New U.S. President Donald Trump often acknowledges God these days. During his Inauguration Day last Friday, he had several Evangelical leaders speak as well as a Roman Catholic, a rabbi, and others. But the affair had multiple Evangelicals that included Billy Graham’s son, Franklin Graham.
Anyone who reads this blog regularly knows that I not only didn’t vote for Mr. Trump, I posted many times about my objection to him becoming our president. However, he is now our president, and I wish him well in this difficult endeavor. It is the hardest job in the world being the U.S. president. He surely brings to the office an extraordinary expertise in business. Right now, it looks like he will indeed be the greatest jobs president the U.S. has ever seen, as he predicts. It won’t be easy since he enters the presidency on what is surely the downside of a business cycle, with SP ratios above the ordinary and eight years since a recession. They usually comes every eight to ten years.
It seemed that Pentecostal Paula White, now Paula White-Cain, spoke the longest at Trump’s inauguration. She is a televangelist and pastor of mega-church New Destiny Christian Center in Orlando, Florida. Paula was most known as co-founder, with her former husband Randy White, of the church Without Walls International Church. That seems sort of paradoxical now that President Trump just signed a memorandum today that begins his long process he campaigned most about in his presidential bid that he would build a wall on the nearly 2,000-mile border between the U.S. and Mexico.
Paula White has been a spiritual mentor to President Trump for several years now. It reportedly started with Trump’s son, Eric, who first began watching her on television. President Trump has now made Mrs. White-Cain the chairperson of the Evangelical Advisory Board. White has ministered to Michael Jackson and other celebrities.
Another interesting element to Donald Trump’s story is that his beautiful and accomplished daughter Ivanka is married to Jared Kushner, who is Jewish. Jared and Ivanka were married in a Jewish ceremony. And both are practicing Orthodox Jews who talk about living kosher and keeping the sabbath.
Paula White-Cain is known for preaching what is called “the health-and-wealth gospel.” It is somewhat prominent in the Pentecostal-Charismatic movement, but only there. This movement has been growing faster within Christianity than any other segment. It is no wonder since people are told that God will give them more in return for their tithes and offerings to the church. That can happen, but I think it is misleading that it is automatic. God wants peoples’ hearts first, which Paula White does preach, too.
Jesus sometimes preached the opposite of heaving wealth. He said in his so-called Sermon on the Mount-Plain, “Blessed are the poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you will be filled” (Luke 6.20-21; cf. Matt. 5.3). Another time Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, it will be hard for a rich person to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God” (Matt. 19.23-24).
During Jesus’ itinerant preaching and healing ministry, he often told people, “Follow me.” The Gospel of Matthew reports concerning Jesus, “A scribe then approached and said, ‘Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.’ And Jesus said to him, ‘Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head'” (Matt. 8.20; cf. Luke 9.58). Jesus meant that he had sacrificed having wealth for doing God’s kingdom work set before him as the Son of Man, which was to be no more than a rather poor prophet.
God is not against people having wealth, for Israel’s King Solomon and King David were very rich men. So, it is possible for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God. Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar was very rich and worshipped pagan gods. Yet because of the ministry of Daniel to him, the king gradually came around to a true conversion to Daniel’s God, the God of Israel. I’ll hope and pray that President Trump follows in the footsteps of King Nebuchadnezzar in getting into the kingdom of God.