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Trump Draws Praise from Liberty University President, Criticism from other Christian Leaders

  • Veronica Neffinger

    Veronica Neffinger wrote her first poem at age seven and went on to study English in college, focusing on 18th century literature. When she is not listening to baseball games, enjoying the…

  • 2016 Jan 19

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump recently spoke at Christian school Liberty University and received mixed reviews from the Christian community.

Christianity Today reports that Liberty University President Jerry Falwell, Jr. praised Trump, stating, “In my opinion, Donald Trump lives a life of loving and helping others as Jesus taught in the Great Commandment.”

Falwell added that the Bible says “by your fruits you shall know them” and asserted that Trump’s life has borne fruit. In addition, Falwell told the audience gathered in the school’s Vines Center that Trump “reminds me so much of my father.”

Although polls show that Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio are gaining significant percentages of the evangelical vote, polls also show that many evangelicals favor Trump.

A Quinnipiac University poll reveals that 27 percent of “born again evangelicals” favor Trump, while 34 percent favor Cruz.

Some evangelicals, however, view Trump much less favorably.

Russell Moore, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, for example, posted tweets throughout Trump’s speech at Liberty, calling into question an evangelical university’s seeming support for a candidate who Moore believes does not show evidence of Christian faith.

“This would be hilarious if it weren't so counter to the mission of the gospel of Jesus Christ,” tweeted Moore, according to CNN Politics

The Independent Journal also reported on Moore’s disapproval of Trump’s speech and Falwell’s praise of the candidate.

Moore tweeted that Falwell’s statement that “In my opinion Donald Trump lives a life of loving and helping others as Jesus taught in the great commandment” was “absolutely unbelievable.”

Moore was not the only evangelical leader to criticize Trump. Others have noted Trump’s fumbling of a Scripture reference--calling 2 Corinthians 3:17 “Two Corinthians 3:17” during his speech at Liberty, according to ABC News.

Christian blogger Denny Burk added that he does not take issue with Liberty inviting and hosting a variety of speakers in order to encourage a well-rounded dialogue, but he does take issue with the Liberty seeming to treat speakers who show little evidence of Christian faith as Christians.

“There is, however, something deeply wrong about a Christian university hosting a person who shows little evidence of being a Christian and then treating him as if he were a Christian. That is what happened at Liberty University today, and that is the main thing that was wrong,” stated Burk. 

Photo courtesy: Wikimedia Commons

Publication date: January 19, 2016