Trump Manipulating Evangelicals Who 'Lionize' Him as Biblical Cyrus, Will 'Turn on Them': Theologian

President Donald Trump speaks during a White House dinner attended by over 100 Christian leaders and their spouses in Washington, D.C. on Aug. 27, 2018.
President Donald Trump speaks during a White House dinner attended by over 100 Christian leaders and their spouses in Washington, D.C. on Aug. 27, 2018. | (Photo: Facebook / Franklin Graham)

A Christian theology professor has warned conservative evangelicals who believe President Donald Trump is like the biblical Cyrus that he'll "turn on them in a moment."

Roger E. Olson, professor of Christian Theology of Ethics at George W. Truett Theological Seminary at Baylor University in Waco, Texas, wrote Monday on his blog that some Trump-backing evangelicals see him as "something of a messianic figure."

He clarified that he's not talking about everyone who voted for Trump, but specifically evangelicals who "lionize Trump as a kind of new national messiah" and see him as "our Cyrus," referring to the biblical king.

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"Cyrus was, of course, the emperor of Persia who died in 530 BC. During his approximately thirty year reign he released the Hebrew people in exile to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the temple that was destroyed earlier by the Babylonians," the theologian described.

"He is mentioned in the Hebrew Bible several times and always favorably. There is one obscure passage in Isaiah that even attributes messianic qualities to him."

Olson pointed out that the Hebrew people did not consider Cyrus one of them, but saw him as a powerful ally that was raised up by God to deliver them from bondage. He noted that some evangelicals, in much the same way, believe that God is using Trump to deliver them from persecution.

"These people see themselves as a remnant of the conservative Christianity that once made America truly great," he argued.

"Their view of American history is a downward slide toward not true pluralism but suppression of traditional Christian values," he continued.

"They truly believe that Trump, even if he is immoral and criminal (the latter has not been proven, of course), was raised up by God to reverse the trend in American culture toward total decadence and hedonism. But even more, they believe God raised up Trump not because he is one of them but because he hears them and will put a stop to efforts by government bureaucrats in Washington, D.C. (e.g., in the Department of Education) to persecute Christians."

Olson argued that it must be examined whether U.S. internal public policy truly is anti-Christian, however, and whether Trump really had good intentions toward evangelicals.

He said that when it comes to the second question, he "very much doubts" it has a positive answer.

"Personally, speaking only for myself, I believe President Trump only cares about power. I have not seen any real principles — other than 'Make American great again' (with an implied 'and me, too'). I strongly suspect that he is manipulating his conservative Christian 'base' and would turn on them in a moment if it suited his agenda to be powerful," he said.

There have been a variety of Christian and non-Christian personalities that have alluded to Trump being a Cyrus-like figure.

Those include author, speaker, and political strategist Lance Wallnau; Fox News host and former judge Jeanine Pirro; and even Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has hailed Trump for his support for Israel.

Evangelical leaders, such as Anne Graham Lotz, the daughter of famous evangelist Billy Graham, have likened Trump to another biblical king, Nebuchadnezzar, who at first oppressed believers, but then turned to faith in God.

Others, such as Michael Brown, president of FIRE School of Ministry, have argued that only God can say whether Trump can be compared to Cyrus or Nebuchadnezzar, if either.

"As the saying goes, let God be God, meaning, it's up to Him to do what He wants to do. Only He can answer this question for sure," Brown wrote in an March 2016 op-ed in The Christian Post.

Follow Stoyan Zaimov on Facebook: CPSZaimov

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