Dallas area pastor reiterates support for Trump

by Joni B. Hannigan, Editorial Staff |
Reuters/Eric Thayer

DALLAS (Christian Examiner) – In a direct two-page letter posted to social media, Jack Graham, pastor of Prestonwood Baptist Church in Metropolitan Dallas, said the "bright, bold Christian leaders who care deeply about the glory of God and our nation," have spoken "frankly and freely" to Trump and have posed questions to him relative to his character.

Jack N. Graham

Graham, also a former president of the Southern Baptist Convention, in his document, "Donald Trump and Spiritual Counsel," also wrote that recent questions to Trump escalated with the release of an 11-year-old video in which Trump uses sexually explicit terms to describe his intent towards women.

The questions, apparently, and conversations have taken place in private, Graham indicated.

In affirming an earlier announcement he will vote for the candidate, but not "endorse his behavior," Graham outlined a rationale for his decision.

The complete document reads:

For the past five months I, along with 24 others, have been a part of Donald Trump's Religious Advisory Council. Our responsibility is to offer prayer, spiritual support, and pastoral counsel to Mr. Trump and his team. There has never been an expectation of endorsement nor were we asked to campaign for the candidate. No one sought the role, but were invited and encouraged to speak frankly and freely.

We are not making group statements or sending press releases. We are not judges; we are counselors. Our group is made up of bright, bold, Christian leaders who care deeply about the glory of God and our nation. This has been a private conversation with Mr. Trump, members of the Trump team, and of course, one another.

I can tell you from my perspective, we have been given generous access to Mr. Trump and vice presidential nominee Mike Pence. In fact, I have been amazed as to how much freedom the council has been offered and the willingness of Mr. Trump to listen. Every one of us has shared our faith in Christ and has sought to be His witnesses (Acts 1:8).

From the beginning, there have been questions relative to Mr. Trump's character and his qualifications for the United States presidency. These questions escalated with the release of the now very public video of Mr. Trump's language and lifestyle 11 years ago.

I, along with every member of the council, have expressed outrage at such vile language and disgraceful views toward women. There is no defense for this very sinful and immoral behavior.

This has been clearly communicated to Mr. Trump himself, who has apologized to his family, friends and to the American people. Is he a better man today? I am hopeful and prayerful.

The question has been raised, is Donald Trump repentant? We are often asked, "Is Donald Trump a Christian?" And of course, "Should he be president?"

Every week on multiple occasions I preach God's Word and offer advice to people seeking help or guidance. It is a daunting task. People's lives and souls are in the balance. But I offer my best because this is a calling I have from the Lord. Do people always do what I say? You of course know the answer to that! Does everyone accept Christ? Sadly, no.

But I keep preaching and sharing my faith because I've never been responsible for the results. It is with that same intent I gratefully serve on Donald Trump's advisory group. We offer counsel and a faithful witness and leave the results to Mr. Trump. I know for a fact that the Gospel has been shared with Mr. Trump. He has been confronted with his sin. He has heard God's truth and has been offered grace and forgiveness.

Our mission as spiritual advisors is to deliver the message. Without question, that message has been faithfully delivered. Several members of our group speak into Mr. Trump's life weekly, if not daily.

As far as qualifications to serve our country as president, that is a decision voters will make November 8. I have written previously as to why I can vote for Donald Trump without endorsing his behavior.

The addition of Evangelical Christian Mike Pence to the ticket, the pledge to nominate pro-life judges to the Supreme Court of the United States, the promise to defund Planned Parenthood, defend the sanctity of life, support Israel, defend the United States against terrorism, protect our religious freedoms, include all Americans in the prosperity of our country, and much more, are the reasons I will vote for Donald Trump. I also believe it is a bad decision to sit out the election or write in a meaningless candidate.

Elections are divisive by nature but necessary if we are to keep our freedoms. Voting is a right and a responsibility. Elections matter. Certainly, this one does. The choice our country makes between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton will set the course of our nation for a generation and beyond.

For me, it has always been about the issues—not Donald Trump's past, but America's future. Every person should vote his or her convictions and vote for what is best for our country. In my view, the choice for Evangelical Bible-believing Christians could not be clearer.

With Donald Trump and Mike Pence, Christians have an opportunity to influence our government and practice our religious freedoms. I will continue to pray that we will reverse from our current spiritual decline as a nation by seeking God and repenting of our own sins and finding the hope and healing we need that only comes from the Lord Jesus Christ.

The other 23 members of Trump's Christian Advisory Council as noted on the Trump campaign website are:

Michele Bachmann - Former Congresswoman

A.R. Bernard - Senior Pastor and CEO, Christian Cultural Center

Mark Burns - Pastor, Harvest Praise and Worship Center

Tim Clinton - President, American Association of Christian Counselors

Kenneth and Gloria Copeland - Founders, Kenneth Copeland Ministries

James Dobson - Author, Psychologist and Host, My Family Talk

Jerry Falwell, Jr. - President, Liberty University

Ronnie Floyd - Senior Pastor, Cross Church

Jentezen Franklin - Senior Pastor, Free Chapel

Jack Graham - Senior Pastor, Prestonwood Baptist Church

Harry Jackson - Senior Pastor, Hope Christian Church

Robert Jeffress - Senior Pastor, First Baptist Church of Dallas

David Jeremiah - Senior Pastor, Shadow Mountain Community Church

Richard Land – President, Southern Evangelical Seminary

James MacDonald – Founder and Senior Pastor, Harvest Bible Chapel

Johnnie Moore - Author, President of The KAIROS Company

Robert Morris - Senior Pastor, Gateway Church

Tom Mullins – Senior Pastor, Christ Fellowship­

Ralph Reed - Founder, Faith and Freedom Coalition

James Robison - Founder, Life OUTREACH International

Tony Suarez - Executive Vice President, National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference

Jay Strack - President, Student Leadership University

Paula White - Senior Pastor, New Destiny Christian Center

Tom Winters - Attorney, Winters and King, Inc.

Sealy Yates – Attorney, Yates and Yates