January 23, 2017

Is President Trump Christianity's Modern Day Constantine?

Do Christian Leaders see President Donald J. Trump as the new Constantine of our time? 

Being a student of history, I can spot certain similarities between history and current trends, events, actions and people. 2016 has certainly been full of all these.

NOTE: This blog post is not an indictment of anyone, or any group. It is only presented to share my observation of what I am observing, and how similar these things are to past history. I have no "ax to grind" and no "dog in the hunt".

For the last twelve months, I have been intrigued by how hard Christian leadership conducted a full court press to influence and convince fellow Christians to vote for and support a man like President Donald J. Trump. Even going as far as, “making Trump clean so that he is worthy of evangelical votes.”  

I heard one leader put it like this, "It's our time now. Obama was the flag waver for Islam, socialist, LGBT and social justice community. Trump will wave the flag for Christianity".

Sure, there were Christians who did their best to convince others that Secretary Clinton should be the next president; but not with the passion and vigor of those Christian leaders in the Trump camp.

Have you seen the comments on social media? The subject has even pit Christian against Christian and some have become hostile. As one ministry leader put it, "I'm disappointed over the cultish, frenzy of the Christian community over our new president."

Many Evangelicals as well as many in the "Christian Right" see President Trump as their savior, and dare I say, maybe even their modern day Constantine. Why? Because the number of Christians in America dropped from "78 percent to 71 percent" during the past eight years. 

As a business owner, I and any business owner will tell you that a loss in consumer interest in any industry, becomes a loss in incoming revenue.

"It is widely agreed that the Obama administration viewed religion as an adversary, often taking hostile positions on the question of religious freedom."

Christian leaders believe that a man with the ego and business savvy of Trump is exactly what they need to turn the tide against attacks by politicians, the media and pop culture.

Constantine was the emperor of Rome from 285-337 AD. He has been praised for granting Christians freedom of worship and expanding their privileges even bringing them prosperity. (See: 'The Open Church' by James H Rutz.) In return, Christians were loyal to him.

Here are three similarities I’ve noticed between Trump and Constantine, that stand out. 
  1. New to the practice of Christianity. 

    Look, like all new converts, I’m giving President Trump the benefit of the doubt. Trump has done in the past what is expected of non-practicing Christians. Trump has done in the past what luke-warm Christians are known to do. 

    There are many who call themselves Christians, and are unwilling to comply with the conditions that Jesus set for discipleship.  I write about this here

    According to some Evangelical leaders, Trump recently accepted a relationship with Jesus Christ as his Savior, making him a “baby Christian,”  Or is he?

    “Oh give me a break. Donald Trump hasn’t been born again. The Religious Right has simply sold out.”
    Rachel Held Evans 

    Constantine was also a “baby Christian" when he “accepted” Jesus. Though historians argue whether Constantine was really a Christian. 

    He was also known to practice pagan worship even after his “conversion”. He was called the high priest of paganism. “He retained the pagan title Pontifex Maximus, which means chief of the pagan priest!” Frank Viola.

  2. Rose to power at a critical time in history for Christians. 

    Trump's rise to national and global leadership comes at a time when persecution of Christians are at an all time high.

    Today, Christians are facing growing persecution around the world, "fueled mainly by Islamic extremism and repressive governments, leading the pope to warn of “a form of genocide” and for campaigners to speak of “religio-ethnic cleansing”. According to The Guardian.

    According to the Pew Research Center, Christians face harassment in 102 countries – more than any other religion.

    It has also been noted that Christian persecution increased under the Obama administration. Under the Obama presidency, “Believers face more violence in more places than any other faith."
    Before Constantine's rule, Christianity was not popular or accepted throughout Rome. Christianity at this time in history, was a despised and persecuted faith.

    The early Christians were an underground community before the Roman government lead by Constantine came along. His position and public acceptance of Christianity helped to promote the popularity and acceptance of Christianity among others. (See Pagan Christianity? by Frank Viola)

  3. Huge Egos.

    Yes, Trump has an ego out of this world. What more can be said. Who else do you know that builds monuments to themselves? Wealth, hotels, golf courses, books, a TV show, and now President.

    Trump is a man that can talk about him and his to no end. As one article stated, “The Trump name is everywhere”.

    In my 2016 blog post, Things You Will Never Learn In “Sunday School” Part 3: The father of “church” buildings, I wrote that Constantine was also known for his ego. So much so, that If he was going to convert to Christianity, it needed to be accepted and legitimate like the Jewish and pagan religions. To ensure this happened, Constantine ordered the construction of “church” buildings to “promote the popularity and acceptance of Christianity.”

    One historian noted that, “When he built the Church of the Apostles in Constantinople, he included monuments to the twelve apostles. The twelve monuments surrounded a single tomb, which lay at the center. That tomb was reserved for Constantine himself-thus making himself the thirteenth and chief apostle.” Frank Viola.

A Few Questions:
  • Did Christian leaders see what I now see?
     
  • Did they see a historical precedent in Constantine, giving them licence to hitch their wagons to Trump?

  • Is their support for Trump their way of seizing an opportunity to return Christianity to prominence in America, if not around the world?

  • Are these similarities coincidence or providence? 
After reading the transcript of a speech given by Presidents Trumps chief strategist Steve Bannon, you have to admit, I'm asking questions that deserves attention. (Read transcript)

Like Obama's presidency, some say Trump's presidency is rooted in prophecy. I say what Paul said, "Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind."

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