Dan Popp
Montanism, legalism and Trumpism
By Dan Popp
October 22, 2016

God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son.... (Hebrews 1:1, 2a, NAS95)

If Donald Trump is the instrument of God, why are his supporters sounding more and more like heretics?

I refer specifically to the heresy of "Montanism." Montanus was a fellow in the 2nd century who, as a fresh convert (note that), built a following for himself based on "new prophecy." For the sake of this article it isn't necessary for us to agree whether the gift of prophecy is available to the church today; if it is, it seems to me that a specific word will either agree with Scripture, in which case it is superfluous, or it will contradict Scripture, in which case it should be rejected as garbage.

There can be no problem unless a supposed revelation is allowed to supersede Scripture. If the Bible remains the final authority, then these new pronouncements – no matter their origin – can't do us much harm. The trouble with Montanism is that it exalts personal revelation above the Bible.

Some of those who claim the name of Christ are now putting themselves in the seat of Montanus and his deluded disciples. They say that God is giving people prophetic words that support the Republican nominee for President. Hmm. Well, as I said, I'm easy about all that stuff – as long as the Word of God is the final arbiter.

But there's the rub. When someone shows them that, according to the Bible, Donald Trump isn't qualified to lead a Sunday School class, much less a nation, they begin to charge "legalism!"

This is sad because words really do mean things. Either these Trump supporters are ignorant of the definition of "legalism," or they're trying to deceive.

A legalist is a person who demands adherence to the Mosaic Law in order to be saved. Legalists insist that one must abstain from pork and from driving on Saturday, for example – or else no heaven for you! So there are two parts to legalism: the "keep the rules" part, and the "or else" part.

I don't see anyone on the anti-Trump side that remotely resembles that description. The charge of legalism is a very serious one (read the book of Galatians) and should not be flung carelessly at those who disagree with you about a particular political race.

Scriptural requirements for leadership are scriptural requirements, and it isn't "legalism" or any other kind of sin to point them out. If Mr. Trump is a "baby Christian," as those in his camp are fond of saying, then he is disqualified – on their testimony – according to 1 Timothy 3:6.

If you believe that your fresh prophecy invalidates some or all of the New Testament, then you're in danger of falling into the error of Montanism, and I beg you to run from it.

It is remarkable, isn't it, how strident and desperate the pro-Trump Christians have become? With every new essay they use harsher language to condemn their brothers and sisters who hold a different opinion about the best way to honor God in this civil matter. Their pitch gets higher and more strained. Their accusations become more barbed. The biblical admonition to allow others freedom of conscience in gray areas is disregarded.

Meanwhile, speaking for myself, I find it strangely relaxing to realize that neither Hillary nor Donald is acceptable. We do have other options. This is where the peace is, and I invite everyone to enjoy it. God is in charge. We can rest in Him. Man is nothing. If it takes a special champion, a "messiah," to preserve the republic, then the republic is already gone.

If you can defend your choice on biblical principles, please do. If you can't, your kitchen prophecy isn't going to persuade anyone except a Montanist.

© Dan Popp


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
(See RenewAmerica's publishing standards.)


Stephen Stone
HAPPY EASTER: A message to all who love our country and want to help save it

Stephen Stone
The most egregious lies Evan McMullin and the media have told about Sen. Mike Lee

Siena Hoefling
Protect the Children: Update with VIDEO

Stephen Stone
FLASHBACK to 2020: Dems' fake claim that Trump and Utah congressional hopeful Burgess Owens want 'renewed nuclear testing' blows up when examined

Curtis Dahlgren
Hammer & Tickle: A cultural history of Communism by Ben Lewis, 2009

Jerry Newcombe
The Bible and public policy

Frank Louis
Frank’s fair trade theory: Replacement theory for everyone

Pete Riehm
When the government is lawless, the people turn to an outlaw

Victor Sharpe
The left's lies: A warning for America's very survival

Michael Gaynor
Who Will Make the Finals and Win the Upcoming Presidential Race?

Stephen Stone
‘Teach Your Own’

James Lambert
Illegal alien entry through California border has dramatically increased of late

Rev. Mark H. Creech
‘No other gods before me’: The first commandment’s national significance

Linda Goudsmit
CHAPTER 23: Legalizing pedophilia—The Sorensen Report

Randy Engel
A Documentary: Opus Dei and the Knights of Columbus – The anatomy of a takeover bid, Part IX

Jerry Newcombe
A politically-incorrect prayer
  More columns


Click for full cartoon
More cartoons


Matt C. Abbott
Chris Adamo
Russ J. Alan
Bonnie Alba
Chuck Baldwin
Kevin J. Banet
J. Matt Barber
Fr. Tom Bartolomeo
. . .
[See more]

Sister sites