Now the presumptive Republican presidential nominee reportedly can add "born-again Christian" to that list, too, according to one of the members of Trump's newevangelical advisory board.
Trump recently accepted a relationship with Jesus Christ as his Savior, making him a "baby Christian," Focus on the Family founder James Dobson said in an interviewposted Friday (June 24) to Michael Anthony's website, Godfactor. Dobson and Anthony, pastor of Grace Fellowship in York, Pa., spoke after the candidate's meetingTuesday in New York City with nearly 1,000 evangelicals.
"He did accept a relationship with Christ. I know the person who led him to Christ, and that's fairly recent. ... I believe he really made a commitment, but he's a baby Christian," Dobson said.
That's why Trump "doesn't know our language," he said, noting Trump spoke during the meeting about "religion," but not "faith" and "belief." Other words the candidate never used, according to transcripts: "Jesus," "pray," "Christ" and "Bible."
"You gotta cut him some slack. He didn't grow up like we did," Dobson said.
Anthony responded with an allusion to the original "Damascus Road" conversion in the New Testament book of Acts. The Apostle Paul, then called Saul, had violently persecuted Christians before he encountered Jesus along the road to Damascus.
"I'm sure Saul when he became Paul didn't know much of the language either," Anthony said.
Other Christians have responded on social media to the news of Trump's reported come-to-Jesus moment with somewhat less enthusiasm.
Denny Burk: "If true, we'd rejoice w/arms open. But if "baby Xtian" means "Xtian with no fruit," how does this change anything?"
Erick Erickson: "No coincidence that evangelicals who embraced Trump less than a week ago now claim Trump recently found Jesus. Speaks volumes."
Rachel Held Evans: "Oh give me a break. Donald Trump hasn't been born again. The Religious Right has simply sold out. James 2, folks."
And Evans again: "What must I do to inherit eternal life? Become the Republican nominee for president, apparently."
And in a blog post about Dobson's statement, John Fea, chair of the history department at Messiah College in Grantham, Pa., called Trump's meeting with evangelicals "the theo-political equivalent of money laundering."
"Dobson and his gang are making Trump clean so that he is worthy of evangelical votes," Fea said.
© 2016 Religion News Service. All rights reserved.
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