|From the TeachingtheWord Bible Knowledgebase|
December 26, 2019 - As the effort to impeach U. S. President Donald Trump has accelerated, self-described Evangelicals and religious leaders of various stripes have said some of the most un-Biblical things imaginable about his legitimacy in the office. Some are claiming that his presidency is contrary to God's eternal plan. But Scripture shows us that the opposite is true. God often raises up sinful leaders for His purposes. The question is: What must Christians do in response?
Rick Perry: He Is God's Choice
In a November 25 article, USA Today reported that Energy Secretary Rick Perry, who is a member of an evangelical church in Texas,
said in an interview that he told President Donald Trump that he was God's "chosen one" to lead the United States, just as he chose the kings to lead Israel in the Old Testament.
Perry, who will reportedly soon be leaving the Cabinet, explained that nothing in the universe is accidental and that God "is still very active in the details of the day-to-day lives of government."
"Barack Obama didn't get to be the president of the United States without being ordained by God. Neither did Donald Trump," he said in a Fox News interview that aired Sunday, adding that God has used "individuals who aren't perfect all through history."
"King David wasn't perfect. Saul wasn't perfect. Solomon wasn't perfect. And I actually gave the president a little one-pager on those Old Testament kings about a month ago," Perry said.
"Donald Trump's not perfect," he said. But Perry believes the Christians in the president's Cabinet, such as himself, have "been able to make a difference in his life."
"And I hope I've been a bit of a minister, if you will, a person who's been able to share my faith with the president," Perry said.
The former Texas governor said he told Trump that some people "said you were the chosen one."
"And I said, 'You were.'"
"'You didn't get here without God's blessing,'" he said he told Trump, telling him to read the pamphlet on the Old Testament kings. "And I said, 'I just need you, I want you, to look at this. I want you to read it. I want you to, you know, absorb that you are here at this chosen time because God ordained it.'"
Perry said he also cautioned Trump, "'Don't get confused here, sir. This is not a reflection that you're perfect, but that God's using you. And he uses all of us that way.'"
Allan Cole: God Did Not Make Trump President
In response, Allan Hugh Cole Jr., a professor and senior associate dean for academic affairs in the Steve Hicks School of Social Work at The University of Texas at Austin, who holds a degree from Princeton Theological Seminary, wrote this:
Consider that Rick Perry, a recent energy secretary, confidently stated that Donald Trump's presidency was not merely the will of the people; God ordained it. He said the same about Barack Obama's administration because, as Perry said, he is a big believer that the God of our universe is still very active in the details of the day-to-day lives of government.
If this were true, one wonders why God ordains presidents but stops short of having them shore up needed resources for solving so many problems. Poverty, illness, pollution, food scarcity, and violence, among other challenges, come to mind. . . .
God did not make Trump president. People did. People who share his values and priorities. Let's stop the sanctimony and religious gymnastics. Let's recognize the difference between the sacred and the profane. 
Similar Statements During the Obama Years
This is not a new phenomenon. Throughout Barack Obama's two terms as president, self-described Evangelicals made similar un-Biblical assertions in letters to the editor, postings on numerous blogs, and even pronouncements from pulpits. Here is one example, from a World Net Daily commentary in 2008:
God did not elect Barack Hussein Obama president: the American people did...
God will not inaugurate Barack Hussein Obama...America will....
God IS in charge, all REAL authority does come from God, but NOT everything that happens in this world comports with God's long-term plans. Most often, the human race does all it can to stand in God's way and hinder God's perfect will for humankind.
The election of Barack Hussein Obama, in my opinion, is an obstacle to God's perfect plan, NOT part of His plan, and certainly NOT something he "pre-ordained." 
The writer of this letter concluded by repeating his assertion that, as he put it, "in my book" the election of Barack Obama was not God's will.
The events of the Obama years only increased this kind of rhetoric in some circles. Many were rightly alarmed by the anti-Christian positions he took, and his administration's targeting of Evangelical Christians for persecution and the teachings of the Bible for suppression.
Legitimate Concerns About Mr. Trump
Likewise, Christians who have any concern for Biblical truth at all are justifiably alarmed by President Trump's foul language, unrepented immoral behavior, and situational-ethics approach to life and politics. (And we could say the same about many men who preceded him.)
Those with eyes to see and ears to hear also understand that Mr. Trump's "Evangelical Executive Advisory Board" is an abomination. It mainly comprises people who have no genuine grasp at all of the Biblical evangel, such as "prosperity gospel" preachers Mark Burns, Kenneth and Gloria Copeland, and the thrice-married, twice divorced "pastor" Paula White; Tom Winters and Sealy Yates, the attorneys for prosperity preacher Joel Osteen; and James Robison, who along with the Copelands and others has met with the Pope of Rome as a "brother in Christ" to promote unity between evangelicals and Catholics.
