Let’s Unite Around Jesus, Not Divide Over Trump

By Michael Brown Published on November 15, 2018

Have you ever seen American evangelicals this divided? Have you ever seen followers of Jesus so torn apart over politics?

Obviously, during the Civil War era, Christian divisions were even deeper and more pronounced, as believers were literally killing each other over slavery and the actions of President Lincoln.

But in our lifetimes, have we seen such intense feelings, such passionate emotions, such virulent disagreements over politics within the evangelical Church?

During the Obama presidency, there were certainly deep differences between Christians who supported his policies and Christians who opposed his policies. But for the most part, those divisions fell along racial lines, with white evangelicals overwhelmingly opposing Obama and black evangelicals overwhelmingly supporting him.

And I doubt that many holiday dinners were disrupted over these divisions or that many people were unfriended on social media because of their political disagreements.

Today, things are different — and I say this without ascribing blame to any particular side or to the president himself. In fact, the last thing on my mind is to ascribe blame.

Instead, I write this to underscore the urgency of the hour and to emphasize why it is so important that we come together as followers of Jesus despite our political divides. (At present, there is even division between Kellyanne Conway, the president’s senior counsel, and her husband George over support for Trump.)

Seeking Understanding

Both the pro-Trump evangelicals and the anti-Trump evangelicals can make their cases, and each side can show why it believes it is right. But it’s unlikely that, at this juncture, either side will convince the other.

What each of us can do is this.

First, you can sit down with a fellow believer who differs with you and say, “Tell me why you feel the way you do. I really want to understand your point of view.”

Hopefully, that will lead to step two, in which you ask: “May I share my point of view with you now that I’ve heard and understood yours?”

If that succeeds, move on to point three, which is the one that really matters.

You can say, “Now that we understand our differences, can we agree that America is hurting and that we, as followers of Jesus, have the only message that will bring healing? Can we agree that there is no political solution to our nation’s greatest problems? Can we agree that if the Church is divided, the world will mock? Can we agree that the most important thing is that we unite in our love for the Lord and for our neighbor? Can we agree that the reputation of Jesus is far more important than our political affiliation?”

May They be Completely One

Jesus said, “By this all people will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35).

Can we demonstrate this love across the political divide? Can we demonstrate this love without total agreement on all points? Can we demonstrate this love by talking more about Jesus than about Trump (or Hillary or whoever)?

Shortly before He was crucified, the Lord prayed at length for our unity (see John 17), saying, “I am in them and You are in Me. May they be made completely one, so the world may know You have sent Me and have loved them as You have loved Me” (John 17:23). What an incredible prayer!

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To put it bluntly, it is Satan, the evil one, who wants to divide us (and thereby destroy us) while it is Jesus, our Savior, who wants to unite us (and thereby bless us). To whose voice are we listening? Whose promptings are we following? Whose example are we emulating?

I’m not for a moment suggesting that we bury our differences. I’m not advocating some kind of superficial, Kumbaya unity. Far from it. Personally, I detest such shallow shows. They do more harm than good.

But what I am saying is that, as important as politics may be and as consequential as Trump’s presidency certainly is, there are more important, even more consequential matters that deserve our attention.

Working Together to Save Lives

We recognize this during times of national calamity, like hurricanes or forest fires or floods. We all work together to save lives. We don’t see color. We don’t see ethnicity. We don’t see political affiliations. We see people in need, and we help them. Period.

That is how we need to view our nation today.

America is sinking. America is burning. America is suffering.

We have the answer in Jesus. And the world desperately needs what we have.

We have the answer in the gospel. We have the answer in the preaching of the cross. We have the answer in the power of the Spirit. We have the answer in the wisdom of the Word. We have the answer in practical, hands-on, demonstrable love. We have the answer in the power of unity. We have the answer in Jesus. And the world desperately needs what we have.

If you are committed to the lordship of Jesus and the authority of Scripture, if you are a born-again, follower of the Lamb, I’m willing to stand arm-in-arm with you to touch this broken nation, whether you think Trump is our greatest president ever or our worst president ever. I’m willing to put aside our political divisions in order to put Jesus first. Are you willing to do the same with me?

Only One Person Comes First

As someone called to offer cultural commentary (in writing and on radio and TV), I plan to continue to address relevant political issues, which means that I plan to comment more on the president in the days ahead (as someone who voted for him, unashamedly, in 2016). And it’s very possible that you will take issue with some of what I say.

But why must that challenge our deeper unity? Why must the secondary become the primary, no matter how important the secondary may be?

First is still first, and there’s only one Person who comes first in that way.

That’s why I continue to shout from the rooftops that Donald Trump is my president, not my savior. It’s a positive message meant to unify, not a divisive message meant to provoke.

So, what it will be?

My hand of fellowship is extended, open, and ready. How about yours?

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  • Anne

    Also ready! Will NOT allow the enemy to use my perspectives, my opinions, or my “interpretations” of facts to interfere in my reflection of the Lord. No arguing.

  • Paul

    “We have the answer in the gospel. We have the answer in the preaching of the cross. We have the answer in the power of the Spirit. We have the answer in the wisdom of the Word. We have the answer in practical, hands-on, demonstrable love. We have the answer in the power of unity. We have the answer in Jesus. And the world desperately needs what we have.”

    Set politics aside and we quickly see that Christian institutions are deeply divided on religious/doctrinal matters. We are far from united and the world wants no part of it.

