taking the words of Jesus seriously


The god for many Christians may not be the god revealed in Jesus Christ. Two thousand years ago the Apostle Paul warned us about the possibility of Christians turning from the real Jesus and worshipping “another Christ” (2 Corinthians 11:4).


Emile Durkheim, one of the key figures among sociologists, in his book The Elementary Forms of the Religious Life, pointed out that every society had a tendency to create images of God that incarnate their own collective traits and values. America is no exception to that tendency, and many Americans worship a socially created deity who embodies wealth, power and prestige (i.e. celebrity). As George Bernard Shaw said, “God created us in His image, and we decided to return the favor.”


The American society increasingly is made up of people who want a God who is diametrically opposed to the Christ who is described in scripture – A Christ who gave up the wealth, power and prestige that was rightly His and, as it says in Philippians chapter two, humbled Himself, making Himself of no reputation, taking on the status of a slave and being willing to endure the degradation of crucifixion. With a people who put wealth, power and prestige at the top of their list of aspirations, their God is likely to embody those traits instead of what we find in Jesus.


Enter Donald Trump! He possesses all of the values that many Christians project onto their made up cultural deity. This may be why many Evangelicals I know, who are a major part of the base of Trump’s electorate, have become his followers, and ask me why I, as a religious man, do not join up with them.


I have no problem with them viewing Donald Trump as a strong leader who might be able to get things done in Washington, but when they follow him with, what appears to me, religious fervor, I raise questions about viewing him as a messianic personage. I remember the words of the Apostle Paul who wrote in Romans 1:23 that people take the incorruptible God and make Him like a corruptible man and worship the creature rather than the Creator.


Please do not thing that what I’ve written is any kind of critique of Donald Trump. It is only meant as a sociological analysis of why so many Evangelicals look to him as some kind of an American savior.


The Kingdom of God will not come from the White House, regardless of which party wins the coming election.


About The Author


Tony Campolo is Professor of Sociology at Eastern University, and was formerly on the faculty of the University of Pennsylvania. For 40 years, he founded and led the Evangelical Association for the Promotion of Education, an organization that created and supported programs serving needy communities in the Third World as well as in “at risk” neighborhoods across North America. More recently, Dr. Campolo has provided leadership for the Red Letter Christians movement. He blogs regularly at his own website. Tony and his wife Peggy live near Philadelphia, and have two children and four grandchildren.

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