A few weeks ago in an address to Liberty University, Donald Trump claimed to be a Presbyterian.
A couple of feelings emerged, such as skepticism, repulsion and hilarity.
These are very natural feelings when you hear that Trump might be a Calvinist.
The whole Christian world seems rather upset at this claim. The Holy pontiff himself called Trump out on his Christianity. You know it’s serious when the Pope takes time out of his busy schedule to tell you you’re not a Christian.
But there’s only one thing that I can say about Trump’s claim to Christianity: I really hope it’s true.
I hope that Trump is a Christian. I hope that he’s acknowledged his sins as deserving of death. I hope the Holy Spirit has convicted him and brought him to the cross. I hope he’s been saved by grace through faith. I hope, when we all stand at judgment day, that God the Father will call him, “my son.”
Those are hard pills to swallow for me: to think that someone as despicable as Trump could be beloved and forgiven by God. To think that someone who referred to Second Corinthians as Two Corinthians, someone who said that he doesn’t need forgiveness, someone who wants to deport other human beings simply out of spite, could be absolutely atoned for his sins by the blood of Christ.
What I’m truly brought to my knees by is that the same grace that covers my multitude of sins also covers those of Trump. That I should be calling him my brother. That Trump is my elder and I should respect him. That I have no right to say whether or not he’s a Christian—although my entire being cries out the falsehood of his statement.
Can you imagine how great it would be if Trump truly was a Christian? If he took his relationship with Christ seriously, he would bear the fruits of the Spirit of love and peace, kindness and goodness, gentleness and self-control. How great would it be for a politician to display these fruits?
I think these things have been long in demand. The world needs love more than basic needs, balanced budgets and border control.
More importantly, the world needs to know the incredible love and grace of God.
That’s why I hope that Trump is a Christian. Because if he were, the world would be a different place. Maybe he’d rethink his policies about deportation and racism and replace them with something, not only more financially feasible, but that would remove the need for people to seek shelter in the United States.
He could use his business savvy to strike fair and honest deals. He could be a voice, a loud voice, for the oppressed both at home and abroad. If anything, at least the Republican debates would be a little less depressing.
I think he could change the world for the better if he were a committed follower of Jesus Christ. That’s why I hope that Trump is a Christian.
Bowen is a senior majoring in biblical and theological studies. He can be reached at BowenMJ@jbu.edu.