The Church, The Nation, Donald Trump and the Future of Freedom
Through an interview with Dr. Michael Brown, evangelist James Robison delivers a word for America during her hour of decision.
It’s a critical hour in America. A vote that will decide the direction and potentially the existence of the United States is mere days away. At this moment the election is reeling with news that Hillary Clinton is again facing an FBI investigation. Meanwhile, there is controversy and division among Christians over Clinton’s opponent, Donald Trump. In the midst of this high stakes season, with the future of freedom on the line, evangelist James Robison has a word for the Church and the nation. He shares it, along with his relationship with Donald Trump, in the following in-depth interview with Dr. Michael Brown.
On Our National Leadership
Brown: I want to come away with some important lessons for the church right now. First, let’s talk about your involvement with national leaders. For many years you have had communication with previous presidential candidates, Democrat and Republican. This year you met with many of the candidates. Were most of them conservative Republicans?
Robison: Yes, because they were the ones who opened the door. But both political parties are polluted.
Ted Cruz used a rough term “the Washington cartel,” and in fact there is that system that I would say has an even greater grip than any Mafia or cartel ever had. This is serious. The “establishment” has had a terrible effect on the well being of the people. Failure to see the benefit of iron sharpening iron, people just continually attack one another and no one wins because they never come to the table of reason.
I think the American people who have common sense are getting fed up with it and I think we all should be fed up with it. The fact that we have these serious problems prevailing, in my opinion, is because the church opted out of the process of impacting the culture from the arts, to education, sound government, economic practices, and care of the poor which is impossible without a direct compassion connection.
When you promise people something and create dependence upon those politicians, you put them in bondage. Just like in the days of Nehemiah when the people in the Promised Land said, “We are in the land you gave us and we are slaves in it,” the American people have become slaves to a system that is so corrupt there is no terminology strong enough to describe it. Ted Cruz is right. There is a Washington cartel — or maybe worse.
On Where We Stand as a Nation
Brown: How would you characterize where we stand right now as a nation?
Robison: We are rightly appalled at the intense division, dissension, and hostility; animosity filled with hate borders on a continuous rage in the lives of people all across the nation. We are in a very dangerous moment. We are more capable of exploding and being damaged by that than we are even by the reality of a terrorist attack. Many Americans are being guided by a terrorist mentality. People are moving from disappointment and disgust to a spirit of intense hatred leading to rage. The situation is volatile.
We are rightly appalled at the intense division, dissension, and hostility; animosity filled with hate borders on a continuous rage in the lives of people all across the nation. We are in a very dangerous moment. We are more capable of exploding and being damaged by that than we are even by the reality of a terrorist attack.
People are fed up with political correctness and over-reaching, over-regulating federal government, the $20 trillion dollar debt, urban communities in distress, minorities used as political pawns, a disastrous healthcare system and totally corrupt self-serving politicians in office and running for office. American citizens with common sense — whether Christian or not — are totally fed up with the dishonest liberal media polluting the truth and manipulating people with their deception. Jeremiah said, “Lies and not truth prevail in the land. Everyone must be on guard against their neighbor because they all go about as a slanderer.” This is typical of the people elected to represent us in Washington, even among those in the same party. This must be corrected and common sense thinkers are demanding it be corrected.
Brown: James, how did our nation get to this place on the brink of disaster?
Robison: The greater problem we see today in our nation is the church — not just people who claim a religious affiliation, but people who actually have a personal relationship with Christ and have experienced an encounter that impacted their life in a very positive, undeniable fashion. We are watching these Bible-people seeking to destroy one another, to accuse one another. They have joined with “the accuser of the brethren” and they are firing at one another and questioning everything another person may do. If you happen to be seen with the wrong person, praying with the wrong person, caring about the wrong person, then you are a target of their disapproval. They are actually judging the heart, not just the actions, because they don’t know what may be happening behind the scenes. Imagine what the media today would say about Jesus going in the house of a Pharisee sitting on his sofa with a prostitute at his feet.
Some leaders I greatly respect who are willing to sacrifice their own reputation are being misunderstood. Along with me, these committed church leaders who are attempting to help correct our nation’s course are being called compromisers.
I have said many times Christians have the perfect Father, but His family often act as though they are the children of the devil. Sincere believers divide and attack one another as foolishly and fiercely as Congress. Time and again I have said forcefully, “If the family of God, His children, would behave like the Father and become the healthy body of Christ, I believe a fatherless nation would run into the church to meet and know our awesome loving Father.”
