Here in December of 2016, we now know what God knew before the creation of the world. Donald Trump will be the 45th president of the United States. Even though Hillary Clinton won the popular vote, Mr. Trump garnered the necessary electoral votes to become the chief executive of the government of our divided nation. In his victory speech, Mr. Trump said, “Now it is time for America to bind the wounds of division…it is time to come together as one united people. I pledge to every citizen of our land that I will be President for all of Americans…I’m reaching out to you for your guidance and your help so that we can work together and unify our great country.”
In view of this public pledge which was witnessed not only by Americans but by the watching and anxious nations of the world, I want to suggest that we as Christians and loyal subjects of Jesus Christ, the King of kings, make the following three-fold pledge:
1. Let us pledge to show honor to this president. Not because of his person, his platform, or his party, but because of the office he holds. Some Americans are saying, This is not my president. This notion would be surprising to the Founders of our nation. We are the United States of America. We have one government, one Congress, one Supreme Court, and one President. Just as Barak Obama is my president now, on January 20, Donald Trump will be my president, and Scripture commands us to show honor and respect to him for the office he holds (1 Peter 2:17; Ro. 13:1). Along these lines, John Calvin wrote, “The first duty of subjects toward their magistrates is to think most honorably of their office, which they recognize as a jurisdiction bestowed by God.”
2. Let us pledge to hold President-elect Trump accountable to his pledge to serve all Americans. Indeed, he has made many promises throughout this election to various groups, including evangelical Christians, and now we shall see if he is a man of his word. He faces a tremendous challenge in reaching out to various groups in our nation who fear a Trump presidency, based on what they heard, or thought they heard, from Mr. Trump over the last year. But I expect a lot of my presidents, and so should you. With the Founders, I expect a virtuous officeholder marked by verbal integrity, marital fidelity, and financial accountability. If he is like every other president we have had, there will be times when he is in violation of God’s Word and when appropriate, I will publicly and respectfully disagree with him. As a pastor and a patriot, I love my country and I treasure the first amendment guarantees of religious liberty and free speech. While we must show honor and respect to our presidents, we do not place them above the Constitution or the Bible. No president is above the law.
3. Let us pledge to pray for President-elect Trump and Vice- President-elect Mike Pence. It is much easier to criticize than it is to lead. How many Christians spend more time criticizing our presidents than praying for them? God only knows. None of us can come close to understanding the immense responsibility and pressure that is about to be laid on these men. This job will age them as it has all others before them. People with ignoble motives will be quick to scrutinize their every move and even if they want to do the right thing, Mr. Trump and Mr. Pence will often be placed in situations where it is not clear which option is the right thing. So join me in asking God to give them profound wisdom to know what is right, and then for the political courage to do what is right. As President-elect Trump selects his cabinet, let us pray that he be surrounded by good and wise counselors. For the glory of God and the advance of the gospel, Scripture commands us to pray for these men (1 Tim. 2:1–5). Let us obey Scripture.12