As a British national, I can tell you that my country (and probably the rest of the world) looks on at America with a mixture of bemusement and concern. These are certainly interesting times and it can be tempting to fall into the trap of succumbing to pessimism or fear. More than ever, we need to seek God's heart to discern the times we are in and how He is working.
Whilst I am in no place to make a judgment on the character or the integrity of Donald Trump, I do believe his term in office is stirring change. Change brings a certain amount of discomfort and turbulence, and it's during these times that the Church is most needed in bringing clarity, stability and most significantly, hope.
The Bible makes it clear that God uses the most unlikely individuals to achieve His purposes and I believe that God is using President Trump. Loud, bombastic and straight-talking, he is like a foghorn - virtually impossible to ignore. But instead of empty noise, I believe the sound Donald Trump is making is uncovering corruption, political correctness and obfuscation. Truth is being told without hesitation and the media does not like it. The political pundits do not like it. The public loves or hates it. President Trump has confounded everyone and is doing much to force the public into taking sides. It's not just a case of whether or not the President himself is liked. Positions on all sorts of issues are becoming increasingly polarized.
In a similar manner to the aftermath of Brexit, I think this is less about creating division, and more about exposing divisions that already exist. In one of the more challenging of His statements, Jesus told us that His coming was not to bring peace but division (Luke 12:51). Deeper than political differences lies a more fundamental division that has existed for centuries: Those who love God and His ways, and those who are hostile towards God and His ways. This is no comment on Trump's personal convictions, but his term in office is nonetheless making this distinction more obvious.
In January the President spoke at the March for Life – the first President ever to do so in person. Yet just over a week later, the Senate voted against the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. The nation's decision not to ban late-term abortions, a practice so indisputably evil and inhumane, should be jarring and shocking to us.
Meanwhile, scandal after scandal has been unearthed in the entertainment industry, prompting a mass disclosure of sexual misconduct across the nation. As clarity falls upon the United States, that which was muddy and uncertain is being brought into focus. In the Senate's choosing to allow the ending of innocent lives, despite their ability to feel pain, I believe that the moral landscape of the nation is brought into sharp relief, for the way a nation treats its most vulnerable speaks volumes.
In all of the confusion, blurred lines and mixed messages arising from the #MeToo campaign, one thing is entirely clear: The progressive ideology promoted by the political Left for the last 50 years has not made society any freer. It has only left people vulnerable and at risk of abuse. Uncomfortable as it may be, the nation is being forced to confront the negative consequences of turning its back on God's life-giving, joy-bringing, society-benefiting plan for sex, relationships and family.
In light of these events and others I have not touched on, I believe this is a crucial time for the Church. It appears that the nation is entering a time where battle lines are being drawn and this 'separation' of sorts must inevitably also apply to the Church – for institutional unity is no substitute for unity around the truth. I really believe this is a time where churches must make their position on pressing moral issues clear, for soon there will be nowhere to hide. When it comes to fundamental questions of right and wrong, of true and false, there is no fence.
The Church must decide to courageously stand on the side of truth, come what may, or in her silence become indistinguishable from the rest of the world. And what good is a Church that merely parrots a prevailing culture? It is time for the Church to unite in its rejoicing with the truth and its condemnation of evil. What would it look like if the Church spoke unequivocally in defense of the life of the preborn child, for example? I do not mean merely that the Church should open her mouth to criticize, for we already have enough critics.
Instead, let us as the Church body speak of the goodness of the way God intended us to live. Of the value of human life – from inside the womb to the deathbed and every stage in between. Of the immense worth of healthy marriages and stable families. To affirm that an individual is made in the image of God, male or female and that their life, regardless of gender, race or socio-economic status, has significance and destiny. And most of all, let us speak of the hope of the gospel, pointing not to Trump or to Mike Pence or to any other political leader, but unfailingly, to Christ, who is the Head of all.
Camilla Olim writes for her blog The Accessible Christian, which seeks to discuss contemporary issues of culture and morality for a millennial audience.