On the Race Dividing the Body
Brown: So how do we navigate these waters? We had evangelical candidates like Mike Huckabee, Ben Carson, Ted Cruz, and several others, but there was tremendous division among believers about who to vote for. So we ended up with Donald Trump as the candidate. I had questions about Jerry Falwell and Robert Jeffress endorsing him, how could they do that? Why was Ben Carson behind him? It seems that now the division has gotten even more intense and that with Trump as the nominee, the division has spread through the church rather than uniting around God’s kingdom purposes.
Robison: Because I am close to the people you mentioned — Jerry Falwell, I’ve known him for since he was very young and he respects me with gratitude for the impact I made preaching at Thomas Road Baptist Church and helping his dad build Liberty University. Dr. Jeffress has been listening to me preach in his own church and across the nation since he was a young boy. Ben Carson and I decided to walk as one the moment he made statements that needed to be heard about the foolishness of political correctness and government masquerading as Father God, and I began to help him herald those messages.
I believe our hearts must lock together in harmony on the will of God understanding that a spiritual awakening is essential for the survival of freedom in America.
All believers must understand that “Christ in us is the only hope of His glory” manifesting on earth right now. The church must come together and understand that God has given us the opportunity to be the church in these trying times, and be a healing, transforming factor through the power of the Gospel delivered in love from people who love God and love one another.
I believe our hearts must lock together in harmony on the will of God understanding that a spiritual awakening is essential for the survival of freedom in America. Regardless of who wins the election, the church must be standing together as faithful witnesses and ambassadors for Christ. If we do not stand together chaos and the destruction of that which is precious will shift into high gear. We won’t have to wait for the devastation to come from outside our very porous borders. As Abraham Lincoln said, “If destruction be our lot, we ourselves will be its author and its finisher.”
Whoever wins, the church must be there to stand against the devaluation of human life, the devaluation of the importance of nature’s God and nature’s law, the casting aside of the brilliance of the Constitution drafted by diverse individuals who were led by a power beyond themselves which they referenced as “Divine Providence.”
So whoever wins, the church must be there to stand against the devaluation of human life, the devaluation of the importance of nature’s God and nature’s law, the casting aside of the brilliance of the Constitution drafted by diverse individuals who were led by a power beyond themselves which they referenced as “Divine Providence.” We best get back real quick in Washington and in every city and community to the guidance of Divine Providence or you can write “Ichabod” over the United States of America.
On Donald Trump and the Power of Witness
Brown: I remember early on in the primaries that you were seeking to speak into each candidate’s life. You were urging Ted Cruz to learn to be a bridge-builder and to let people see compassion in his heart. You were speaking into the life of Ben Carson, Gov. Huckabee, who had worked with for four years, and Rick Perry, Rand Paul, Carly Fiorina, Scott Walker, Jeb Bush … nearly all of the candidates. You were endorsing truth, praying for them and with them. How did you ever connect with Donald Trump?
Robison: Well, I got the invitation to meet with him one-on-one for what he said was the longest meeting of that type in his life. It was made possible because Ben Carson’s endorsement came with Mr. Trump’s commitment to such a meeting. From that time on, we have been in ongoing communication. I have never wavered; I have faithfully and in unconditional love presented the unadulterated Word of God as forcefully as I’m capable of.
In 55 years of public ministry, meeting with people on all levels, I have never — I repeat never — been received by anyone with greater appreciation, humility and focused interest in all the principles of freedom and biblical truths I have shared. I would say that Mr. Trump heard because of the prayers of concerned Christians for everything they longed for him to hear face-to-face. I have faithfully sown good seed. Only time will clearly reveal the soil on which it was sown.
I personally do not think Donald Trump will ever be the same man. I think he is so concerned about correcting what is wrong and sees an over-reaching, out-of-control government along with policies that hurt the people, he will stand against those problems as long as he lives.
Donald Trump has at least opened the door to people filled with love, truth and wisdom … and people in love with God. I’m praying the church will not slam the door he opened in their own face.
Sadly, I think he may be more dedicated to correcting the problems than many Christians are. This means if he doesn’t understand freedom’s foundation, his attempts will not produce the necessary results. That is why the church, God’s family, must make a Kingdom impact on his life with the transforming power of gospel truth. There is no substitute for the witness of the church.
Brown: Of course, you know that many are skeptical and say that Trump is just manipulating you and other evangelicals in order to get votes. What’s your response?
Robison: I want to address the danger about manipulation. In the first meeting I told Mr. Trump he had lived as an intimidator and manipulator, and that must change to inspiration and motivation. I shared that God had gifted him to do that. It is a process requiring spiritual growth. Remember, Jesus was with His disciples for three years. After that time with the greatest Teacher, they still had serious issues.
