A few days ago, Dr. Ben Carson surprised many (including us) when he announced his endorsement of Donald Trump. Regardless of what you think of him or his decision to support Mr. Trump, the content of his endorsement speech contained several troubling elements that should make all of us who believe in God’s Word to take pause and ask ourselves: what is our role as Christians in this election and this country all about? What should we be pursuing and how do we define greatness?
Dr. Carson emphasized repeatedly throughout his speech that this election is solely “about America” and making it great again. He went on to explain that he believed that Trump was the one to lead us to greatness, stating that as we get to see more of “this individual [Trump] and those helping him we’re going to be comforted as a nation.” He explained that the focus should be “How can we make America a place that is successful for everybody?” and stated that we can find that success by remembering that “our strength is our unity…if we start having that American attitude, that American spirit that made us great, that took us to the pinnacle in no time at all, believe me everyone will benefit from that.” He concluded that “We have some incredibly smart people…when we begin to use those smart people effectively, to accomplish the goals of America, you’re going to see us once again begin to ascend to the pinnacle, to a much higher pinnacle than we have ever achieved before.” Perhaps what was most notable was not what he said, but what he didn’t say: no mention was made of God or His Word at all in his entire speech.
Such language sounded like it was coming directly from the people described in Genesis 11: They said, “Come, let us build for ourselves a city, and a tower whose top will reach into heaven, and let us make for ourselves a name” … The Lord said, “Behold, they are one people … And this is what they began to do, and now nothing which they purpose to do will be impossible for them. Come, let Us go down and there confuse their language, so that they will not understand one another’s speech.” So the Lord scattered them abroad from there over the face of the whole earth; and they stopped building the city.
The connection becomes even clearer when reading the description of this event by the ancient historian Josephus in his Antiquities of the Jews:
but they, imagining the prosperity they enjoyed was not derived from the favor of God, but supposing that their own power was the proper cause of the plentiful condition they were in, did not obey him … Now it was Nimrod who excited them to such an affront and contempt of God. He was the grandson of Ham, the son of Noah, a bold man, and of great strength of hand. He persuaded them not to ascribe it to God as if it was through his means they were happy, but to believe that it was their own courage which procured that happiness. He also gradually changed the government into tyranny, seeing no other way of turning men from the fear of God, but to bring them into a constant dependence upon his power.
Brothers and sisters, this is where we are headed as a nation. It’s not just Trump and Carson either. Other candidates are using similar rhetoric and the other Republican candidates have all vowed to back Trump in the event he is the nominee. In fact Senator Cruz has even said “I’m a big fan of Donald Trump” and “I’m really glad he’s in this race.” These are candidates that the majority of Christians have been supporting for the highest office in the land. We need to ask ourselves some hard questions and then be honest and consider very carefully as we answer them and move forward with our response:
- Was it the American spirit of unity that made us great or the Holy Spirit?
- Who is the comforter and healer of our nation: great men or God?
- Has America become an idol, a great tower, that we view it as our goal to make as high and as great as possible, or is the Lord our God, whom we fear, trust, and obey?
- What is the prescription for greatness: incredibly smart people used effectively or God’s Word?
- What is the way forward? Should we join with whichever “great” person seems to have the best plan for making us great or should we set ourselves apart from the plans of man and rebuke his wickedness by speaking the truth of God’s Word and then cry out to Him, appealing to His justice and mercy to either judge our land or heal us?
- What is it all about? Is it about making America great or is it about humbling ourselves, abolishing the idol of national pride, and returning to a fear of and reliance on God and His Word?
Please share your thoughts with us!
In Christ – Samuel and Lydia