During this election cycle, I started using the phrase “Justification by Politics” or “Justification by Presidential Primary.” It was tongue in cheek, and was in reference to Southern Baptist and other Evangelical Intelligentsia members declaring salvation over a Roman Catholic candidate, Marco Rubio. Even though Rubio said he was “fully theologically and doctrinally aligned with the Roman Catholic Church,” it didn’t prevent Russell Moore, Eric Teetsel, Greg Laurie, Rick Warren and others from calling him a genuine Christian. Hence, “Justification by Politics.” If you’re a Republican, just consider yourself saved. Similarly, Mitt Romney – a Mormon – also benefited from the Justification by Politics motif, as the Billy Graham Association removed Mormonism’s designation as a cult upon his primary win.
While the Intelligentsia was decreeing a Roman Catholic a Christian, another wing of evangelicalism – including such notable leaders as Robert Jeffress, Jerry Falwell Jr, and Paula White – was decreeing Donald Trump a Christian. That’s when the left wing of evangelicalism (the Intelligentsia) got all frothy-mouthed upset that the right wing of evangelicalism (angry fundamentalists and charismatics) called Trump a Christian when his behavior was unbecoming, overlooking their own double-standard in promoting Rubio as Christian when his doctrinal confession was so unbecoming a Christian. Pot and Kettle were on different sides of the political aisle, and the cognitive dissonance was impressive to watch. Both sides, effectively, have practiced and preached “Justification by Politics.”
Donald Trump seems to actually hold to that belief.
Speaking a few days ago in Florida, Trump said…
“So go out and spread the word and once I get in, I will do my thing that I do very well. And I figure it’s probably maybe the only way I’m going to get to heaven. So I better do a good job. Okay? Thank you. Thank you very much.”
Was Trump serious? Well, remember when he said he has never asked forgiveness? In later explanation, he said it was because he tried to live his life in such a way that he wouldn’t have to ask forgiveness. One wonders if winning the presidency and governing well is some kind of penance for one who doesn’t quite get the concept of grace and confession.
Given the polls recently, if Trump were right about Justification by Politics, it looks like he’d have little better than a snowball’s chance to get to Heaven.
It turns out, however, salvation comes easier (to us) than winning the presidency. It’s free. If you would like an easier path to Heaven than being the most powerful man in the world, click this link.
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