The Inauguration of Donald J. Trump

January 23, 2017 at 5:15 am 5 comments


inauguration

Credit: Mario Tama/Getty Images

It’s official.  As of last Friday, just after noon Eastern Standard Time, Donald J. Trump became the 45th President of the United States.

Though our nation has a new president, old partisan divides and rancor remain.  Representative John Lewis, an icon of the civil rights movement, questioned the legitimacy of Mr. Trump’s election and promised to boycott his inauguration, which prompted a fiery response from the president via his Twitter account.  Project Veritas uncovered the aspirations of a radical protest organization to detonate a butyric acid bomb at the inaugural ball.  And then there were the protests just blocks away from the inauguration parade that erupted into riots.  Indeed, there is no shortage of division in our society.

At this watershed moment in American history, it is worth it to take a moment and remind ourselves how we, as Christians, are to conduct ourselves in a world full of violence, threats, political infighting, and social media rants.  So, as a new man settles into the world’s most powerful position, here are a few things to keep in mind.

Rulers come and rulers go.

Last week, a friend sent me a picture of the “Donald Trump Out of Office Countdown Wall Calendar.”  It extends to 2021.  Apparently, the calendar is not only counting down Mr. Trump’s term in office, but making a prediction about the next presidential election.  Whatever you may think of the new president, and regardless of whether or not you hope he is elected to another term, this wall calendar provides an important reminder:  Mr. Trump’s presidency will not last forever, just like all the presidencies before his did not last forever.  Indeed, it is always interesting to hear discussions of how “history is being made” every time a new president is elected and inaugurated.  We seem to know, even if only intuitively, that the present is only the present for a split second.  It quickly becomes history – a past that is no longer pressing.

If you are concerned about Mr. Trump’s presidency, then, remember:  it will not last forever.  And if you are ecstatic about Mr. Trump’s presidency, remember:  it will not last forever.   This is why the Psalmist instructs us not to put our “trust in princes, in human beings, who cannot save. When their spirit departs, they return to the ground; on that very day their plans come to nothing” (Psalm 146:3-4).  The reign of any earthly ruler never lasts.  Every reign ends; every ruler dies – that is, except for One.

Rulers have limited authority.

No matter who resides at 1600 Pennsylvania avenue, a contingent of the electorate is always apoplectic, convinced that whoever happens to be president at the time will surely spell the end of American democracy, if not world order, as we know it.  The reality of a president’s – or any ruler’s – authority is much less impressive.  Scripture reminds us that every human authority is under God’s authority.  The prophet Daniel declares that God “deposes kings and raises up others” (Daniel 2:21).  The apostle Paul tells masters of slaves in the ancient world that One “who is both [your slave’s] Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no favoritism with Him” (Ephesians 6:9).  No matter how much authority one person may have, no human authority can match God’s ultimate authority.

This should bring us peace and give us perspective.  Leaders, ultimately, do not control the world.  Instead, they simply steward, whether faithfully or poorly, whatever little corner of the world God has happened to give to them for a brief moment in time. It is never wise, therefore, to put too much faith in leaders we like or to have too much fear of leaders we don’t.  Their power is not ultimate power.

Rulers need our prayers.

When we no longer put too much faith in our leaders or have too much fear of them, this frees us up to pray for them according to Scripture’s admonition: “I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people – for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness” (1 Timothy 2:1-2).  I find it especially striking that making it a common practice to pray for our leaders – no matter who they might be – is commanded by Paul not only because of the effects these prayers have on our leaders, but because of the effects these prayers have on us!  When we pray for our leaders, Paul says, this leads us to peaceful and quiet lives even when the world around us feels troubled, and godly and holy lives even when the world around us seems to be careening into moral rot.  When we pray for others, God strengthens us.

As Donald Trump assumes the responsibilities of the President of the United States, he needs our prayers.  So keep President Trump and his family in your prayers.  And while you’re at it, keep other leaders, be they on the national, statewide, or local levels, in your prayers as well.  As a practical admonition, perhaps consider writing a note to one of your public servants asking how you can pray for them.  Your note just might be a big blessing to them and encourage them to become a better leader.  And that’s something our nation can always use.