I have continually told Mr. Trump he must get to know wise people who know how to effectively address every legitimate concern, and they are not wrapped up in themselves. Amazingly, he has met with many of those leaders, which according to some observers is the first time they have known of such a meeting.
I’m saying that, Michael, because this man has at least opened the door to people filled with love, truth and wisdom … and people in love with God. I’m praying the church will not slam the door he opened in their own face. Because Mr. Trump is so strong, in my attempt to help him grasp the importance of meekness, I told him a thoroughbred race horse can only win if a thousand pounds of power is submitted totally into the hands of a less-than-100-pound jockey. “If you learn that lesson, Sir, you might win the Triple Crown and help America out of the ditch and see the blessings of freedom preserved. You have the ability to help inspire the people to join together with the wisdom God freely offers — and see America become great again.”
Brown: Many people wonder if Mr. Trump is listening to counsel. You’re speaking to him on a regular basis. What can you tell us?
Robison: In all my years of ministry, no one has ever listened to me more intently.
Christians must stop shooting at one another and pray for the miracle only God can perform. Please pray for people like me who are able to deliver the gospel and God’s Word to individuals like Donald Trump. God has given me great love for him and his family. I believe they are willing to lose everything to help correct the course of our Titanic ship of state headed for catastrophic destruction and the loss of the freedom we’ve been blessed to enjoy and share.
I am going to continue to deliver the truth to Mr. Trump and other leaders as long as they have ears to hear. The moment he doesn’t appear to be hearing, I’ll try to get a bigger platform, a louder megaphone and more force behind me, and praying that God Almighty will let the power of His truth transform every area of his life, every area of my life and every area of the life of every person on this planet until we become what God designed us to be.
I’ll go on record and say that Donald Trump, in my opinion will never be the same Donald Trump again, win or lose. I personally think he will remain committed to do many of the things the church should have been committed to do a long time ago — and that’s to bring this out-of-control government under control, this new-found Pharaoh and upstart Caesar, this Uncle Sam masquerading as Father God must be brought under control.
I’m going to repeat: Whether he is president or not, he will attempt to pull down damaging practices that hurt the American people. In his attempt to make much needed correction, whether president or as a businessman, his success will be determined by the witness and impact of the church and those who understand freedom’s essential foundation.
Now is the time for the church to stand together overwhelmed with the weight of God’s glory and make a Kingdom imprint on this planet to see His will fulfilled in the lives of all He sent His Son to redeem.
The Platform is More Important Than the Personality
Brown: If I’m reading this interview as a believer, not a leader, and I don’t have a lot of understanding politically or spiritually, I’m asking: How should I vote? How should I live?
Robison: Good questions, and I pray every reader will take this perspective to heart. We vote for principles and must consider the platforms of the candidates in order to make a wise decision. This year, the difference is as distinct as daylight and dark.
Had the present Democratic platform been in place, I never would have been born. When a 40-year-old hospice nurse was raped by the alcoholic son of the man she was caring for, she conceived her first child. In desperation she sought an abortion, and the doctor refused. My mother said she prayed and felt in her heart she must have the baby. Her decision had a huge impact. I have three children, 11 grandchildren, and one great grandson, and have been blessed to lead millions to Christ, while also helping to save millions of lives from starvation and contaminated water sources through our mission outreaches.
One candidate says a baby can be ripped from the womb through the ninth month, approving the horrific act of partial-birth abortion and demanding tax payers cover the cost. The candidate and platform asserts marriage must be redefined, human sexuality redefined, proven-to-fail, unsustainable government programs must be maintained, borders remain open and lines drawn in the sand ignored. Christians, both Catholic and Evangelicals are told they must change their views on marriage and abortion. The poor are manipulated to become continually dependent on Uncle Sam as Father God, while at the same time attempting to justify a $20 trillion debt and pass it on to children yet to be born. Third World countries have learned from the practice supported by this platform and their candidate that if they don’t support abortion and redefine marriage, those poor nations will lose U.S. support.
Some voters may be saying, “We don’t know for certain what the Republican candidate will actually do in office.” They are absolutely right. Only time will reveal if he will bear the fruit of the seeds of transforming truth that have been faithfully sown in love. But we know absolutely what one candidate will do. There is a proven track record that cannot be denied and a commitment to continue the process of destroying the freedom our founders and the Constitution granted us. A close friend shared, “Anyone who can stand by four of our heroes wrapped in the American flag lying to the families and the American people is not fit to defend that flag.” I agree!
