James Robison Talks to Steve Strang About His New Book, God and Donald Trump
Editor’s Note: Stream founder James Robison talked with Charisma Magazine publisher and author Steve Strang about his new book God and Donald Trump. They discussed the miraculous events surrounding the 2016 election, Trump’s willingness to hear the truth and how God can use an imperfect person to do His will. Pray for the President for wisdom and guidance as he travels to Asia.
James Robison: You have written the book God and Donald Trump. And I shared with you because of the amount of time I’d spent with him and the amazing journey that the two of us had in our conversations and extensive time together.
Why did you feel so strongly that you had to write this book?
Steve Strang: First let me say, what you gave me when I interviewed you for the book added a great deal. This book is as much about God and God’s will for our country as it is about Donald Trump. I transcribed our interview and used most of it verbatim. It was very helpful to see your own odyssey about how you came to spend time with Donald Trump.
Here’s why I wrote the book. I was involved in the election in some ways. I interviewed Donald Trump. We devoted an entire issue of Charisma Magazine to the election. I flew up for the election night party. In fact, you called me on my cell phone not knowing where I was. You had just talked to the President-elect.
I wrote the book because I felt that when we had the discussion about what has been happening in our country, God is left out nearly everywhere except in Christian circles. Hillary Clinton wrote a book about the election called What Happened. My book God and Donald Trump answers that question. The answer is God intervened. Many Christians had been praying about the direction our country was going in. It was going further and further to the left, almost socialistic in some ways. And the moral decadence has been increasing. God raised up a man we did not expect, and maybe didn’t even like. Maybe we didn’t even want him, but God raised up a man to help shift our country. I believe that, in the year since he was elected, there has been a shift.
Robison: I think God was answering Christians’ prayers — who were serious about the will of God and His Kingdom, and about His will being right here right now. They took the commission of Christ to be salt and light seriously. They wanted to protect and preserve the precious. Everything from marriage, to gender, to the Ten Commandments, to any mention of the Creator — they are casting the Word of God aside and many are trampling it underfoot. Christians said, “This is not right. We are God’s people and we must pray.”
God heard their prayers and He didn’t answer the way we thought, many fine people and Christians I’ve known for basically my entire life that I had tremendous respect for were running. Donald Trump would not have been our choice. But he’s what we got.
This is what I hope every reader will understand: God gave us a man who is fearless and tireless. Who was fed up with political correctness and a manipulative, out of control media and a government masquerading as a new form of Caesar or Pharaoh. The people who didn’t want Caesar, who want God and depend on God not government, along with all of the common sense Americans — who were fed up with political correctness, fed up with an out of control government, fed up with politicians they can’t trust — they’re the ones who put President Trump in office. Evangelical Christians and people sensitive enough to hear what you and I began to hear — God can use this man.
When the other candidates like Ben Carson, Mike Huckabee and Rick Perry began to tell me, “This is the man strong enough to do what has to be done. He’s not concerned about his wealth. He knows he can get it again. He’s concerned about America. This man wants to do what is best for America.” I don’t think he is thinking about Donald Trump or his family, except that he loves them and wants them to have the same freedom he enjoys. I believe this man has lost himself in what is best for the American people. We still don’t always like the way he approaches things. Some of his tweets concern us. The past concerns us, but all of our pasts have to be dealt with by the grace and mercy of God. I really believe God was answering people’s prayers and I sense you bore witness to that.
Strang: Absolutely right. As I was writing the book, I was wanting to make that point. The book is really a record of the odyssey of what happened. I called you and some other Christian leaders and asked point blank: Do you see this as answered prayer? You said, “Absolutely, God answered our prayers!” And so did a number of the other leaders I talked with. I even titled Chapter 2 of the book “Answered Prayer.” That is really what happened. Secular people, lukewarm Christians, the leftists, they can’t see that at all. In fact they even attack us. We need to speak the truth in love but we need to say, “God has a plan and purpose. God is involved in the affairs of men.”
Remember the famous quote by Benjamin Franklin, who was no choir boy as we know, in the Constitutional Convention. He said, “God is involved in the affairs of men” as the Constitution was being written. We’ve lost that in our country. Not very many people in the public say that kind of thing anymore. Yet God answered our prayers that Donald Trump would be elected and Hillary Clinton would be defeated. It wasn’t just her leftist views. There are a number of other Democrats that might have gotten the nomination that would have been as far left as her, or even more so — such as Bernie Sanders. She brought a level of corruption the likes of which our country has never seen before. God spared us. A number of people in the book said that they feel that God has given us a reprieve. A window of opportunity to do something in our country and in our culture to turn this country back to God — which is how it all started with the founding fathers, based on Christian principles, as you well know.
Robison: I think people would wonder: Why would God want to reach out to a nation that has been so blessed, and yet has sinned against more light and more truth than perhaps any other nation all the way back to Israel? Why did Jesus offer to a city and to a people the shelter of God’s wings and covering, even though they rejected the prophets? He still invited them to come to that shelter and He could give them what He wanted — the life and freedom He offers. We don’t need to speculate about why God would do that for America. Maybe it’s because we were birthed by people who said, “We’re not going to worship Caesar.”
