Charles vs Trump!
Like him or loathe him, the 45th President of the United States is continuing to hoard headlines. And one of the most recent, controversial topics is the debate whether to cancel his official visit to the UK, and if he does visit, denying him the privilege of addressing MP’s in Parliament’s Westminster Hall.
And so I’ve recently caught up with my Pastor, Charles Fleming, a charismatic, evangelical Christian, to find out what he thinks about the oldest and wealthiest person to ever assume the presidency. And is this man coming up trumps…
So Charles, it appears a compromise is trying to be sought. That Trump may be allowed to speak in the Royal Gallery (currently covered in scaffolding) in the House of Lords as opposed to Westminster. It would seem that the oldest and most prestigious medieval hall is traditionally reserved for the most respected world leaders, those who have made an outstanding, positive difference in the world, such as Nelson Mandela and Pope Benedict XVI
1) What do you make of this?
A bit hypocritical really. The Chinese president was allowed to address the House of Commons and we have concerns about human rights issues within China. I think it’s a premature decision to make regarding Trump. He has a lot to say and he appears to be somewhat egotistical but we must judge him by what he does and we haven’t really had enough time to see him in action yet.
Trump has this ability to upset rather a lot of people. He’s been described as a bigot, a liar, a racist, a con artist, and also a big worry to foreign policy. A prevailing attitude is that he is completely un-presidential, incredibly offensive, or could possibly be a new Hitler. It’s not shocking that some people are afraid of what he may or may not do.
2) What would you say to those who are deeply frightened by the seemingly potential harm this man may do, either in spirit or in practice? (and not only by his ideas but capabilities?)
Yes, he is frightening and my concern is that perhaps he is not to be trusted. I feel he will say what he needs to say to get where he feels he needs to go. He is shaking up the status quo and I think that is a good thing because we are having to ask ourselves questions and re-visit issues. For example, ethnic majorities in certain countries (including America) are feeling marginalized with foreign policies and that they are not being heard. With regards to being afraid of his capabilities, I would remind people that God is supreme in sovereignty and that we must continue to trust Him as He works out His purposes on the earth. And our aim should be to learn what we need to through this time.
With regards to faith, Trump identifies as a Presbyterian. In a YouTube clip I watched recently (The Family Leadership Summit) he says that “I’m a Protestant, a Presbyterian. I go to church, I love God, I love my church.” But he has also been known to say that although he participates in Holy Communion, he has not asked God to forgive his sins, stating: “I think if I do something wrong, I just try and make it right. I don’t bring God into that picture.” (Wikipedia)
3) If you happened to overhear Trump regaling a room with this, what might you say to him?
I would have to challenge him! And remind him of the doctrine of salvation. Without the power of God we are unable to conquer sins. Self-correction will get us so far but true freedom from sin and the effect of it comes only through the power of the Holy Spirit working in our lives. It sounds as though he’s trying to tick boxes and be all things to all men.
4) And if he were face to face with our Creator, can you imagine how He might respond to this line of thinking?
I believe that God would challenge Trump regarding his pride and self-righteousness and remind him that, “Our righteous acts are like filthy rags…” (Isaiah 64:6)
There have been certain observations which have caused possible religious scare mongering. That the Trump family owns possibly the most expensive building in the United States, at 666 Fifth Avenue. That they may also be in the process of building another (At One Journal Square) that will be 666 feet tall and cost $666 million dollars. That the Hebrew prophets warned us of a ‘little horn’ in Daniel who “…made war with the saints…and he shall speak great words against the most High…” whilst they make assumptions that the word ‘trump’ is a little horn.
Others however have referenced the book of Isaiah and claimed that God has revealed to them that Trump will be used for the good of America, just as God used the pagan king Cyrus for the good of the Jewish people.
5) Is the world contending with the mark of the beast or the potential mark of a great leader?
We must not get melodramatic. No, we are not looking at a great leader and no we are not looking at the anti-Christ. Scripture says that the anti-Christ is a man of peace that will lull people into a false sense of security. We’re contending with a guy who is not a part of the political system therefore he has an alternative way of looking at things which has got our attention. I see him as a person who is shaking up the norm. If we will allow this it will play a part in enabling us to get to the real heart of the issues that we are facing as human beings.
Interview by Debbie Smith.