It now is apparent that Donald Trump was not citing his own notes during his recent visit to Liberty University, but rather was reading from cue notes given to him by Tony Perkins of Family Research Council, who suggested that he cite Scripture from 2 Corinthians to connect with the educational institution.
Some media outlets chuckled over Trump’s reference to “two Corinthians” rather than “second Corinthians” during his speech last Monday—an incident that others found to be minor and not necessary to nitpick.
“2 Corinthians 3:17, that’s the whole ballgame. Where the spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty,” he stated to the thousands gathered during the Liberty University convocation. “And here, there is liberty.”
“Is that the one? Is that the one you like?” he then asks, sounding awkward. “I think that’s the one you like because I loved it, and it’s so representative of what’s taking place.”
However, in an interview last week with CNN, it revealed another issue—that the Family Research Council was feeding Trump on how to speak to evangelicals.
“Tony Perkins wrote that out for me. He actually wrote out 2; he wrote out the number 2 Corinthians,” Trump told reporter Don Lemon on Wednesday. “I took exactly what Tony said, and I said, ‘Well, Tony has to know better than anybody.'”
He added that his mother, who is from Scotland, would have said “two” instead of “second,” so the matter was a “very small deal.”
Perkins acknowledged that he did provide help to Trump prior to his appearance.
“I’m guilty as charged. That’s exactly what I did. I sent him a couple of suggestions of some things he could talk about as a connection point,” he told CNN’s Erin Burnett, citing that one of the reasons he wanted to give Trump talking points was because the candidate was speaking at his alma mater. “I wrote the Scripture reference, which is 2 Corinthians 3:17, which is how it’s written.”
“It shows that he’s not familiar with Bible,” Perkins said. “Donald Trump’s a very interesting guy. There are some things about him that I find fascinating, that I like about him, as well as other evangelicals.”
He told the outlet that he hasn’t yet endorsed any particular candidate.
As previously reported, Liberty University President Jerry Falwell, Jr. praised Trump during his ten-minute introduction, suggesting that his life comports with Christianity because of his generosity.
“Matthew 7:16 tells us that ‘By your fruits you shall know them.’ Donald Trump’s life has borne fruit,” Falwell said. “Fruit that has provided jobs to multitudes of people, in addition to the many he has helped with his generosity.”
“In my opinion, Mr. Trump lives a life of loving and helping others as Jesus taught in the Great Commandment,” he declared.
Falwell made similar comments last Monday evening to Fox talk show host Sean Hannity.
“He may not be a theological expert and he might say two Corinthians instead of second Corinthians, but when you look at the fruits of his life and all the people he’s provided jobs, I think that’s the true test of somebody’s Christianity not whether or not they use the right theological terms,” he contended.
Others have stated that generosity alone is not the defining mark of a Christian as even the unconverted support humanitarianism and good deeds.