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Donald Trump's 'conversion'

The other day James Dobson raised eyebrows all over America with the news that Donald Trump had been converted to Christianity, calling him a "baby Christian." But now he's backpedaling. It seems that he's simply passing on what he's heard.

Fair enough. I and every blogger and journalist in the world pass on things we've heard from credible sources but can't verify by way of personal knowledge. We all do it in everyday life. Sometimes it's gossip. Sometimes it's slander. Sometimes it's just sharing information about matters of legitimate mutual concern. Sometimes it's surprise and disbelief about things we have trouble crediting. Sometimes it's just making conversation with no intention to demean or flatter anybody. And sometimes it's joy about something we've heard about Sometimes the happiness simply spills over into our conversation without our being able to help it.

But when we're talking about public figures who publicly brag about their adulteries and at the same time insist that they don't ask God for forgiveness because when they do something wrong "God doesn't come into it," a little skepticism- not necessarily cynicism, mind you, but skepticism- is in order. Even the Apostles were skeptical when they first heard that Saul of Tarsus had been converted. And when you're talking about a presidential candidate whose penchant for deceit and manipulation and blatant hypocrisy is legend suddenly becoming a Christian in the middle of a campaign, a little skepticism- again, not cynicism- might be even more appropriate than usual.

Dr. Dobson is right. We cannot look into another person's heart. But when one has publicly gloried in his sins as Trump has, it seems reasonable to expect some acknowledgment from him he's changed his mind. before we believe it. The Greek word the New Testament uses for repentance- metanoia- literally means that: "to change one's mind." This is one case in which one of The Donald's habitual public reversals of his previous position might not be out of order!

If he can do it for abortion, single-payer government sponsored health care, amnesty for illegal immigrants, and practically every other issue including what a great president Hillary Clinton would make, surely he can do it for adultery!

When Trump himself says that he needs God's forgiveness for the things he has publicly bragged about and has asked for it, I will believe that he has done just that- and received it. End of story. Case closed. Discussion concluded. I doubtless will continue to object to his candidacy on other grounds, but I will not continue to regard him as a pagan trying to manipulate Christians with his somewhat embarrassing talk about the Bible. If he says that he has repented and become a believer, precisely because one cannot look into another's heart neither I nor any other Christian will have any choice but to take him at his word.

We all do and say things we regret later. In fact, the essence of the Faith is the belief that we do it every day, and live by the forgiveness Christ won for us rather than by merit. But it would be nice to hear it from him that he regrets the sins he, like the rest of us, commits  before we assume that such is the case, especially since he's publicly denied the importance of repentance before God and forgiveness from Him.   Even the Twelve didn't believe the news about Paul's conversion because they heard about it second hand.


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