Dear President Trump:
Along with millions of people of many faiths I thank you for the bold stand you have taken for religious freedom. The eloquent speech you gave at the United Nations was one of your finest moments—in fact, one of the finest of any president.
I have worked in the White House, and I have written about the presidency since the 1970s, but have never seen nor heard a president of the United States so powerfully defend the right of people to choose what they believe about God and to worship freely.
I also join my voice to the millions so grateful to you for your unrelenting defense of the fundamental right to life of the unborn. Your firm stance against the abortion movement that has escalated to shocking levels is crucial. It is unconscionable that there are those in the industry who are willing to take human life almost at the point of birth.
Christians of many denominations and movements, along with many in other religions are thankful for your leadership in these areas.
Nevertheless, many Christians remain troubled by your careless speech. I want to offer two examples.
At a recent press conference, you spoke of calls you got from megachurch pastors who, you said, told you that they had never seen their religions—or any—so “electrified” because of the intense attack being brought against you by Democrats. According to your reported assessment, this is a great revival, with “hundreds of thousands of people” affected, and “churches joining.”
Sir, I have spent much time studying revivals—the Welsh revival of 1904-5 in particular—and I can tell you that your travails have not launched true revival.
There is certainly an outpouring of appreciation for the way you are fighting for the right to life and religious freedom. There is sorrow and frustration among your supporters about the impeachment torments thrust on you and the nation.
But it is not revival.
True revival is a renewal of focus and love for the Lord Jesus Christ, and a hunger to be more Christlike. It is not a focus on any human being—not even a president of the United States.
True revival is Heaven-sent, not earth-generated. It results, not in mere change and outbursts of enthusiasm, but in transformation through the work of the Holy Spirit in the inner person as well as corporately, in society and culture.
During the Welsh revival it was reported that arrests for criminal behavior dropped by fifty percent in one area experiencing the revival movement. Homes and families were restored, and there was a new hunger for moral living. In a mere eighteen months, one hundred thousand people out of a population of slightly more than a million had their lives turned around by receiving Christ. Gauging that against the current American population would mean some thirty million people turning to Christ in less than two years.
The transformation was so profound and so personal that the mules pulling the coal out of Welsh mines had to be retrained. They only knew the foul curses by which the miners drove them. But the converted miners quit cursing, and even the animals had to learn new language.
And that brings me to my second concern.
If you claim to be a Christian, your speech needs to show it. You can talk tough without talking trash. The power of the Holy Spirit transformed the tongues of the Welsh coalminers, and their speech reflected their new life in Christ.
You are in the Oval Office largely on the strength of the conservative Christian vote, and I appeal to you not to continue to insult and embarrass us through your speeches and actions. Rather than contributing to the coarseness of contemporary culture, set a presidential example that elevates discourse.
In short, sir, you need to clean up your act.
Last summer, at a rally in Greenville, North Carolina, you invoked the darkest of imprecations when you twice used the G-damn word in your speech. The evangelical Christians who support you have as their greatest passion that of helping people escape eternal damnation through the grace of Jesus Christ.
Many, when they heard or read that horrible curse coming from your mouth felt literal pain. Democrat Paul Hardesty, a state senator from a coal-mining district, who, though a Democrat, supports you, spoke for many of us when he wrote you that there is “no place in society… where that type of speech should be used or handled. Your comments were not presidential.”
Nor were they Christian.
Mr. President, you said once that you had never felt a need to ask forgiveness. You have one now. And maybe more as you allow the Spirit of God to search your soul. (Psalm 139:23)
Many evangelicals and other Christians take seriously Daniel 2:21 that says that it is God who “removes kings and establishes kings.” If that verse is true and conveys a principle applied across history, then bring yourself completely under His rulership, and you will be a blessing to the nation and world.
I appeal to you as one sinner to another, because I, too, have spoken in ways not compatible with the purity of Christ. Confession and repentance will bring an uplifting and renewing grace, and personal revival.
Again, thank you for your courageous defense of liberty and the right to life, among your other actions that will bless the nation.
Wallace Henley is a former White House and congressional aide, and pastor. He speaks nationally and internationally on the conjunction of biblical truth with society, culture, and politics. His newest book is Call Down Lightning: What the Welsh Revival of 1904 Reveals About the End Times. Henley’s next book will release in March 2020 titled, The Trump Enigma. Both are published by Emanate Books, an imprint of HarperCollins Christian Publishing.