Author's Note: This article was first published in the summer of 2018. Considering the ongoing furor over the editor at Christianity Today calling for President Trump's removal, I have decided to publish it again. The thoughts and concepts expressed therein have been confirmed since first published.
Donald Trump was not my first choice for president. He wasn't even my second choice. In fact, when the presidential campaign began he was far down the list. Ted Cruz, Scott Walker, Ben Carson, Mike Huckabee and Carly Fiorina were all ahead of Trump on my list of candidates.
However, after almost two years in office, I am now totally convinced that Donald Trump was God's choice. There is no question in my mind that he is in the White House because of prayer and Divine providence.
Here are five reasons I have changed my position on Donald Trump.
Reason No. 1: I Now See His Temperament as a Plus
Like many others I was concerned about Trump's temperament. He seemed overly brash, bombastic and rude. I didn't like how he labeled people, even his fellow Republicans, with derogatory names like "Little Marco," Lying Ted," "Low Energy Jeb" and so on.
With the advantage of hindsight, however, I now see that the temperament of a combative, New York businessman is just what was needed. With political perversion and corruption so deeply imbedded in Washington, D.C., a businessman from Queens, who had spent years battling corrupt New York politicians, the mafia and other competitive business people, is exactly what was needed at this time in history. A "nice" person would never do.
As a historian, I see a parallel in this regard with Martin Luther, who was relentless, crude and bombastic in his attacks on the pope and the Roman Catholic Church. Even some Protestants thought he went too far. At his funeral, his colleague and fellow-theologian, Philip Melanchthon, addressed this, saying, "Some have complained that Luther displayed too much severity. I will not deny this. But I answer in the language of Erasmus, 'Because of the magnitude of the disorders, God gave this age a violent physician.' I do not deny that the more ardent characters sometimes make mistakes, for amid the weaknesses of human nature no one is without fault. But we may say of such a one, 'rough indeed but worthy of all praise'" (Hyatt, The Charismatic Luther, 52).
When this era of American history is written by future generations, when hindsight is 20/20, it may well be acknowledged that because of the deep political and moral corruption of the times, Donald Trump was exactly the one needed to save the American Republic from utter ruin.
Reason No. 2: His Commitment to Individual and Religious Liberty.
In my book, Pilgrims and Patriots, I document how America was founded on the principles of freedom of conscience and religious liberty. The Founding Fathers and/or their parents and grandparents came to this land to escape government-empowered religious persecution in the Old World. They came here with a vision of being free to live out their faith according to the dictates of their own conscience.
Under the previous administration, those fundamental liberties were sacrificed for the modern LGBT agenda. Left wing politicians and activists used governmental force in their attempts to coerce Christians into conforming to their novel belief system. Small business owners, such as florists and bakers, were targeted and then sued when they politely declined to violate their consciences by participating in same-sex weddings with their artistic gifts.
The Trump administration has returned to those founding values of individual and religious liberty. They agree that no one should be forced to violate their conscience and sincerely held religious beliefs. They recognize that same-sex marriage is not a fundamental, constitutional right, as are individual and religious liberty, which are guaranteed in the First Amendment.
This is another reason I have changed my position on Donald Trump and now believe he was God's choice for this time in American history.
Reason No. 3: His Fight for Persecuted Christians Around the World
In his campaign, Trump promised to help persecuted Christians in the Middle East and around the world. He has followed through on his promise. ISIS, which perpetrated such terrible atrocities on Christians in the Middle East, has been decimated and many Christians are now returning to their homes.
Trump appointed Sam Brownback, former governor of Kansas and a devout believer, as "ambassador at large for religious liberty." Brownback and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who is also a devout believer, are putting pressure on oppressive nations and promoting the American ideal of religious liberty around the world.
To cite one example: On July 24-26, these two Christian statesmen, both appointed by Trump, will host the first-ever ministerial on international religious liberty. Some of the most powerful dignitaries, activists and faith leaders from around the world are attending. Pompeo told Tony Perkins on "Today's Washington Watch."
The enthusiasm of other countries to this has been remarkable. As I was traveling this past week—I think I was in six or eight different places—I had foreign ministers say, "I'm going to be there." They're excited to come and be around other people who think religious freedom is important. I was in Muslim countries; I was in places with religion very different to my own Christian faith, but every one of those leaders was excited about the opportunity to gather with like-minded individuals who share their desire—their quest—for every individual to practice their faith in their country in the way that they wish to do.
What Trump is doing for persecuted Christians is huge, and I doubt it would be happening with any other candidate. This is another reason I have changed my opinion of Donald Trump.
Reason No. 4: His Favorable Attitude Toward Christian Values
In my book, Pilgrims and Patriots, I also document that it was Christian values that made America great. Despite his sordid past, Donald Trump has turned out to be the boldest witness for Christ in the White House that I have seen in my lifetime.
For example, in a recent Cabinet meeting that was broadcast live, Trump sent the mainstream media into a tizzy when he asked Ben Carson to open the meeting in prayer. Mike Pence has said it is normal for Trump, at the beginning of a Cabinet meeting, to turn to him or one of the Cabinet members and ask them to open in prayer.
I know many of you doubt the integrity of his actions in this regard. I once shared those same concerns. I now believe it is real. According to James Dobson, Trump was led to Christ in early 2016 by a Christian businessman. Dobson says he prayed a prayer committing his life to Christ. Perhaps this is why he has formed a council of spiritual advisers made up mostly of evangelical Christian leaders. Perhaps this is why he has surrounded himself with devout Christian statesmen such as Mike Pence, Ben Carson, Mike Pompeo and others.
At a large Trump rally in Florida, his wife, Melania, opened by leading the crowd in reciting the Lord's Prayer. There are many indicators that Trump has made a turn toward the Christian faith and is promoting Christian values.
This is another reason I have changed my position on Donald Trump and now believe he was God's choice to lead America at this time in her history.
Reason No. 5: His Unequivocal Support for Israel
The "Jerusalem Embassy Act," overwhelmingly passed by both the House and Senate in 1995, recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. It also stated that Jerusalem should remain an undivided city and authorized funds to be set aside for moving the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
Despite this authorization, no president has been willing to face the criticism from the Arab world and its allies that such a move would provoke. Enter Donald Trump. During the campaign, he promised to move the embassy to Jerusalem, and he followed through on his promise.
Israel is important to evangelical Christians because it is the land of the Bible that God promised to Abraham and his descendants (Gen.13:15). We see the restoration of the modern state of Israel as a fulfillment of biblical prophecy. It is also the only functioning democracy in the Middle East and America's only trusted ally in that region.
Donald Trump's unequivocal support for Israel is another reason I have changed my position concerning his presidency.
Who Is on the Lord's Side?
During the Civil War, it was well known that both sides were fasting and praying for God's assistance. In a conversation with President Lincoln, a northern minister expressed his hope that, "the Lord is on our side." Mr. Lincoln replied, "I am not at all concerned about that, but it is my constant anxiety and prayer that I and this nation should be on the Lord's side."
I am not a politician. I am not a Democrat or a Republican. I recognize that Trump has faults. However, I am a believer who aspires to always be on the Lord's side in every situation. That is why I am praying for this president and supporting his presidency. I can do no other, for I am now convinced that Donald Trump was God's choice to be the president of these United States of America.
Dr. Eddie L. Hyatt is on a mission to reconnect America with her severed Christian roots and help ignite another national, spiritual awakening across the land. His books on the topic can be found on Amazon and on his website at eddiehyatt.com.
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