We are voting on more than a personality or even a person or a president. We are voting on life or death and the future of freedom. If we continue to cast aside God’s truth we will prove ourselves to be fools and suffer the consequences of idolatry. Everyone who understands freedom has a foundation must vote for the future of freedom.
On a New Awakening
Now is the time for the church to come out from under cover, put the light on a lamp stand, impacting the culture as salt … protecting and preserving the precious refusing to allow the sacred to be trampled under the feet of men. We must stand boldly together, shoulder to shoulder, with our eyes fixed on Jesus as ambassadors for Christ, becoming a mighty army, declaring and demonstrating the power of transforming truth as a “city set on a hill that cannot be hidden.” Our nation has no hope apart from the witness of the church and the next great Awakening.
This is the time for the church to stand up and say, “We’re going to extend the arms of a loving God to a world in darkness—defeated and desperate. We’re going to lift them up out of that sinking sand, which some have referred to as a ‘swamp,’ and get their feet on a solid rock—and that’s freedom’s foundation.” This is what I see the church doing—and whether Mr. Trump is in the White House or back in his office in Trump Tower, we must impact this population and these leaders with the power of the gospel, or our children will not enjoy the blessings of freedom we have known.
Brown: How can the church bring about the necessary changes and give momentum to the Awakening in America?
Robison: Every great awakening, every truly great event and every move toward true freedom has come because of the weight of that kingdom imprint on the earth at that time. We are kingdom people, we are here on a divine assignment, and we are not here waiting to get out — we’re waiting to be used of God as channels of blessing through whom He can flow the rivers of His love and His transforming truth. He wants the best for everyone.
This is the time for the church to stand up and say, “We’re going to extend the arms of a loving God to a world in darkness — defeated and desperate. We’re going to lift them up out of that sinking sand, which some have referred to as a ‘swamp,’ and get their feet on a solid rock — and that’s freedom’s foundation.”
This is what I see the church doing — and whether Mr. Trump is in the White House or back in his office in Trump Tower, we must impact this population and these leaders with the power of the gospel, or our children will not enjoy the blessings of freedom we have known. It will become very dark, dismal and miserable in this country.
If we put a good crew and captain at the helm of our Titanic ship of state, we can steer away from the horrific consequences about to come and begin sailing toward safe harbor. But we must turn quickly, beginning November the 8th.
On Redemption and the Clintons
Brown: In everything you’re saying, I keep hearing the theme “redemption,” going back to the beginning of this interview. I didn’t know you during the days of the Clinton presidency, but I was one of those outraged by his immorality and wanted him to be impeached. I felt we should have someone better in the White House. I probably didn’t think enough about if there was a way for the man to be redeemed. We’ve all fallen short. Yes, America is in sin. Yes, we’re doing outrageous things. But rather than the church just raising its voice in condemnation, you’re calling us to be agents of redemption—and that is the great challenge: To be outraged over sin and evil, and yet to lay our lives down and help people come out of it.
Robison: “It’s for freedom Christ made us free” (Gal. 5:1). Now expand on that in your mind for a moment. Freedom blesses everyone, as does the rain — the just and the unjust. It’s delicate. We’re one generation away from losing our freedom and it is precious, easy to abuse and requires great diligence and devotion to preserve it.
I actually had tears well up in my eyes when you said Bill Clinton. You see, Michael, I was trying to get in that room with him. I was trying to be in there during the accusation process when it began. Some of the most influential business leaders in the country wanted me to share with him. At one time he was planning for a meeting, but for some reason, he became uncomfortable and he cancelled it.
When you referenced him a moment ago, tears welled up in my eyes because I remembered praying and weeping over this incredibly talented person who was obviously being defeated and trying to cover the failure inappropriately. I wanted so much to take this gifted, dynamic man who had so much potential and not only hold him in my arms and comfort him, but lift him up into the arms of our loving God. I still pray for the Clinton family consistently and with deep, genuine concern.
So Michael, I find myself wondering, “What if Hillary Clinton came to see the value of every life like me? A little boy whose hospice-nurse mother was forced into sex when she was 40 and gave birth to a child a doctor would not abort when she was 41. No regular job, no husband. I never would have been born.”
I said to a group yesterday at a university, “I think we have probably aborted the person who would have discovered the cure for cancer, but their brilliant mind was not allowed to be born.” We have no idea what we’re doing when we devalue any life because when you devalue anyone, you devalue everyone.
