Populism vs. tyranny: The rise of Donald Trump

By Jason & David Benham

Last week was crazy! “We the people” have spoken. Change is in the air.

And the negative emotions on display – from riots in the city to cry-ins on campus – thousands of Americans in the “everybody gets a trophy” generation are literally falling apart.

But in the midst of all this, two spiritual truths come to mind:

  1. You don’t have to be a man of God to be God’s man for a specific purpose in History
  2. Tyranny will crush a nation, but populism apart from principles will corrupt it.

In terms of being “God’s man” for a specific purpose, the Lord used Nebuchadnezzar in Babylon and Cyrus in Persia – both political leaders who didn’t know Him – to accomplish His will on the earth.

Check out what God said about King Cyrus in Isaiah 45:4, “For the sake of Jacob my servant, of Israel my chosen, I summon you by name and bestow on you a title of honor, though you have not known me.”

While Cyrus was anointed to restore God’s people, Nebuchadnezzar was anointed to rebuke them. Either way, God used political leaders to teach His people to rightly represent His kingdom on the earth.

Today, the church in America has not done a good job of rightly representing the Lord. In fact, we’ve been pretty pathetic as we simply enjoy the fruit of God while rejecting the root of His holiness. So for the past several years the church has been under a “Nebuchadnezzar”-type rebuke, to lead us to repentance.

And it’s working. All across America believers are crying out in repentance. Lives are being restored, marriages are being renewed, and communities are being reformed. We’re seeing it with our own eyes as we travel extensively across the nation. You wouldn’t believe how many 2 Chronicles 7:14 services have taken place.

The Benham boys hit it out of the park AGAIN! Order David and Jason Benham’s newest hit – “Living Among the Lions: How to Thrive Like Daniel in Today’s Babylon” –  and learn how the ancient Jewish prophet holds the keys to Christians thriving in a world that’s increasingly hostile to people of faith

And then last Tuesday, God may have just raised up a “Cyrus” for a period of restoration, so God can use His people once again to heal the land – a broken land full of death, division, drugs and desperation. Although Trump certainly doesn’t come across as a man of God, he very well may be God’s man for a specific purpose.

Check out this statement from his new transition website:

(As president) I will defend Americans’ fundamental rights to free speech, religious liberty, keeping and bearing arms, and all other rights guaranteed to them in the Bill of Rights and other constitutional provisions. This includes the Tenth Amendment guarantee that many areas of governance are left to the people and the states, and are not the role of the federal government to fulfill. The Constitution declares that as Americans we have the right to speak freely, share and live out our beliefs, raise and protect our families, be free from undue governmental abuse, and participate in the public square.

Are you kidding? That’s how Ronald Reagan governed.

This brings us to our second point. The voice of the people (populism) stood against the boot of tyranny and prevailed. Yet while we realize tyranny will crush a nation, we must also understand populism without principles will corrupt it.

While the election went one direction on Tuesday, ballot proposals in various states went the other. Colorado approved doctor-assisted suicide, and California, Massachusetts and Nevada legalized marijuana outright. All of this in the middle of a heroin epidemic in America, as well as unprecedented cases of depression and anxiety among our youth!

Again, are you kidding?! The wave of populism that closed the door to tyranny also opened the door to corruption, because it lacks the basic principles of God – unless God’s people do their part to influence it.

The principles of our faith provide the only pathway to true human flourishing. So instead of isolating ourselves away from culture we need to stand up and step into it with the loving truth of God. Because “righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people” (Proverbs 14:34).

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “The church must be reminded that it is neither the master nor the servant of the state, rather it is the conscience of the state.”

Today, the populist will of the people should be checked by the principled conscience of the state, so that our nation can truly understand righteousness and be exalted once again. If we fail as Christians over the next four years to humbly yet boldly walk this out, we will not only fail our nation and future generations of Americans, but we will fail our God.

So, there you have it – God uses whomever He wants to accomplish His purposes on earth, and principled populism is the only way toward American prosperity. Let’s make these next four years something that will mark the world forever!

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