America: An Anomaly in World History
But one would think, from the comments of many Evangelicals, that the years since 2008 are the first time in history that Christians have ever faced such things. We need to remind ourselves that the history of this world is the unfolding of the eternal plan of God. We need to remind ourselves of God's relationship to the rulers of this world, of the attitude that Jesus and the apostles instructed early Christians to have toward even the most cruel and ungodly rulers of their times, and of the pattern we find in much of subsequent church history.
The fact is, the enjoyment of such a high degree of religious freedom in North America over the past four hundred years is an anomaly in world history. There has never been another such long-term safe haven for Christians on this earth. The much more normal case has been for true believers to face opposition, persecution, and worse at the hands of civil authorities.
Have both cases been God's will? Is an ungodly ruler ordained of God? What really matters in answering those questions is not man's opinion - not how things are "in my book" as the writer cited above put it. What matters is how things are in God's Book - what His Word says is true.
The World's Rulers Are God's Direct Choices
And so, let us take up the things of which we need to remind ourselves. First of all, what does God's Word tell us about His relationship to the rulers of this world? Scripture makes it clear that no earthly ruler comes to power or remains in power apart from God's direct choosing:
I have made the earth, the man and the beast that are on the ground, by My great power and by My outstretched arm, and have given it to whom it seemed proper to Me. (Jeremiah 27:5)
For exaltation comes neither from the east nor from the west nor from the south. But God is the Judge: He puts down one, and exalts another. (Psalm 75:6-7)
And He changes the times and the seasons; He removes kings and raises up kings... (Daniel 2:21)
...the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, gives it to whomever He will, and sets over it the lowest of men. (Daniel 4:17)
...the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, and gives it to whomever He chooses. (Daniel 4:25 and 32)
He loosens the bonds of kings, and binds their waist with a belt. (Job 12:18)
Is it true, as the writer of the letter to the editor insisted, that human beings can "stand in God's way and hinder God's perfect will for humankind?" Absolutely not:
All the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing; He does according to His will in the army of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth. No one can restrain His hand or say to Him, "What have You done?" (Daniel 4:35)
[God] works all things according to the counsel of His will (Ephesians 1:11).
The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord. (Proverbs 16:33)
Who has directed the Spirit of the LORD, or as His counselor has taught Him? With whom did He take counsel, and who instructed Him, and taught Him in the path of justice? Who taught Him knowledge, and showed Him the way of understanding? Behold, the nations are as a drop in a bucket, and are counted as the small dust on the scales; look, He lifts up the isles as a very little thing. And Lebanon is not sufficient to burn, nor its beasts sufficient for a burnt offering. All nations before Him are as nothing, and they are counted by Him less than nothing and worthless.
Have you not known? Have you not heard? Has it not been told you from the beginning? Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth? It is He who sits above the circle of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers, who stretches out the heavens like a curtain, and spreads them out like a tent to dwell in.
He brings the princes to nothing; He makes the judges of the earth useless. Scarcely shall they be planted, scarcely shall they be sown, scarcely shall their stock take root in the earth, when He will also blow on them, and they will wither, and the whirlwind will take them away like stubble.
"To whom then will you liken Me, or to whom shall I be equal?" says the Holy One.
Lift up your eyes on high, and see who has created these things, who brings out their host by number; He calls them all by name, by the greatness of His might and the strength of His power; not one is missing.
Why do you say, O Jacob, and speak, O Israel: "My way is hidden from the LORD, and my just claim is passed over by my God"? Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, neither faints nor is weary. His understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might He increases strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall, but those who wait on the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint. (Isaiah 40:13-31)
"For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways," says the Lord. "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts. For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, and do not return there, but water the earth, and make it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me void [literally, fruitless], but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it." (Isaiah 55:8-11)
In short, if man could thwart God's perfect plan, then it would not be a perfect plan!
God's Plan Is Rarely "Perfect" to Human Eyes
Scripture shows us that God has raised up many rulers who, to put it mildly, did not honor Him. Men who literally shook their fists at the Lord of the universe. Men who led or participated in pagan worship that involved perversion and even human sacrifice. Men who sought to exterminate the people of God. Even so, God said this to a man such as Pharaoh of Egypt: "But indeed for this purpose I have raised you up, that I may show My power in you, and that My name may be declared in all the earth" (Exodus 9:16).
When Jesus told His disciples that He was going to Jerusalem to be put to death, His disciples tried to oppose Him, as we read in Matthew 16:21-23 -
From that time Jesus began to show to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day. Then Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, "Far be it from You, Lord; this shall not happen to You!" But He turned and said to Peter, "Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men."
God's perfect plan did not appear to be perfect to human eyes. But His ways are not our ways. As He was about to be led away to be crucified, the Lord of the universe declared to the governor Pontius Pilate, "You could have no power at all against Me unless it had been given you from above" (John 19:11).
