Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump's campaign announced the formation of an evangelical executive board yesterday. The press release included a list of the 25 evangelical leaders who have agreed to serve on the board. I am one of those executive board members.
Why did I agree to join Mr. Trump's advisory board?
The press release explained that board members "were not asked to endorse Mr. Trump as a prerequisite for participating on the board."
This is accurate. I have not endorsed Donald Trump.
The Trump campaign explained that "the board represents Donald J. Trump's endorsement of the diverse issues important to Evangelicals and other Christians and his desire to have access to the wise counsel of such leaders.'
The advisory board's announcement has generated a good deal of criticism from some within the Evangelical community.
I respect everyone's right to act according to the dictates of their personal conscience. However, I feel compelled to ask "what would the critics have us do?"
Mr. Trump and his advisors asked us to join the advisory board (no endorsement required) in order to give Mr. Trump spiritual counsel and advice on moral and ethical issues arising during the campaign. What kind of issues? My good friend, Dr. Jack Graham, former president of the Southern Baptist Convention, current senior pastor of Prestonwood Baptist Church in Dallas and fellow advisory board member outlined his most important issues in a presentation at the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention last week:
1. Nominations to the U.S. Supreme Court and federal judiciary
2. A defense of the sanctity of all human life.
3. Defending religious liberty both domestically and internationally.
I ask yet again what would our critics have us do? Would they really have us spurn the opportunity to give spiritual counsel and advice to Mr. Trump and his team? How would that be obedience to our Saviour's command to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world? (Matthew 5:13-16). After all, as Evangelicals we all believe that the heart of the king "is in the hand of the Lord . . . He turneth it whithersoever He will" (Proverbs 21:1).
We never know how God may use our advice and witness in Donald Trump's life. Is it not our responsibility to "be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you . . ." (1 Peter 3:15)?
Is it not our spiritual obligation and responsibility to speak biblical truth in love to all who will listen? It is our duty to speak biblical truth to Mr. Trump. It is his responsibility as to how Mr. Trump responds to our counsel and advice.
We as Christians often ask ourselves "what would Jesus do?" Frankly, I cannot imagine our Savior would draw His robes around Himself and walk on the other side of the street and spurn Mr. Trump's request for spiritual counsel and advice.
And for the record, if the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton asked me to join a similar advisory board to give her my understanding of what biblical truth has to say to the issues of the current campaign and beyond, how would I justify saying no?