    • Kathy

      Yes, that is the reason we must openly renounce these so-called Christian institutions (and the like) you cited and, as Dr. Brown wrote, “If you are committed to the lordship of Jesus and the authority of Scripture, if you are a born again follower of the Lamb…” we can be united by “putting Jesus first”.

      • Paul

        Sounds nice, but a few thousand years of church history reveals it is a fools errand because we can’t agree on the essentials. Catholics, Anglicans, Orthodox, Lutherans, Presbyterians, Baptists, Pentecostals, Adventists, etc have a difficult enough time being unified within their own institutions let alone being in unity with each other.

        I’m confident Michael is completely aware of these divisions which leaves me confused as to why this article seems so naive about it, as if politics alone is what divides us. Catholics, Orthodox, Anglicans and Protestants have been divided for centuries before Donald Trump was even a twinkle in his fathers eye. Political divisions in the church are a symptom of far deeper divisions, not the cause.

        • Kathy

          I agree. I repeated what Michael wrote concerning the unification of those that are committed to Jesus’ lordship, the authority of Scripture and have been born again. Many in those denominations you mentioned cannot relate to the above attributes, either individually or as a whole. Their authority may be the church, their lord is a human hierarchy, or they have never been indwelt by the Holy Spirit by the new birth. That’s why he singled out the faithful that can relate to those attributes, not just those with an allegiance to a particular group.

          • Paul

            In your opinion and experience, are those that are committed to Jesus’ lordship, the authority of Scripture and have been born again seriously divided over politics in general or Trump in particular?

          • Kathy

            In my view, people that are truly committed can’t be okay with anything that is contrary to the Word of God, like abortion, the homosexual lifestyle, etc. I have serious doubts about the sincerity of their claims, especially if they side with a politician advocating for anything that is considered disobedient to God. That’s where the division seems to be…those that take Scripture seriously and those that don’t. Most Bible believing Christians I know like what Trump is accomplishing, but wish he would tone it down a little, especially on Twitter.

  • tz1

    I read through but can’t find where you actually said anything.

    Unity. In what? Jesus. We are all supposedly following Jesus. If so we should be heading toward the same place, if not heading in the same direction.

    And that is the problem and why calls for unity are futile or irrelevant.

    Every time I hear Unity, it is followed up with “Christians must X”, where X is something which is not universal. You would reject X as “support Trump” or “condemn Trump”, but then add your own set of X’s and would shatter the very unity you say we need.

    And you even narrow things to “Evangelicals”. Do Catholics, Mormons, Anglicans also follow Jesus Christ?

    I find it ironic to talk about a hurting America when more people are dying from opioid overdoses than auto accidents, suicide, and guns combined. They are hurting but the Church – every side of every church – apparently has NOTHING to offer them. The plants closed down. But they have disability, welfare, and everything but dignity paid for by taxpayers. But no one to help or heal the spiritual cancer. The gospel of prosperity or anti-racism or whatever is apparently not the Gospel, else it would have power. If the church were alive, there wouldn’t be these deaths. And we are seeking a technical or political solution to a spiritual problem.

    • Ken Abbott

      Okay, tz1, time to put up. What do you propose be done about the problems Dr. Brown describes and those concerns about which you have posted?

      • tz1

        Other than the abstract “Unity”, what problems – SPECIFICALLY – does he bring up? I have many ideas and proposals. He did not bring up the opoid crisis that kiled more in 2017 than crashes and suicides combined – but that is my issue. What about abortions? Veterans’ suicides (see second-class-citizen and watch the video there), mostly from the “family courts” that enforce man-fault divorce.

        The only issue I can see is the split over Trump himself. But to dig deeper, try asking which policy do you disagree with? His support of Israel (will Dr. Brown tolerate someone who thinks we shouldn’t?). His economic policies like tariffs (which are reopening factories in the hopeless dead red towns)? Judges? Or the personality and aggressive tweet problems?

        If you can quote a specific issue from the article I will respond.

  • Linda Choquette

    No, it isn’t possible. One side is the one true church of Christ whose sheep He will recognize when He returns, and on the other side are the goats who right now mistakenly believe they speak for Him, but to whom He will say “Get away from Me, I never knew you”…I know what side I have chosen.

  • footballsux

    I am an Eisenhower, Goldwater and Reagan Republican. I don’t know who these Trumpnik people are. They certainly are not conservatives. I only voted for Trump because he wasn’t Hillary Clinton. I hoped and prayed he would rise to the occasion. I was sadly mistaken. His “speech” at the Boy Scout Jamboree was the last straw for me. We now have an allegedly pro-life majority on the Supreme Court now. If Roe is to be overruled it’s now or never. From here on out, I can’t wait to see this jerk Trump impeached. I’m sick of hearing Catholic bloggers bending over backwards to defend our first atheist president. Trump is not worth the price this nation is paying.

  • Kim Poletto

    No, let’s rally around President Trump who is doing Jesus’ work. The most pro-life EVER. Denounced by the spineless prelates who make up the USCCB because of him wanting to enforce US immigration laws which are almost 100% in line with the teaching of St. Thomas Aquinas, and whom I doubt, collectively believe in Jesus Christ.

  • Forrest Hamilton

    The kingdom of God is my political party and Jesus is my President for eternity. That said, God does uses men and women to accomplish His purposes. I prayed for Clinton, Bush, Obama and I’m praying for Trump! I challenge all to do the same as they all sure need it.

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