I want to see Hillary Clinton realize that the federal government must be brought under control, and she must not tell people who believe the Bible she says she believes that we’ve got to change our opinion on what we believe concerning certain things, and then to hear her vice presidential nominee stand against the very principles he claims to believe as a Catholic. It breaks my heart!
Let me say to everyone who disagrees: It is impossible to adequately describe how much I love you. I promise to take all unkind words, criticisms or accusations leveled against me before the Lord. Your words will weigh heavily on me, and possibly keep me awake at night. I will be praying, “God, please show me if I’m missing something. Please correct me.” I will seek to repent and be sharpened and strengthened because God has given me love for those who seem to be enemies. I know He can use them to help correct my own course just as iron sharpens iron.
On the Church Answering the Call to “Arise and Shine”
Brown: If we bring everything together for our readers, we’re saying: (1) Vote soberly and responsibly, recognizing what’s ahead for our nation; (2) Pray for the candidates and God’s purposes in their lives; (3) Stand up and be the church now. Quit tearing each other apart over political division and start asking, “How can we work together to save America?” That’s the urgent message.
Robison: The real message is for the church, the family of God, to “Arise and shine, with the glory of the Lord upon you” In the two chapters preceding that call in Isaiah 60, God called for the chosen fast, which is setting people free breaking the yoke of bondage. In that freedom, you’ll stop accusing one another, and you’ll respond to the cry of the hungry, poor and desolate. When you do, God will suddenly answer your prayers quickly. In other words, if we as Christians and caring Americans would seek to be an answer to the prayers of others and to their greatest needs, God says, “I’ll answer you and begin meeting your needs.” He goes on to say that you will become a “well-watered garden.” Then, in fact, you will be known as one who restores the foundation — the essential foundation stones of freedom.
I’m telling you, the stage is set for the greatest move of Almighty God in human history.
In the next chapter, He says, “My hand is not shortened that I can’t save, heal and correct. But your sins have separated you from My blessings, from the response to the need. You’ve cut me off.” Twice, He says, “Because you’ve shed innocent blood … your feet hasten to shed innocent blood. Lies are prevailing in the land, and you wish for peace and find more trouble. Justice does not prevail. But He makes it very clear that the future rests on the shoulders of the family of faith. So we must “Arise and shine!”
Jay Richards and I wrote in the book Indivisible that there is not a thing, not a challenge, not a problem that people created in the image of God cannot address effectively. If you show the American people a problem and how to effectively solve it, you won’t have to wait for the government to do it. Let’s get that heavy foot off the backs of American business, churches and the American people. They are sick and tired of the federal government mismanaging the hard-earned money of our citizens.
The worst place any person and money manager can put money is in the hands of the worst money managers on the planet — and tragically that’s in the hands of our government. It must be brought under control.
National leaders must recognize you cannot address any serious problem without a compassion connection, and oversight requiring accountability and personal responsibility. Don’t tell me it can’t be done. It must be done!
A Final Prayer
Robison: I’m telling you, Michael, the stage is set for the greatest move of Almighty God in human history. I’m praying for the effect of amazing grace 10 times greater than what happened to William Wilberforce. I’m praying for the transformation greater than what happened to Augustine. If God could use a Churchill, who was anything but a religious spiritual giant, to help save freedom in the United Kingdom with his boldness and love for freedom, can’t we realize that God can use any available instrument? If we ask God to heal our land and then we criticize a potential agent of healing because we didn’t like the package, believers can easily abort the potential answer to their own prayers.
Remember, in 1980 a wonderful, dedicated, truly humble Christian Sunday School teacher was replaced in the White House with a divorced Hollywood actor and we saw positive changes, the eventual collapse of the Soviet threat, the Cold War ended and the Berlin Wall came down. In 1980 Christians and concerned Americans who understood and loved freedom stood together to see the life of freedom extended. I think the stage is now set for the next great spiritual awakening.
Brown: I have that exact same anticipation, and I believe if we will humble ourselves, America’s greatest days will be ahead and the greatest days for the church in America will be ahead, but we must wake up to the urgency of the hour.
Robison: That’s my prayer. I’m yielded to it, I’m longing for it, and I’m praying with every breath, “Father in heaven, please help your children begin to look like You. And Father, please answer the heart-cry of our Lord over Jerusalem before it was desolated and leveled. ‘Jerusalem, Jerusalem, how I long for you to come like chicks to the wings of the hen.’ I see our nation running to the shelter and shadow of Your amazing presence, protection and provision. All of our hope and trust is in You. In Jesus’ name.”
Brown: Amen and amen!