Certainly, this nation has departed from God's Word, and has exalted evil men and evil practices to places of honor and prominence. For that reason, America stands under God's judgment. It should not surprise us that God would raise up evil leaders as a means of judgment. But let us not think for one moment that we understand all of God's reasons for choosing such a man to lead this nation. God's Word makes it clear that this development in our nation's history is but one of the innumerable details of His eternal plan. In the future consummation of all things, the universe will see and understand that even this has redounded to His eternal glory.
What Is Our Duty as Christians?
What, then, is our duty as Christians according to God's Word?
Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same. For he is God's minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God's minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil. Therefore you must be subject, not only because of wrath but also for conscience' sake. For because of this you also pay taxes, for they are God's ministers attending continually to this very thing. Render therefore to all their due: taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to whom customs, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor. (Romans 13:1-7)
Therefore submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake, whether to the king as supreme, or to governors, as to those who are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and for the praise of those who do good. For this is the will of God, that by doing good you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men - as free, yet not using liberty as a cloak for vice, but as bondservants of God. Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king. (1 Peter 2:13-17)
Your response may be, "Yes - but look at the kinds of rulers we have today!" Well, consider the kinds of rulers of which Paul and Peter were speaking when they wrote these words under divine inspiration.
History records that the Roman emperor Tiberius, who reigned during most of the life of Christ on earth (14 to 37 A. D.) was notoriously paranoid, cruel, and vengeful. Historical accounts include lurid tales of his sexual perversity, both private and public. Tiberius arrested and summarily executed many of his political opponents without the judicial trial stipulated by Roman law. In many of his dominions he appointed the most corrupt governors imaginable. It was under Tiberius that the public persona of the emperor shifted from that of a priest of the pagan gods to that of a god himself. But it was of this emperor that Jesus said, "Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's" (Mark 12:17).
Caligula, who ruled from 37 A.D. to 41 A.D., was notoriously cruel. He engaged in and publicly promoted adultery and all sorts of sexual perversion, including homosexuality and incest. Caligula was one of the major figures in the establishment of the worship of the emperor as a god. Although it did not come to pass, Caligula made plans to have a statue of himself erected at the temple in Jerusalem so that he could be worshipped there.
Caligula's successor Claudius (41-54 A.D.) was likewise a cruel man, promoted the cult of emperor deification, and opposed the attempts of Christians to win others to their faith as illegal "proselytizing."
The emperor Nero (54-68 A.D.) instituted a program of extensive persecution of Christians who refused to say that "Caesar is Lord," including torture and execution by the most horrible means. According to later Christian writers such as Eusebius (late third century) the apostles Paul and Peter were both executed during Nero's bloody reign.
Dear friends, these were the realities of New Testament times. The pattern is much the same throughout the lines of subsequent history, which pass through such events as the killing of thousands of Christians during the rise of Islam, hundreds of thousands who suffered and died under Roman Catholic inquisitions, and countless Bible-believers of the 20th century who suffered and died under Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Idi Amin, Pol Pot, and others.
Unlike their counterparts in other lands, American Christians "have not yet resisted unto bloodshed, striving against sin" (Hebrews 12:4). Unless the Lord is merciful, as our nation's present decline continues that day may come. But our constant duty as Christians under all kinds of rulers is to pray for our rulers, and give them the honor they are due. Even though the American constitutional republic is now only the disintegrating shell of that which the founders established, it is also the duty of American Christians to pray, work, and vote, whenever possible and as long as it is possible, for the election of those who honor God, and to pray that God in mercy would deliver us from the evil plans of evil rulers.
We are also to obey God rather than men when man's law clearly conflicts with God's Word (Acts 4:19, 5:29). It is, above all, our duty to obey the Word of God in every area of life and ministry. That is going to become increasingly difficult in the years ahead, but those who truly belong to Christ must never fail to do it. We must always keep in mind our true calling and destiny. As Paul told first-century believers who lived in the midst of the pagan cruelty of the Roman Empire:
Brethren, join in following my example, and note those who so walk, as you have us for a pattern. For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame - who set their mind on earthly things. For our citizenship is in Heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself. (Philippians 3:17-21)
1. "God's Used Imperfect People All Through History": Perry Shares Why He Thinks Trump is the "Chosen One" - USA Today, November 25, 2019 as viewed at https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2019/11/25/rick-perry-trump-gods-chosen-one/4295185002/
2. "God Did Not Elect Trump, People Did", as viewed on 12/24/2019 at https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/opinion/god-did-not-elect-trump-people-did/ar-BBYj1YI
3. Tom Quigley, "God Did Not Elect Obama," letter to the editor of WorldNetDaily, http://www.worldnetdaily.com/, as viewed on 12/12/2008. Capitalization and punctuation are in the original.
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