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Was Jesus a Liberal or a Conservative? Marching for Life

5 Comments Add your own

  • 1. C.  |  January 23, 2017 at 7:58 am

    Seriously? I think you have written some fantastic reviews and I always forward them…You have really missed it on this. We now have a President and Vice President that love God and are not ashamed to say so or to pray publicly. They honor God in all they do. They are bringing in Cabinet Members who openly claim Jesus as their Lord and Savior. President Trump will repeal Obamacare which was never meant to be affordable, He will be appointing 1-3 conservative Supreme Court Justices. He’s going to “try” to clean up the immigration mess, Military mess, give Israel support and help.And lastly bring us back to a Godly nation. Obama, and the media have set trap after trap to trip him up. The cry babys need to grow up and realize Obama’s not here to enable them anymore. They need to look at our debt, crime in sanctuary cities. Racial division and then explain why we would want 4 more years of that. From a Christian view point Trump has repented his past and deserves a chance. Anybody can look at his wife and family and tell he’s capable of miracl ines. Enough of condoning the temper tantrums. It’s time to move aside and let God move. Do we really want to see more cops shot? More abortions? More debt, lawlessness and moral decline in our country? There isn’t much lower that we could of gone. It would of been irrevocable if Trump had not won. Don’t anybody is themselves Trump was Gods pick.

    Reply
    • 2. C.  |  January 23, 2017 at 8:04 am

      That was don’t anyone kid themselves Trump was God’s pick.

      Reply
      • 3. Pastor Zach  |  January 23, 2017 at 9:32 am

        Good morning! In my blog today, I was not meaning to comment, negatively or positively, on President Trump’s specific policy proposals. Indeed, I tend to stay away from detailed political policy discussions on this blog and instead look at broad trends in society and try to offer a theological perspective. In this instance, then, I was simply trying to survey the landscape of reactions to the president’s inauguration and then offer some thoughts on how we, as Christians, can think about the presidency as an office and how we can appropriately support the man in the office with our prayers. I offered similar sentiments on this blog after Mr. Trump was first elected: https://zachmcintosh.com/2016/11/14/president-elect-donald-j-trump/. I hope this helps clarify my intentions.

  • 4. Irene M.  |  January 23, 2017 at 11:12 am

    I remember when Obama came into office and people in the new administration blamed Bush for the first 2 years for everything that went wrong in our country. It seems history is repeating itself. Must be human nature.
    I’m not sure of Trump’s relationship to the Lord and it’s not my duty to judge it. I can only say I’m concerned about the hateful comments he’s made about women, ethnic groups, religious groups and even our own country and people. That doesn’t seem like the “fruit of the Spirit” is shining through.
    During this whole process I’ve been shocked and even sickened at times by the polarized views that have gone to extremes. The name calling and personal attacks have escalated beyond any I’ve seen in my lifetime. Your own comments include some of that rhetoric and it doesn’t help build our communities or country.
    I have no idea what the next four years will bring. I can only wait and see. I do know that presidents promise things they can’t humanly accomplish and that’s part of politicking. I’m more interested in seeing if Trump will heed his advisors, learn to be more collaborative with house and senate and grow into the demanding office he now holds.

    Reply
  • 5. Chris  |  January 25, 2017 at 8:46 pm

    Trump is what this Country needs, a businessman not a politician. He is a Christian, his walk with the Lord is his business and he will have to answer for his actions.
    I do believe he has the best intentions and Love for our Country and he has already shown that in his actions in less then a week in office.

    The comments from Irene are interesting, when has he made hateful factual comments about Christian groups (I don’t care about religious groups Obama is a Muslim so those comments are justified) When has he ever made a negative comments about America???

    The campaign was sickening, but you have to consider who he was running against, Hillary is a hateful person who would be an extension of the socialist Democratic Party.

    Judge Trump’s results, he ihas brought respect for America and Optimism. After the past 8 years of Obama whose religion is of hate Trump is a Blessing.

    Reply

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