Donald Trump’s words are reprehensible. The conduct they represent is abhorrent. We condemn it in the strongest terms.
Yet again, America is talking about horrific comments made by Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump about women. In this instance, Trump—in a video from 2005—speaks of an attempted affair on his part, his ability to manhandle women, and his utter disdain for traditional morality. I will not quote Trump here because of profanity, but the audio is of the sort that leaves decent people speechless.
But as Christian men, we cannot be speechless. We have to speak. Our message is this: Donald Trump’s words are reprehensible. The conduct they represent is abhorrent. We condemn it in the strongest terms. We are men of Christ, after all. Jesus never abuses women. He does not manhandle his bride. He lays down his life for her (Ephesians 5:22-33). He literally dies in order to protect her, to love her, to bless her. (I have made some version of this case against Trump here, and here, and here.)
This posture first speaks to the character of a Christian husband. Ephesians 5 does not merely regulate a man’s behavior in the eleventh hour of a tough marital decision. Paul’s call to husbands to be a Christlike head of one wife speaks to an all-of-life reality. At every moment of every day of his married life, a man of God thinks to himself, “How can I lay my life down for this woman? How can I bless her? How can I lead her well?” This is his mission. This is his joy. This is what headship looks like.
The traits of Christlike leadership do not emerge only when a man gets a ring on his finger, though. As discussed in my book The Grand Design, every Christian man trains his sons in the shadow of Christ. He doesn’t know if they’ll get to win a woman’s heart or not. But he knows that he has a God-given responsibility to train his boys in the imprint of Ephesians 5 (and Colossians 3, and 1 Peter 3). He is constantly preparing them to bless women, treasure them, treat them like sisters with all purity, and if necessary, gladly put themselves in harm’s way to protect them.
The world may not like this vision of manhood; it may snicker at this traditionalist Dad, training his boys to be knights in some vanquished kingdom. But the man of God pays the world no mind. He has sons to raise. He has Jesus to communicate. He has leadership to cultivate. He may not be perfect, but by the grace of God, he will see this through.
Christian men do not prey on women—any woman. Christian men reverence women—all women. We do not always live up to our charge, sadly. But we are those men who have sworn an oath to God to bless and not curse women. We cannot gratify our lusts. We cannot grope women. We do not walk up to them and smash our lips against theirs. If any man tried to do this to women we know, we would act to stop such an assault. Our faces are set like flint against the reign of destruction that Satan seeks to exercise over women. We’ve seen a better vision. We know that the sexual ethics created by the gospel of grace bring only joy and flourishing, as Jonathan Parnell and I have written.
Earlier, I mentioned how a godly man trains his sons. But here is the flip-side: a man of Christ treats his little girls as precious. He protects them. He listens to their stories. He wipes away their tears. He assures them at nighttime that there are no bees in the house (true story). He trains them, day by day, to know that they are inestimably beautiful to him. He is theirs. Until the day his strength leaves him, it is their strength. It is for them.
We see so little of this instinct in Trump. We see so much of the unrestrained natural man in him—the bragging, the targeting of women, the using of women, and quite forthrightly the abusing of women. We see what we could be outside of God’s transforming grace, and we marvel at God’s kindness to us. But we also boggle at how some Christians and conservatives still defend Donald Trump. Without telling anyone who to vote for, let me speak directly: his words are inexcusable. His conduct is reprehensible. He deserves no defense.
You know who does, though? The women he has victimized, bragged about, and abused.