for an administration that promotes values and ideologies they oppose? The scriptural command leaves no room for debate, much less disagreement.

This is another opportunity for evangelicals to obey what their leader — Jesus — commanded them to do. While He presides over governments and rulers, what influence on culture and even government would it have if evangelicals en masse began obeying His commands? As most should know and have heard in sermons in many of their churches, these include, “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor’ and ‘Hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous ... “ (Matthew 5:43-45)

That politics and politicians may work contrary to evangelical beliefs does not mean they have been deprived of opportunities to do good. On abortion they can support a local pregnancy help center. When it comes to reaching poor children trapped in failing schools, they can start a fund to help at least some escape to good private schools.

Poverty? A church might organize retired professionals to reach out to the poor to help them find meaningful work and train them to qualify for it. They could also visit those in prison, as Jesus commanded. It isn’t difficult to find them. Research ministries already help and volunteer.

Jeffress concludes his essay by saying that God’s command “applies all the same, whether the emperor was the faith-friendly Constantine, or the evil emperor Nero.

“When Joe Biden becomes president, we should commend him for the things he does right. We should condemn the things he does wrong. And above all, we must pray fervently for our president. If President Biden succeeds, we all succeed.”

As Baptists might respond: Amen!

Readers may email Cal Thomas at tcaeditors @tribpub.com.

(31) comments

public-redux

There is the Benedict Option, per Rod Dreher.

Brookhawk

How about simply doing unto others as you would have them do unto you? Do you want your right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness to be dependent upon your race, or your sex, or much of anything about your private life? Do you want Donald Trump, Joe Biden or anybody else to make decisions about you and your health for you? Start right there, evangelicals. Start with the fundamental Christian mantra - do unto others as you would have them do unto you, and quit giving your money to some televangelist who would have you do otherwise and convince you that you must buy your way, through him, into heaven.

Piedmontgardener

As a center right fiscal conservative who is socially liberal, I've watched the descent of the evangelical movement into transactional politics over social issues the last years with a mixture of pity and disgust. In the end, this is about embracing any political force that will effect the desired solutions of ending abortion rights, ending equal protection that conflicts with their Bible world view and being allowed to discriminate based upon those beliefs being stronger than the U.S. Constitution. Now, at least, all of that is in the open, rather than in code words.

phydeaux994

It’s very simple Cal, you cannot be a Christian, or any Religion that believes that all “men” are created equal by our GOD, AND support Donald John Trump. He is the Antichrist, who has duped those that Worship him. Where do Evangelicals go now? Back to the true GOD, back to America, the Home of the Brave. Donald John Trump FAILED in his very 1st real test as a President of the United States of America under fire.

shiftless88

Evangelicals are all about proclaiming God put so and so in office, unless they disagree with that person. It's like they are claiming to know God's will better than God. Weird.

jsklinelga

It is not surprising that this powerful message is lost on many that comment here and that it is a shame. Pastor Jeffries is not alone. Personally I had the same feelings as I am sure countless others have also.

Basically, in this troubled time it is a golden opportunity for Christians to practice their faith. A bitter pill? Yes on the surface but it is a Christian's responsibility to trust God and obey the government that has been put in place. Instead of spreading hate and vitriol it is commanded to love your enemy. Instead of just protesting abortion work to help mother's with unwanted pregnancy.

The author says ,reach out to help the poor. I am sure if space was allowed he would say turn the other cheek and do not fight evil with evil . Basically he is saying follow the real teaching of Christ and help change the world. And trust God to watch over our country no matter who the leader may be. A powerful message that helped make America the country it is.

HappySeller2014

Good points. But I am a fan of keeping my friends close, and my enemies closer. After four years of watching evangelicals turn into sheep and lemmings, I am not trusting any "miracle" turnaround anytime soon. You cannot just turn on and off support for a racist, narcisstic, non-empathetic, multiple-divorced womanizer like a light switch. God rarely saves cults from themselves.

NewMarketParent

@HappySeller2014

I don't know if they were turned so much as given permission to release. A lot of people decided to let their inner monologue become their outer speech.

There is definitely a lot of unpacking to do in the next few years. I grew up around a few POC who had nothing nice to say about Caucasians they knew. I used to look at them cross-eyed because I grew up in a pretty nice middle-class neighborhood. As I grew older, and my parents felt like I could understand the world around me more, they started revealing their own stories of missed opportunities and unfair treatment at the hands of Caucasian supervisors.

I have 2 very smart parents. They are not perfect, but are both overachievers in their own right. Part of their overachievement is because of the pressures of racism and the need to outperform in order to survive.

A lot of people think that racism just hurts the offended. It often robs the racists of the self-reflection and soul-searching needed to grow and mature. It also limits them to a life of mediocrity that will slowly collapse in an increasingly global workforce.

Hayduke2

Really jsk? Based on previous posts and comments this seems to be disingenuous. No offense meant just stating my observations.

public-redux

jsk, You really have the faux-humble superiority complex act perfected. It is reliably amusing. Keep it up.

Tanstaafl

Why do you constantly troll the FNP? please show some courtesy and troll your sarcasm elsewhere;

public-redux

You might find Fooled by Randomness: The Hidden Role of Chance in Life and in the Markets helpful. It is a book that addresses the fallibility of human knowledge.

phydeaux994

Spend a little time here before you make judgements about those that have been commenting here and their history with one another. Do you know who jsk is? That might put things in a little better perspective for you. Peace.✌️

Dwasserba

I'm thinking that evengelicals will realize they already joined a ministry they care about more than whatever denomination they're in, and will dedicate their energy and riches to supporting rallies for their new Messiah. Hallelujah holy s***

olefool

At the rate they're going in now, I'd say they're headed for hellinahandbasket... Let's hope they take their Jim Jones wannabe with them...

