Debate [?] on Biblical Honor of Rulers: Including Trump

Debate [?] on Biblical Honor of Rulers: Including Trump November 14, 2018

I had an exchange on my Facebook page. It’s now deleted from there because my opponent (a man who has visited my page for years: almost always commenting on political matters, rather than theological) absolutely refused to allow me to post his words here. He also absolutely refused to ever answer my questions (as you will see). He was reacting to my post, Wicked Rulers Honored (Saul, Solomon, Nero, High Priest). I shall paraphrase his thoughts in blue (so as to be as fair to his expressed point of view as possible), but I won’t quote him, per his request.

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Conservatives went after Obama: such as the birther controversy. Did you defend his honor? It’s hypocrisy.

There is no comparison whatever between the two levels of criticism. Thus there was no particular need to note these things in the Bible. I said the birther thing was absurd and stupid from the beginning.

Now what do you think of my actual argument? Does the biblical model implicate and condemn much of Trump-criticism today?

There is no difference in degree or substance between criticisms of Obama and those of Trump today. Unless one is totally impartial, one can’t cite a biblical passage to make an argument.

In this particular post I am not (technically) defending the “honor” of Trump anymore than I would defend the honor of Nero or Saul. I am defending the notion that holders of high offices are to be accorded honor, just as Jesus taught us to honor and obey the Pharisees, even if they were hypocrites and didn’t do what they instructed us to do (Matthew 23).

I ask you again (wondering if you will ever answer): “Does the biblical model implicate and condemn much of Trump-criticism today?”

Whether I am absolutely impartial or not (I’m certainly not) is irrelevant in the matter of what the biblical teaching required. It is what it is.

How Never Trumpers act today requires us to reach one of three conclusions about their self-understanding:

1) Trump is more wicked than Nero.

2) Never Trumpers are more righteous and knowledgeable than St. Peter.

3) Never Trumpers who savage Trump every day, every hour simply don’t care what the Bible teaches about honoring rulers (in effect a denial of biblical inspiration and Scripture’s binding relevance in our day-to-day lives).

Which is it? Or which combination?

Unless one is totally impartial and defends the honor of politicians of all parties, one can’t use this Scripture to make an argument against Trump’s critics.

And again, I say that is irrelevant. Scripture is what it is, regardless of the (alleged or actual) bias or consistency of the one who merely brings up a set of passages.

These sophistical games you wish to play don’t work with me. I’m too logical of a thinker.

Are Trump critics by and large consistent with these scriptural demands and models or not?

I do uphold the honor of every ruler, in the sense that the Bible requires. It is not a position of never being able to give any criticism, or even being pointed and sarcastic and acerbic at times. It is a basic respect for the office.

If, for example, I had been invited to the White House to meet President Obama, I would have been extremely honored, and extremely deferential when I met him. Political differences are irrelevant to that.

On the other hand, today we have entire sports teams who won’t even attend such functions. We have people saying that Trump isn’t “their” President; i.e., that he is an illegitimate President.

Lots of conservatives denied that Obama was their President.

Then they were wrong.

Now, will you answer my question about the biblical teachings or not? The hypocrisy argument is irrelevant. You’re making a fool of yourself.

If we cite the Bible wrongly, this is no authority, Think, for example, of how slaveholders abused Scripture.

How did I misuse it? What does it mean for Peter to say “Honor the emperor”? How does the Christian do that, and how does it apply analogously to rulers today? How does a passage like “Even in your thought, do not curse the king”: Ecclesiastes 10:20, written by King Solomon) apply to the usual anti-Trump invective today?

One can’t cite these Scriptures to defend one point of view or politician, and not all politicians.

Is Trump so much more wicked than Nero (who slaughtered many thousands of Christians) that he need not even be honored, even though Peter told us to honor Nero?

Do you claim that Peter was wrong when he wrote that piece of inspired revelation?

Do you think Scripture is inspired?

Do you care what it says about honor given to our political / civic leaders?

Yours is a case study of irrational emotion and hysteria almost completely wiping out what is a very robust and thoughtful intellect.

You’re reduced to a babbling fool by simple, perfectly relevant questions.

I plainly answered everything. Yet you say I’m a fool.

You have answered nothing whatever. Instead you are playing sophistical games and engaging in deliberate deflection at every turn (which is being a babbling fool, philosophically speaking). How disappointing. This is a textbook, classic example of the remarkable irrationality of Trump-hatred.

I have not exhibited such an opinion or attitude; not at all.

If there weren’t hatred (or at least considerable animosity) involved here, you would answer my many questions, instead of ignoring them and throwing up non sequiturs at every turn. Or it could be that you have no ill will towards Trump, but you deny biblical inspiration, or think the Bible has no relevance to politics and civic affairs.

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Photo credit: Max Pixel / CCO Public domain]

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