A notion that particularly appealed to me in my early years as a Christian preacher, was Jesus can ONLY be one of three things: a liar (because what he claimed about himself was untrue), a lunatic (for believing things about himself to be true when clearly they weren’t) or Lord (insofar his claim to be the Son of God, able to forgive sin etc. were indeed true). I would frequently bring up the matter, and challenge my listener, when talking to those who found the person of Jesus rather appealing but refused to go along with his claims. I understand the notion was popularized by the Christian apologist, C.S.Lewis, but others argued the same before him.
Moving on to my days working in industry and observing the people around me, operating as they did in all sorts of spheres, I came to a view, based on hard experience, that people can be put into one of three categories: fools, villains and good guys, although I later came to refine my thinking to be along the lines we each have all three of those tendencies in varying proportions. It has influenced my thinking as a community activist. While I would rather work with the good guys, I realized in order to get things done I would need to interact with fools and villains as well as good guys, and that my approach had to be shaped with these thoughts in mind.
The issue arose in a discussion I had with a friend regarding whether or not it would be more “Christian” to vote for Hillary Clinton in November’s US Presidential election than Donald Trump. I had earlier argued (see here) that deciding who to vote for would be difficult call, but intimated that if I were to have to choose between Clinton (who I would place more in the “villain” category) and Trump (who I would place more in the “fool” category), I might be inclined to give Trump the nod over Clinton, on the basis that just maybe there is more hope of redemption with this fool than with this villain. Then again, since this was a hypothetical question, it was not a decision, much to my relief, I would be called upon to make.
My friend took me to task as to whether my conclusions had a biblical basis, given the many well documented instances when what Trump has said was decidedly non-Christian. My response was that if half the things claimed against Clinton were true then she clearly was a disreputable villain with small hope for redemption and if half the things claimed against Trump were true then he clearly was an undisputable fool but with some hope for redemption. As far as the Bible was concerned, it did not give much in the way of guidance but did exhort us not to put our trust in humans and to put our trust in God. As far as kingdoms go, while I see a biblical basis of working toward bringing about God’s kingdom on earth (and why such elections matter), I see most attempts to do so as destined to failure and those that try, especially if trying to bring about a one world government, are only ushering in the rule of the AntiChrist. Our hope therefore needs to be in bringing about the Kingdom where Christ returns to reign. That is only possible if Jesus is Lord!
The ways of the Almighty are past working out. As I thought further on this “biblical basis” question my mind went to the verses in the Bible: “Thus says the LORD, your redeemer, . . . “I am the LORD, . . . who confirms the word of His servant, and performs the counsel of His messengers; who says to Jerusalem, ‘You shall be inhabited,’ to the cities of Judah, ‘You shall be built,’ and I will raise up her waste places; who says to the deep, ‘Be dry! And I will dry up your rivers’; who says of Cyrus, ‘He is My shepherd, and he shall perform all My pleasure, even saying to Jerusalem, “You shall be built,” and to the temple, “Your foundation shall be laid”” Isaiah 44:28, written over 100 years before the prophecy came to pass. Cyrus was the Persian king who held God’s people in captivity and there was little evidence of him being a follower of the God of Israel, at least not prior to the events which God said would happen did happen (as the prophet foretold and history bears witness), and yet he was the instrument God chose to use to bring about his purposes.
I am not saying Trump is going to be any more God’s instrument than Clinton might be (I can not say for sure and God has not told me), but I am told to put my trust in God and declare and live the word of truth. That word is Jesus is Lord (not a liar or a lunatic) and he is coming back to reign, and we must put our trust in him. We are faced with the decision whether we are going to be a fool, villain or a good person, and by God’s grace, may it be the latter!