Remember in Acts 17, “These who turned the world upside down have now come here also.” What was their problem? They actually turned the world right side up because they proclaimed a king other than Caesar. They knew who the King of Kings was. This nation was born because our founders and the ones who birthed this nation wanted to break free from a monarchy and an over-reaching government. That is today why people with common sense (whether Christian or not) are sick and tired of Caesar. We’re sick and tired of being slaves to Pharaoh and Pharaoh promising to take care of everybody when they can’t even manage money. We are seeing a miracle opportunity today. Christians need to stop arguing among themselves and — we the people of God — get on our knees like the family of God. And talk to our Father and ask Him to pour wisdom all over this President and not let him be cut off from it.
One of the things Trump said to Paula White was, “When James talks to me he just starts preaching! Then he prays, and boy does he pray!” That’s what we must do — proclaim the Gospel! Franklin Graham is doing it every day on his Facebook. Right now we’ve got to say, “You just ask God to direct this man. God has used some unusual individuals to bless the people He loves.” I am positive God wants to bless America.
If you listen to the President say, “God bless America,” it’s not just a phrase. It sounds like a man praying for the people. Here’s what I am praying — I am asking everyone to join with us — I am asking God to so move in America that America once again blesses God and the people He loves all over the world. I know you feel that way.
Some of the crazy things he did — he had a reputation as a playboy, a billionaire, reality TV star. But about ten years ago, something happened. He got much more serious. He cleaned up his act.
Strang: Absolutely, I do. Earlier you mentioned Donald Trump’s tweets and certain things he does that we don’t approve of. I’ve raised my eyebrows at some of the tweets. In the period leading up to the inauguration, he was saying his phones were tapped by the government and everyone thought he was crazy. Well, it’s turning out again and again that some of these things that initially sounded crazy are actually true. He is having to fight the entire system, we call it the “deep state.”
Some of the crazy things he did — he had a reputation as a playboy, a billionaire, reality TV star. But about ten years ago, something happened. He got much more serious. He cleaned up his act. He started thinking about what he wanted to do with the rest of his life. About that time he called Paula White. I’ve known her for a long, long time and knew her back in that era. She told us that one day her secretary came in and said, “Donald Trump is on the line.” She thought, “Why in the world would he want to talk with me?” She took the call. He said, “Paula, I’ve been watching you on TV. I like you. Would you be willing to come to Trump Tower to talk to me?” She was willing to do that and a friendship developed. (I talk about all of this in the book.)
In 2012, when Donald Trump was thinking of running, he called Paula and said, “Paula, I need you to call together some of your preacher friends who know how to pray. I’m not going to ask them to endorse me. I’m going to ask them to pray if it’s God’s will for me to run.” That shows a lot about his character right there.
When he did run in 2016, he reconnected with Paula. She invited a lot of these same people. They were some of the Christians (mostly of the Pentecostal bent) who would meet with him and lay hands on him to pray for him. Someone would always take a video and it would be on YouTube. I watched some of those videos and transcribed some of the prayers by Paula White, Kenneth Copeland and so on.
When I saw them, I thought to myself, “I can’t imagine another politician allowing himself to be prayed for like that.” You’ve been around power much more than I have, but I have been around four presidents in different settings generally during the elections when they were trying to curry our votes. I can’t even remember a prayer being said let alone in the Pentecostal style of gathering around and everyone puts their hands on your back and prays. Donald Trump seemed to enjoy this. It happened not once, but many times. It also happened in public when he would speak at a church and leaders would come up and pray for him and Mike Pence. (There is actually a picture in the book of one of these settings.)
Robison: We believe that it’s important to speak words of life which is true prophecy. A prophet is one sent by God who is a truth teller. Sometimes they tell the future, but primarily they bring people to repentance and the redemptive purpose of God.
We don’t need to start judging the imperfections of others because all of us are perfected only in Christ. It is the finished work of Christ on the Cross that gave us the grace and the value and the Lamb who is worthy. None of us are worthy apart from His presence, His Spirit and power.
If Donald Trump was totally controlled by pride, he wouldn’t let certain groups pray for him or even be seen with him. Let’s quit talking about it. Let’s say, “Worthy is the Lamb! It’s all your grace, God. You’re the One who covers us and cleanses us and gives us new life. We all need it. Everyone in this country needs it. This is what I say when I’m with the President and say to every person. I proclaim the Gospel!
Here’s what I believe and I said it to you — I believe this man wants to know the will of God and He wants the will of God for the country and the people. That means the poor. He’s not trying to take care of the rich. Quit singling people out. Quit criticizing these people. They are not your enemy. Anytime you put a tax burden on anyone, that burden comes on all the people — especially the poor. We’ve got to get Caesar and Pharaoh off the backs of people. I believe this man wants to help do that.