HappySeller2014

Nice parlay after my Kool-Aid characterization! [wink]

HappySeller2014

People drink the Kool-Aid still in 2020. Many been drinking it heavily for past four years. And everyone knows where drinking too much Kool-Aid gets you.

The Republican Party had no national platform at its convention this year. Just whatever Trump and his kids wanted. Look at all the speakers. If you cross Trump or his tribe, you are fired, or sued, or slandered. No belief in science. No belief in societal norms. Worship Trump or you are the enemy. And, to make yourself known to other members of the tribe, yell very loud, tote around guns, wave or truck flags everywhere, slow down buses on interstates, etc.

These are the observations of a tribe. Or cult. These evangelicals have signed up to the cult and will follow him anywhere, just like Jerry Falwell Jr.

Biden and Harris are religious. I know Biden is a Catholic. These evangelicals are just worshipping an idol in the flesh. God will NOT be happy. And, if they try to change their tune here in 2021, the hypocracy will be so glaring it will blind you. I have never been able to figure out what all these folks see in Trump - are their lives better than in 2016 now? Are they employed? Are all these farmers getting better crop prices? Is taxpayer spending on the wall going well?

2016 through 2020 has just been Kool-Aid redux of many, many flavors.

Dwasserba

Michael Moore tried to build a bridge and illuminate in "Michael Moore in Trump land," unabashadly in support of a bristly Hillary, parts of it dated in its assumptions gone awry, but he was in touch with how Trump appeals to people who feel so alienated from any effective impact on their own government they want to throw a grenade at it. Fix their issues and we fix the chasm.

Dwasserba

Sorry: MM in Trumpland, free on Youtube https://youtu.be/HJ0qvdLBxuk

Tanstaafl

Our elections are controlled by powers hungry of the top 1% of very wealthy financial

overloads running this country, founders Koch Network. Anyone who stands up to Koch

Network are slandered, financially ruined, sued, investigated, endlessly. And McConnell

will continue holding power over Lawmakers. Congress people have no choice. Most of

Congress are very fine people who are not influenced by or give favors to donors as such. But the few in key positions obey, and Koch Network wins every time. It has been

published that war against Iran is next big push for America. America has always fought oil wars.

sevenstones1000

“The fact that God has established authorities means that by obeying the government, we obey God.”

Somebody needs to tell this con man that it America, we wrote, God doesn’t.

And obeying the government means leave the women’s health clinics alone. They’re legal.

public-redux

“ While acknowledging that “for millions of Christians across our nation” the election of former Vice President Biden and Sen. Kamala Harris “is a bitter pill to swallow,” Jeffress writes ...”

It is almost like these millions of Christians don’t know Biden and Harris are Christians too.

HappySeller2014

People like to gloss over the obvious.

The Republican Party is no longer a political party. It is a cult.

NewMarketParent

@HappySeller2014

That's right and unfortunately, cults gonna cult.

I often struggle with trying to figure out the magic to deprogramming, but there is no one strategy that is successful.

HappySeller2014

Thanks NMP. Yeah, not sure how all of this is gonna be unravelled. I just know cults never end up well.

NewMarketParent

@HappySeller2014

Unfortunately it is a time-old tale that didn't start with Jonestown. If you ever get a chance, look up the Anabaptists in the German city of Munster after Martin Luther. I heard about it on a podcast by Dan Carlin. The story is riveting and horrific.

threecents

It boggles the mind that religious people would support someone as corrupt as Trump. Trump changed to pro-life just to get their votes, but why pick Trump over those who have been pro-life their whole lives and those who go to church and know the top of a bible from the bottom? Evangelicals will eventually have to face that question, and historians will not be kind to them. They will have to answer why it was only after Trump came out as anti-immigrant and anti-minority that Trump distinguished himself from the crowd of candidates, and his popularity among Evangelicals soared. His history and present of corruption was part of the package they embraced. What the heck?

public-redux

“ It boggles the mind that religious people would support someone as corrupt as Trump.”

Perhaps it is time for you to reconsider your assumptions about how religion influences people. As you’ve observed, the facts are not consistent with your assumptions. Since the facts aren’t changing.....

BTW, my comment would be exactly the same if you had written “non” in front of “religious”.

NewMarketParent

@threecents

One train of thought is that religion causes a lot of cognitive dissonance that there lots of stories in the bible that seem to either counter each other or some that seem to either be figurative while others seem to be literal. That can cause the many to cherry pick information to help fit a narrative that they either construct themselves or their spiritual leaders help them construct. The faith and allegiance that is reinforced very often is built upon sort of short cuts and short hand that is developed where only public display of devotion to the teachings of Christ are used as a bellwether of how trustworthy people are.

When you take that and pair it up with the sunken cost fallacy or tribalism, it is not hard to see how once you are fully invested, you could dismiss almost anything to stay with the in-group.

Dwasserba

Lots of Christians go to church rarely. Lots do, but throw only a dollar or two its way. Most aren't clear on what denominations require of members if it isn't theirs. Some are non-denominational regular churchgoers. Some refuse to join any church but consider themselves Christian. Others call themselves "followers of Christ" because they don't want to be associated with what "Christian" has come to mean to some. Some think Catholics aren't "Christian" when Catholics were there first. It's a free for all, and at the center of it is, "Don't judge how others express their Christianity." Whomever is not against us is with us. Defining "us", on the other hand...

Tanstaafl

I was told they were victims of a well thoughts out misinformation campaign. Could that really work so well?

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