Dear Friends,

If you are like me, it is often hard to share your faith. Years ago, I was helped by the insight that not all Christians are called to be evangelists, but all Christians are called to be witnesses. In other words, all Christians are called to bear witness to Jesus, the crucified Saviour and risen Lord. Often our witnessing journey begins by simply letting people know that you went to church on Sunday or that you are a Christian. If you see the person regularly, often questions and comments will follow that allow you to, once again, bear witness to Jesus.

Since Donald Trump announced that he was running to be the Republican candidate in the US presidential election, and especially since he became the candidate and then the President, witnessing has become harder.

Virtually all of the media and political and “knowledge” class seems to be against Trump. Although it is not said all of the time, it has been often reported that a large percentage of evangelical Christians voted for Trump. Those who know that I am a Christian, and suspect that I might be an evangelical (whatever that means to them!), have an “edge” to them now when they talk with me. I am probably too timid and sensitive in this regard, but when people talk to me with an “edge” and when I know other people are probably listening in, the temptation I face is to become silent.

But some might say, “George, just denounce Trump and all who voted for him and move on.” This leads me to discuss a bigger and more subtle temptation than being silent. The temptation here is starting down the path of linking the Gospel to politics; of linking political decisions to Jesus. In the short run, this decision (denounce Trump or have people suspect that you approve) may seem to be helpful, but I think that in the long run it will blunt or remove our witness to Christ.

First, many political decisions are about matters which Christians can, in good conscience, disagree on. By linking an ever-growing list of political decisions to following Jesus, you are giving the wrong impression of who Jesus is and what the Gospel is.

Second, we are called to bear witness to Jesus to both those who would have voted for Trump and those who voted against him. How do we do this while becoming known for partisan politics?

Third, we are falling into the cultural trap of believing and acting as if the biggest issue is being against Trump, and all other issues are, at best, a “second-order” issue. But this really undermines the Gospel! Jesus did not live a sinless life and die on the cross to deliver us from Trump! He came to die, and by his death, be “the power of God for salvation to all who believe.”

For my part, with the non-Christians who talk to me about Jesus, I now say that I will not be drawn into political discussions and debates. Friends, please pray for me! Please ask the Lord to give us opportunities to bear witness to Jesus! Please pray for courage and wisdom.