Late last week, family psychologist and Christian right stalwart James Dobson made news by suggesting that presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump recently converted to evangelical Protestantism.
Charisma News has a clarification from Dobson:
“Only the Lord knows the condition of a person’s heart. I can only tell you what I’ve heard. First, Trump appears to be tender to things of the Spirit. I also hear that Paula White has known Trump for years and that she personally led him to Christ.
“Do I know that for sure? No. Do I know the details of that alleged conversion? I can’t say that I do.
“But there are many Christian leaders who are serving on a faith advisory committee for Trump in the future. I am among them. There are about 45 of us that includes Franklin Graham, Robert Jeffress, Jack Graham, Ben Carson, James Robison, Jerry Johnson, and many others whom you would probably know.
“We’ve all agreed to serve. How will that play out if Trump becomes president? I don’t know. It is a good start, I would think.
“If anything, this man is a baby Christian who doesn’t have a clue about how believers think, talk and act. All I can tell you is that we have only two choices, Hillary or Donald. Hillary scares me to death.
“And, if Christians stay home because he isn’t a better candidate, Hillary will run the world for perhaps eight years. The very thought of that haunts my nights and days. One thing is sure: we need to be in prayer for our nation at this time of crisis.”
While a debate rages among evangelicals about whether to support the worldly, race-baiting billionaire, news of Trump’s newfound salvation might make hesitant or wavering voters reconsider the “baby Christian.”
The issue came up on NBC’s “Meet the Press” Sunday morning, and Trump campaign Chairman Paul Manafort dodged the question, saying, “I’m not going to speak to Donald Trump and his embrace of religion. You’ll have to talk to him about that.”
And while Trump has a chance to shore up his position with evangelicals after a momentous Supreme Court ruling on abortion restrictions, reports of his newfound salvation do not seem to be impacting his candidacy as much as one might expect if they were, you know, actually true.
One question that lingered over the weekend was, What preacher led Trump to Christ? Dobson said that he personally knew a member of the clergy that was recently party to Trump’s conversion, but in his first reported comments on the matter last week, he did not say who it was.
Now we know that, according to Dr. James Dobson, prosperity-gospel preacher Paula White led Trump to Christ. This will not help the candidate’s standing among #NeverTrump evangelicals. They regard White as a false teacher and somewhat of a laughingstock.
The well-heeled White characterizes a gift she asked Billy Graham to send Trump for his 60th birthday in 2006 as the revered evangelist “prophesying” over Trump. Last October, she warned, “Any tongue that rises against him will be condemned.”
If real, Trump’s conversion could have been spun much better politically. They should’ve left the Reverend Paula White out of it.