NEW YORK — James Dobson, the founder of the renown Colorado-based organization Focus on the Family, asserted this week after gathering with nearly 1,000 evangelical leaders to listen to Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump that he believes Trump is a “baby Christian” who needs to be “cut some slack.”
Dobson was interviewed by Michael Anthony of GodFactor.com, who likewise attended the event held at the Marriott Marquis in Manhattan. Dobson characterized the gathering as “historic” among Christians, and shared his belief that Trump is himself a Christian.
“There are a lot of people ministering to him personally—a lot of ministers,” he stated in the recorded interview. “I mean, he did accept a relationship with Christ. I know the person who led him to Christ, and that’s fairly recent. I don’t know when it was, but it has not been long.”
“I believe he really made a commitment, but he’s a baby Christian,” Dobson contended. “We all need to be praying for him, especially if there is a possibility of him being our next chief executive officer.”
He said that he believes Trump is open to hearing about the things of God, but that he really doesn’t understand Christianity at the present.
“He doesn’t know our language. We had 40 Christians together with him [and] he used the word ‘Hell’ four or five times. He doesn’t know our language. He really doesn’t,” Dobson said. “He refers a lot to religion and not much to belief and faith in Christ.”
Interviewer Michael Anthony then interjected that the Saul “probably didn’t know much of the language either” when he converted and became Paul.
“Well, you’ve got to cut him some slack,” Dobson replied. “He didn’t grow up like we did.”
But some have expressed concern over Dobson’s assertion, noting that when one is truly born again, although still needing sanctification, they will show definite signs of repentance and change.
“Those who are new Christians will often make mistakes, but I don’t know a single person who truly received Christ and that in-filling of the Holy Spirit, who didn’t show some immediate change, even if small,” writes Susan Wright for RedState.
She pointed to 1 John 1:6 and 1 John 3:9—the first of which reads, “If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth”—and noted that she hasn’t seen any fruit of conversion from Trump.
“So what are our signs that Donald Trump has had a true conversion experience?” Wright asked. “Has he gone to all those he’s attacked on the campaign trail and apologized for the slander? Will he settle the fraud case hanging over his head? Will he stop dropping the ‘f-bomb’ at rallies, encouraging violence against protesters, or making everything about how much money he has?”
She said that it is very damaging to the cause of Christ when the watching world observes Christians pronounce someone as saved when they have not truly been regenerated.
“I cannot overstate the danger of Trump’s position now, with those who are known leaders in the faith community, such as Dr. Dobson, willing to vouch for his relationship with God, when there has been no outward evidence of such,” Wright stated. “The world that is watching and hearing that he is Christian will judge Christianity by what he does and our faith leaders will be seen as promoting it.”
“The Great Commission requires for Christians to preach the gospel and win souls for Christ. If those who claim the name look no different than the world, what is there to draw others out of the world and into the family of God?” she asked.
As previously reported, just last week, many expressed concern when Jerry Falwell Jr., who has repeatedly sought to convince the public that Trump is a Christian, posed for a photograph with Trump adjacent to a Playboy cover that was displayed prominently on the candidate’s wall.
“Playboy? Seriously? The world already looks at Christian hypocrisy; this won’t help,” one of the many commenters wrote under Falwell’s Twitter post.
Earlier this year, Dr. Everett Piper of Oklahoma Wesleyan University told reporters that unlike Falwell, he would not invite Trump to address students at his school as he only welcomes speakers “who do not stand in opposition, either in word or deed, to what we claim to hold dear as a Christian community.”
“Anyone who calls women ‘pigs,’ ‘ugly,’ ‘fat’ and ‘pieces of [expletive]’ is not on my side,” Piper said. “Anyone who has been on the cover of Playboy and proud of it, who brags of his sexual history with multiple women and who owns strip clubs in his casinos is not on my side.”
“Anyone who believes the government can wrest control of the definition of marriage from the church is not on my side,” he continued. “Anyone who ignores the separation of powers and boasts of making the executive branch even more imperial is not on my side.”
“I refuse to let my desire to win ‘trump’ my moral compass,” Piper declared. “I will not sell my soul or my university’s to a political process that values victory more than virtue.”