Dr. Michael L. Brown is founder and president of ICN Ministries and of FIRE School of Ministry; he was also a key figure in the Brownsville Revival. He is also of Jewish background, and is certainly the most "scholarly" (see the five volumes of his Answering Jewish Objections to Jesus: General and Historical Objections
) of converted Jews who wish to convert other Jews to evangelical Christianity.
He wrote in the Preface of this 2018 book, “During the primaries, I staunchly opposed Donald Trump, feeling there were quite a few Republican candidates who could do a better job than him. But as Trump continued to win, I began to recognize that something else was going on and that God might have some surprises for us… It is the purpose of this book to take you on a journey with me over the last three years, helping all of us better evaluate perhaps the most polarizing man on the planet today… My great hope in writing this book is that it will help those of us who claim to be people of faith and character… to be able to take a more nuanced position when it comes to our president---a man raised up by God for such a time as this but a deeply flawed man at that… for each of you reading this book from a different perspective… I do hope that you’ll gain insight into how evangelicals think and why we do what we do. Perhaps all of us can actually sit down across the table… and have civil interaction in the midst of our differences? Perhaps we can even work together for the common good?”
He says in the Introduction, “Eighty percent of white evangelical voters reportedly voted for Donald Trump. And they are among his staunchest supporters today… How is it that the same evangelicals who rejected Bill Clinton in the strongest possible terms---in particular because of his sexual immorality---become some of the greatest supporters of Donald Trump, a thrice-married, self-confessed adultery? How is it that the same people who once shouted ‘Character matters’ now proclaimed, ‘We’re voting for a president, not a pastor’? Did these evangelicals… compromise their convictions to gain a seat at the table? Did they prove themselves to be shameless hypocrites? Or did these Bible-quoting… Christians sense that God had a purpose in raising up Trump?” (Pg. 16)
He continues, “I voted for Donald Trump, hoping that he would keep his promises. My wife, Nancy, also voted for him, but… fearing that he would be a deeply divisive figure, that he … would degrade our national character. In my opinion, in the first two years of his presidency, he has lived up to my highest expectations and confirmed Nancy’s greatest fears. Donald Trump has, indeed, been a divine wrecking ball… At the same time, President Trump has deepened the national divide, often unnecessarily so. His derogatory and inflammatory tweets… are not just ‘unpresidential.’ They are nasty. They are ugly. And they are immature. He also hurts his cause by often playing fast and loose with the truth… I understand that many Americans are so fed up with politics that they are glad to see Trump being ‘unpresidential.’ … But does the President of the United States need to call a former employee a ‘dog’? Does he need to label a TV commentator ‘psycho’? Does this advance his cause or unite Americans around his agenda?” (Pg. 18-19)
He acknowledges, “I do recognize that our failure to criticize the president, our failure to distance ourselves from his worst words and actions, our failure to be nuanced in our support of him has damaged our witness in the eyes of many… We have definitely gotten off track. In many ways, we are just as politicized as those on the left… Is this how we function as salt and light?” (Pg. 21) He adds, “Here are three essential points. First… the allegiance we have to Jesus must be infinitely greater than the allegiance we have to the president…. Second, tens of millions of babies have been slaughtered since 1973 and Donald Trump will do far more to stop that slaughter than Hillary Clinton… Third, the media and public opinion cannot dictate our responses. When the president deserves praise, he should get it… when he deserves respectful criticism, he should get it.” (Pg. 21)
Brown then reprints letters, articles, and essays he wrote during the 2015-2016 primaries, after Trump’s nomination, and since the election. He moves from saying in November 2015: “Should evangelical Christians support Donald Trump as the Republican candidate? I do not see how we can if the Word of God is to be our guide and if it’s important to us that a candidate have a solid moral compass…” to saying in November 2016, ‘I believe Trump has been elected president by divine intervention,” to saying in January 2018, “I can understand the outrage. We evangelicals didn’t give Bill Clinton a mulligan… And since we claim to be champions of marital fidelity and sexual purity, we could not have picked a worse poster boy for our cause---at least that is what we’re told… to the extent we have minimized Trump’s past transgressions or turned him into a modern-day saint, there is some truth to these allegations. We have lost our moral compass. But… We voted for Donald Trump with our eyes wide open and without compromising our faith.” (Pg. 277-278)
He admits Trump’s many inconsistencies, such as, “How do you trust the words of someone who one day says that Hillary did her job as Secretary of State ‘above and beyond everybody else and everything else’ and another day brands her the ‘worst Secretary of State in the history of the United States’?” (Pg. 37)
He points out, “We know that in the past [Trump] boasted about his numerous adulterous affairs and that he built the first casino in America with its own strip club, actually featuring 36,000 square feet of adult entertainment. Yet he sees no need to ask for forgiveness for these past acts … because he is ‘a very good person.’ This is the opposite of Christianity, which begins with a recognition of guilt and an open confession of our need for forgiveness… at no point in any interview … has he offered the slightest understanding of the heart of the gospel.” (Pg. 53) But he adds, “And evangelicals continue to flock to him. How do we explain this phenomenon?” (Pg. 80)
In October of 2016, he concludes, “what has convinced me that I should now vote for Donald Trump? First, I believe that he actually is serious about appointing pro-life, pro-Constitution Supreme Court justices… Second…. Trump is an absolute wrecking ball to the negative parts of the political system… so my vote for him is a protest vote. Third, I am voting for the Republican platform, not the Republican Party… Fourth… we are voting for the one most likely to defeat Hillary and make some good decisions for the nation, not be the savior… Fifth… the massive differences between Hillary and Trump… she a pro-abortion radical and an extreme supporter of the LGBT agenda, and he unashamedly speaking out against late-term abortions and wanting to appoint justices who would defend our essential liberties… Sixth… While I am not one of those claiming that Trump is a born-again Christian (I see absolutely no evidence of this), the fact that he continues to listen to godly men and open the door to their counsel indicates that something positive could possibly be going on… Seventh… the state of the church of America is much more important than the state of the White House…” (Pg. 118-119)
In February of 2017, he suggests, “Who would have imagine how dramatically and quickly [socialism] would collapse around the globe? … Today it is a wealthy, former-playboy, real estate tycoon and reality TV star who is shaking up the political scene and exposing the biases of the mainstream media. If this, then, is actually happening, why is it so hard to imagine that God will send a massive spiritual awakening to our nation? Why not?” (Pg. 176)
In July 2017, he observes, “[Trump] is far from a model Christian himself. But he is definitely a work in progress, he truly wants to be a champion of many good, Christian causes, and his door remains wide open to committed people of faith. Viewed from this perspective, he’s really not that much of an enigma after all.” (Pg. 228) He says of Trump’s adultery, and accusations from persons such as Stormy Daniels, “if all the allegations about his past prove true, that would not surprise me… we knew who we were voting for… Still, we do well to recognize that adultery and sexual indiscretions are not without consequences… [And] they can certainly hinder effectiveness.” (Pg. 296)
Whether one agrees with Dr. Brown’s current assessment of the President, or his previous assessments, this book will be of great interest to Evangelicals (as well as others!) struggling to come to grips with the man that is Donald Trump.