David Leach wrote a series of fantastic articles entitled, “Another look at America today through the eyes of Dietrich Bonhoeffer”, in which he likened the Church in America today to the one in Germany during the 1930’s that allowed Hitler to rise to power.
Make no mistake here, Leach is not calling Trump a Hitler wannabe, he is explaining the similarities in the breakdown and capitulation of the Church to allow moral decay, to allow the hollowing out of Christianity, and allowing cheap grace to overtake the Christian doctrine.
Many of us have wondered over the last three years just what exactly has happened to the ‘Evangelical’ community that they would support such an unfit character as Donald Trump to the point of near worship.
In that piece, I reflected on many of the similarities we see in today’s church compared to the church in 1930’s Germany after reading a biography about Dietrich Bonhoeffer. In the book written by Eric Metaxas, we learn how the church at that time had capitulated to Hitler and embraced what Bonhoeffer referred to as “cheap grace” at the expense of “costly grace.”StridentConservative.com
“Cheap grace means grace as a doctrine, a principle, a system. It means forgiveness of sins proclaimed as a general truth, the love of God taught as the Christian ‘conception’ of God. An intellectual assent to that idea is held to be of itself sufficient to secure remission of sins…. In such a Church the world finds a cheap covering for its sins; no contrition is required, still less any real desire to be delivered from sin. Cheap grace therefore amounts to a denial of the living Word of God, in fact, a denial of the Incarnation of the Word of God.
Cheap grace means the justification of sin without the justification of the sinner. Grace alone does everything they say, and so everything can remain as it was before. ‘All for sin could not atone.’ Well, then, let the Christian live like the rest of the world, let him model himself on the world’s standards in every sphere of life, and not presumptuously aspire to live a different life under grace from his old life under sin….
Cheap grace is the grace we bestow on ourselves. Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, Communion without confession…. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate.”
It was in this spiritual vacuum that the Nazi party rose to power.
That all sounds eerily familiar, doesn’t it? Cheap grace, is probably THE most destructive force against Christianity and the morality it fosters.
How many times have we heard Trump supporters, who have professed to be Christians, say they do not care about his past? A past that includes infidelities in every marriage he has had, ripping off poor people in various scams, shady business dealings, and on and on. For Christians, Trump’s statement of never having asked for forgiveness should have been the last straw in determining exactly what type of man he was. All the while, Trump used televangelists as props to bolster his image in the eyes of Evangelicals. Unfortunately, those same eyes had witnessed and believed cheap grace being preached from a majority of pulpits across the land. This allowed the Evangelicals to simply discount Trump’s past saying such stupid things as, “We didn’t vote for Preacher in Command.”, “He’s a baby Christian, he doesn’t know better yet.”, and “I don’t care.”
Indeed, the end justifies the means’ crowd used to operate almost solely among the leftists in the country. Trump’s cult doesn’t typically use that exact phraseology, however there have been some bold enough to come out and type it, but many variations on the same theme escape them each time they are asked about tweets, actions, and/or policies that travel counter to all they claim to support.
Abortion is a perfect example of this and the fallacy of the cult’s arguments of support for the Republican party have gone on long before Trump glided down his escalator. Each and every time the Republicans have controlled the purse strings of this nation since Planned Parenthood started receiving funds from the government, they have refused to defund that organization. For being such a large part of the platform, Republicans have found it far less repugnant to keep funding Planned Parenthood than having to debate their ‘ideals’ in the public square in a government shutdown. Coincidentally, a government shutdown to defund Obamacare was derided by Republican leadership severely. And now, shutting the government down for a pittance of the cost of a fence/wall is paramount to the Republican platform. Perhaps if Republican presidents and Congresses had insisted so hard that the government would provide no funds for Planned Parenthood… but they didn’t have to, did they?
All the Republican party had to do the next election cycle was to say they would oppose government funding to Planned Parenthood and let cheap grace assuage it’s flocks that the open supporters of abortion were still worse than the closet funders of abortion.
Am I judging the hearts of the cult? No, that is Jesus’ purview. However, when one starts to excuse the actions, words, and policies of a serial adulterer, obsessive compulsive liar, and conman because D!; one might want to be slightly introspective and ask themselves whether their providence is truly Divine in nature or the willful doctrine of cheap grace.
Because, friends, no politician on Earth is going to save this nation. No man on Earth is going to lead the country back to morality and goodness. No matter how hard you wish it, no matter how high you elevate a golden calf, the answers do not rest with men on this planet. You will choke yourselves on your yokes of fallible humanity before a deluded population will change for the good.
I, myself, have no good answers of how to deal with the cult beyond urging them to open their eyes. But maybe, if the Church put down the tv remote, banishing the hypocrites calling themselves Christian leaders, and picked up their Bibles, they would cultivate the answers themselves.