Who needs spir­i­tual ad­vis­ers?

Baltimore Sun - - COMMENTARY - By Cal Thomas

As far as I can tell from a read­ing of his­tory, while some pres­i­dents were friends of clergy, who some­times ad­vised them, to my knowl­edge, none hired them as staff mem­bers un­til the pres­i­dency of Richard Nixon. It was dur­ing Nixon’s ad­min­is­tra­tion that Charles Col­son be­gan mo­bi­liz­ing the evan­gel­i­cal com­mu­nity to sup­port the pres­i­dent’s poli­cies and pro­grams, see­ing evan­gel­i­cals as just an­other spe­cial in­ter­est group, like or­ga­nized la­bor has been for Democrats.

Af­ter his con­ver­sion and af­ter serv­ing time in prison for crimes re­lated to the Water­gate scan­dal, Col­son told his­to­rian Kevin Kruse, as re­counted in The Wash­ing­ton Post, “Sure, we used the prayer break­fasts and church ser­vices and all that for po­lit­i­cal ends. One of my jobs in the White House was to ro­mance re­li­gious lead­ers. We would bring them into the White House, and they would be daz­zled by the aura of the Oval Of­fice, and I found them to be about the most pli­able of any of the spe­cial in­ter­est groups that we worked with.”

The lat­est spir­i­tual ad­viser to the pres­i­dent is TV evan­ge­list Paula White-Cain. For 18 years she has claimed to have Pres­i­dent Trump’s ear on re­li­gious mat­ters, but while his poli­cies closely align with evan­gel­i­cal con­cerns, there is lit­tle ev­i­dence her “ad­vice” has had any ef­fect on his per­sonal be­hav­ior.

Ms. White-Cain is un­likely to serve the role Nathan the prophet filled when he con­fronted King David over his adul­ter­ous af­fair with Bathsheba, bring­ing David to re­pen­tance and one of the great state­ments about plac­ing faith in po­lit­i­cal lead­ers: “Put not your trust in princes … in whom there is no help.” (Psalm 146:3)

In an in­ter­view with Shan­non Bream on Fox News Mon­day night, Ms. White-Cain re­sponded to crit­ics who call her a heretic by say­ing she aligns her­self with ortho­dox bib­li­cal teach­ings. She de­nied she preaches a “you give to get” pros­per­ity gospel, but videos of her preach­ing re­veal oth­er­wise. In ad­di­tion, hers is a mar­riage be­tween the state — at least a state headed by Mr. Trump — and a king­dom Je­sus said is “not of this world.”

Here are some di­rect quotes from videos read­ily at­tain­able on­line from her preach­ing and TV ap­pear­ances. Judge for your­self.

“Wher­ever I go, God rules. When I walk on White House grounds, God walks on White House grounds. I have ev­ery right and au­thor­ity to de­clare the White House holy ground, be­cause I was stand­ing there and where I stand is holy.”

Then there’s a line some might con­sider idol­a­trous: “To say no to Pres­i­dent Trump would be say­ing no to God.”

As for not preach­ing a pros­per­ity gospel, Ms. White-Cain has said: “there is a de­part­ment of trea­sury in Heaven, which says God is watch­ing over every­thing you do and you are stor­ing up eter­nal trea­sure that will go so far be­yond what we can even imag­ine … you need to send in $3,500; you need to send in $35,000; you need to send in that $100,000 check.” She claimed if you don’t send the money, your “dream will die; your call will die.” That sounds to me like a spir­i­tual quid pro quo.

Ms. White-Cain has owned a pri­vate jet (Je­sus rode into Jerusalem on a don­key and walked most places), a $2.6 mil­lion home and a $3.5 mil­lion condo in Trump Tower. The Son of Man, Scrip­ture says, had no place to lay his head.

Ms. White-Cain is cor­rect on some is­sues of con­cern to evan­gel­i­cals, from Mr. Trump’s nam­ing of con­ser­va­tive Supreme Court and lower court judges, to re­li­gious free­dom mat­ters, but her seem­ing wor­ship of Pres­i­dent Trump far ex­ceeds bib­li­cal norms and her pros­per­ity gospel, which is no gospel at all, fits the def­i­ni­tion of heresy: “Opin­ion or doc­trine at vari­ance with the ortho­dox or ac­cepted doc­trine, es­pe­cially of a church or re­li­gious sys­tem.”

The great dan­ger for the im­age and what should be the first pri­or­ity of those who are part of the evan­gel­i­cal com­mu­nity is that they will be seen as wor­ship­ing a lesser and even false god than the one they are sup­posed to be wor­ship­ing and serv­ing.

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