In the News
Washington, D.C.—Best-selling author Philip Yancey is shocked that followers of Jesus are supporting Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, a man he says “stands against everything that Christianity believes.”
Yancey, 67, says, “I am staggered that so many conservative or evangelical Christians would see a man who is a bully, who made his money by casinos, who has had several wives and several affairs…that they would somehow paint him as a hero, as someone that we could stand behind.” He didn’t address any ethical issues surrounding Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.
Trump, says Yancey, is a “bully” who is “besmirching the very name ‘Christian.’” The candidate’s supporters, Yancey adds, “evidently care more about appeals to nationalism and empty boasts about ‘making America great again’ than about the qualities of Jesus.”
Yancey also welcomes the United States becoming more secular. “We are becoming more like the fertile soil in which the early church did best,” he notes. “Like the Roman Empire, [it] was a pagan and hostile society in which Christians stood out by being different.”
When the majority of people claim to be Christians but then look like everyone else, Yancey says, they don’t understand the gospel. “But when Christians look radically different from the world around them, then the people can see the difference.”
Yancey points to Martin Luther King Jr. as an example of how Christians can “express themselves in politics,” fighting with the “weapons of grace.”
In a survey conducted by the Pew Research Center this summer, 78 percent of white evangelical voters said they’d vote for Trump.
Joel Weir, a priest in the Orthodox Church, says although Trump’s rhetoric has taken on “messianic proportions…he offers none of Christ’s humility.” Although Weir acknowledges that “Christians of sincere faith come to different conclusions” about various social issues, he adds, “there are some things…that a Christian can’t support: torture, greed, and blatant immorality.”
Sources: christianpost.com, washingtontimes.com, hellochristian.com, washingtonpost.com
* * *
Discussion Starters for Student Small Groups
What’s your reaction to Yancey’s statements? To you, do they seem honest? judgmental? other? How do you feel about someone telling you, as a Christian, what to do—especially regarding personal decisions?
Do you agree that Trump and Christianity are incompatible? Why or why not? Are past actions a reliable indicator of someone’s heart and faith—or lack of faith? Explain.
When you’re able to vote, what role do you expect your faith to play in those decisions? No candidates are perfect or without controversy; how then can Christians decide which one best fits their own values and beliefs?
Should all Christians vote the same way when it comes to certain social issues? Why or why not? What might the world—and our faith—be like if all Christians had the same opinions? What challenges and benefits does diversity add to the body of Christ?
Would Jesus have made a good presidential candidate, in your opinion? What qualities of Jesus do you think modern-day candidates should embrace and display? In the cut-throat world of politics, is it possible to be filled with grace, humility, and love for one’s enemies? If so, how?
How intertwined should politics and religion be in our country? Do you agree that America is better off when there’s a clear separation of church and state? Why or why not?
Do you see any positive aspects to our society becoming more secular? If so, explain. When a society is hostile to Christianity, do Jesus’ followers stand out more? If that something you welcome? Why or why not?
When should Christians embrace or blend into the surrounding culture? When should they challenge or fight against it?
Can others tell, just by observing you, that you follow Jesus? How does your faith make you different? How might those differences affect people who don’t yet know Jesus?
Scripture links: Matthew 7:1-5; John 15:18-25; Romans 14:1-19; Philippians 2:1-8; 2 Timothy 2:14-16; and James 4:4-12.