What now after God showed His Trump Card?

And so the U.S election ended on Wednesday with an unexpected victory for Donald Trump. There had been many analysis pieces that try to make sense of what happened in the United States, similar to the June Brexit. Some have even likened what happened this year to the times of Nazi Germany. And some took the opportunities to highlight some supposed prophecies by some self-proclaimed prophets who prophesised that God is going to make use of Trump to be His Trumpet...

But I am not writing today to talk about why Trump won. Honestly speaking, I remained agnostic towards the results. Firstly, domestically, the internal ramifications of the results are too far away from Singapore for us to feel the impact, although the developments will undoubtedly affect the global economy as well as the global stances towards certain issues. Secondly, voting for both candidates are like choosing between Adolf Hitler and Josef Stalin, it's between the lesser of two evils. But I want to take this opportunity today to point out some observations and some of their probable impacts that I foresee in the future.

1. The Plights of Evangelicals

One issue that I kept reading on social media is the stance of evangelicals in the United States. Apparently, the liberal news have been quite critical of their supposed support for Donald Trump. Moreover, it seems even among evangelicals, there had been a split of opinions on whether they should support Donald Trump. Among those who are prominent include James Dobson, the founder of FOTF. In fact, some people who are inclined towards liberalism, including some people on my Facebook, have claimed that they were disappointed by the "blind faith" of the evangelicals.

The bias that I observed cannot be further from the truth. Liberal news do dominate the social media in support of Hilary Clinton and are heavily critical of Donald Trump and his supporters. The main criticism of Donald Trump's evangelical supporters is that they are ignoring his moral ethics in support of other causes that he represents. To this, I offer one piece of defence towards such accusations - that the same criticism can easily be applied to Hilary Clinton's supporters as well. Most of them would probably find it hard to explain away some of the scandals that she has been involved in but yet would stand by their support for her. Is this blind faith? If not, then I suppose there are reasons why. It's probably due to the fact that she stands for some of the values that they stood for as well, be it pro-choice, pro-Obamacare etc. The truth is that it is simply too simplistic to claim that evanglical supporters of Trump stood by him because of blind faith. To claim so is to adopt a logic that may not be defensible when the same logic is being applied to the blue side.

For the evangelicals, the victory for Donald Trump as well as the Republicans in the Congress and House of Representatives may have paved the way for them to be even more vocal against the liberal values that they stood against. It will be interesting to see if the liberal reforms enacted by Obama will be reversed over the next four years.

2. The Chance for Asian Christianity

The truth be told, if Trump fulfils his promises to his electorates and begins his protectionist policies, then I am foreseeing a USA that will play a more subdued role in international affairs, at least not at a level we might see under a Hilary administration. The division within the Christian world in the States may also mean that they may see a drop in credibility here in Asia. This pave the way for Asians to play a more prominent role in formulating our own Asian theologies, be it elitist or grassroots.

One reason why I think this might be the case (and I might be wrong) is that Trump's promises potentially pave the way for China to play a more influential role in Asia, economically or otherwise. As this happens, we may see more writings about China and the areas they influence. In some sense, we are already seeing this happening as more missions are starting to turn into China and the plight of Christianity in China is being regularly reported and casted into the spotlight, especially in areas where persecutions are heavy. Riding on such a wave will be a movement started since the 1970s that began to deal with the formulation of Asian theologies that learn from the west and yet are contextualised for Asia. Already in Asia, we have theologians such as Simon Chan and other people who are trying to find ways to systematise and make sense of the theological experiences of Christians and I am foreseeing that such movement may gain pace in the following years.

3. Standing at God's side

In the lead up to this post, I have observed many Christians, including those in Singapore, condemning the victory and claim that the Americans are idiots. Standing behind such assumptions is that we know better than them. At a more practical level, we saw Christians taking sides. I wrote something in response to this which was sent out in the Simply Proclaim emails that Eagles Communications Ltd has on a regular basis:

It’s no secret that this is one of the most divided electoral climates in US history—perhaps even more so than Singapore’s. American society is sharply polarized, and even if you are not living in the US, you may be prone to take sides and harbor your own hopes for your preferred candidate. 
Whatever the case, we are to keep Jesus’ rule front and center. Political leaders come and go, but His kingdom stands forever. 
Joshua’s experience near Jericho reminds us of where our allegiance really lies:
Now when Joshua was near Jericho, he looked up and saw a man standing in front of him with a drawn sword in his hand. Joshua went up to him and asked, “Are you for us or for our enemies?” (Joshua 5:13) 
“Neither,” the swordsman replied. “But as commander of the army of the Lord I have now come” (v. 14). 
Joshua’s question might well be: “Are you a Republican or a Democrat?” The Commander declared that he was on God’s side, carrying out His agenda—above and beyond our human divisions. 
That is why I believe that Christian preaching should be apolitical, regardless of where we ourselves stand politically. Preachers themselves should not take sides from the pulpit—because the pulpit is where we declare that Jesus is ultimately our Lord, and that He demands that we stand first and foremost at His side. 
This is a much-needed truth, and one to remember as we engage in political discussion. As Christianity Today editor Andy Crouch reminds his fellow Americans: “We should hold on to hope—not in a candidate, but in our Lord Jesus.”
As Ps Jeff used to say, there are certain social issues that the church needs to address (such as those that the evangelicals represent) but at the heart of it, this means that the church should be urgent in sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ, as most of these issues would not have emerged if the gospel has been internalised. Beneath this stand is the belief that we should all be standing at God's side, furthering his gospel instead of specific agenda items which are distracting people from the gospel despite its consistency with the Scripture. This does not mean that such issues get relegated to the background, it just means that the gospel of God has to be promoted to the foreground.


Popular posts from this blog

Kata Korinthions: A Reflection

Parable of the 'Good Samaritan'

Three Fears That Still Accompany Me in Public