What I hear you saying in your book is if we can hear God well enough to know, God can surprise us. Then let’s ask God to continue to accomplish His will by getting the truth that transforms to the President and to every leader in Washington, or let’s respond to every one of them who won’t respond to truth or casts aside the word of God and has many gods before them. If they don’t believe the Ten Commandments are important, let’s get them out of there. That’s what the church that is salt and light does. We protect and preserve the precious, we expose the error and evil and the damage it produces, and we illuminate the way to security and peace.
When I talked to you, that’s what I heard coming out of your heart. I believe Steve Strang wants the best for this country. I believe President Trump does too. Who reveals the best? God’s Word, God’s people, God’s wisdom. That’s what we pray for.
Strang: I agree with you 100 percent. A few days ago I was with Dr. James Dobson (the radio program will air in a couple of weeks). He wanted to know why it was that the charismatics seemed to rally around Donald Trump early, when some of the more mainline evangelicals were backing Cruz or Huckabee. At first I thought, I don’t know. Then quickly I realized — first of all they were invited to come and pray with him. He was open to them. He’s not the brash person you see in the media. He’s very gentle and kind. That was my impression when I interviewed him. I was surprised and I found other people showed that he is humble. There are some things he has said that show his humility like during the Republican Convention when he was accepting the nomination he talked about how the evangelicals had backed him. In the election evangelicals backed him 82%. At that point the points showed good support. He goes off script and says, “And I don’t even know if I deserve their support” which I think shows humility.
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Another time in one of these meetings with pastors and leaders he said to them, “While I was off making money, you were pursuing a higher calling.” That shows that he respects Christian leadership, clergy if you will. He was raised a Presbyterian. His mother was very strict Presbyterian and he was raised in the church. He attended Norman Vincent Peale’s church as a young adult.
He barely knows the difference between a charismatic and a non-charismatic evangelical. He doesn’t care about all that stuff. He is a little bit naïve in an innocent kind of way, and I think he is appreciating the support. While so many people are trashing him and some people who supported him will change their mind because of some policy, the Christians have mostly stood 100 percent behind him praying for him, praying for God’s wisdom and praying God can make good come out of even the bad things that happen.
Thank you, James, for being available to be his friend, travelling with him and praying with him. Also not just being around him, but speaking truth. It’s kind of significant he even repeated that to Paula that you would be straight with him.
Robison: Mike Huckabee and Ben Carson are the ones who told me he would listen. Ben said, “If I endorse, I want you to listen to someone really strong like James.” Since he’s been President, I’ve spoken so forcefully about the necessity of hearing and heeding wisdom. We as Christians have to have good judgment, but not pass judgment on what is in a man’s heart.
It’s amazing what God did with some people who had missed the mark and failed miserably throughout the Old Testament and the New. No one failed worse than Simon Peter denying Jesus three times in His time of greatest need and fell asleep, but he then preached the message at Pentecost. We’ve got to realize God takes even Saul of Tarsus who said even as an apostle he was the “chief among sinners” and the least of the apostles.
We pray President Trump will realize the strength, help and direction that will cure our ills — everything that meets our challenges comes from God. I hear you calling the church together. I love all the various members and parts of the body. I’ve sought to build unity without ever compromising God’s Word. I pray as people read the book they will see God uses so many different types of people in the body. It’s amazing that He uses the two of us. In some ways you and I would be considered shy. Nobody can believe what happened to this shy kid. You’ve got an entrepreneurial mind. Who would have thought you would take that to build one of the largest Christian magazines in the world.
Your book can help get our nation back to the solid, unshakable foundation of the Word of God and what Jesus says. That doesn’t mean we go around quoting Bible verses to everybody in the nation all the time. That’s not what we are calling for. There will never be a Christian theocracy. There is a secular progressive theocracy right now where the enemy is forcing his way on us. Just as Pharaoh made people prisoners and now people in America are saying, “Enough is enough!” the church needs to stand and say, “Enough is enough” too! (The federal government has become Pharaoh in our day.)
That’s what I see your book seeking to do. You are not trying to magnify Donald Trump. You are trying to say “Look how God speaks to people!” We have plenty of false prophets, but we have some people who speak the truth in love who are redemptive and we need to listen to those voices.
Strang: You’re absolutely right. I appreciate your candor and how insightful you are. You talk about prophets. You are one of those prophets. When you’re standing, I’ve seen you in settings thundering like Elijah or one of the Old Testament prophets speaking forth what God is saying.
You also mentioned sometimes a prophet predicts the future. There were four prophets I document in the book who didn’t hint or predict it behind the scenes, they very publicly said, “Donald Trump will be elected against all odds.” Right up until the election a lot of people thought Hillary Clinton had the election in the bag.
Robison: People need to read your book to see who those people were. Here’s what people need to understand. There’s not one of us or one prophet who speaks the truth who is infallible. We don’t have anyone but the infallible God. Any of us who hear truth and deliver it are susceptible to deception just like Simon Peter who said, “Thou art the Christ the son of the living God” and the next time he opened his mouth it was pure devil and Jesus rebuked Satan speaking to Peter.
We’re not putting people’s names up — not you, not me, not any person who may have spoken accurately 100 percent. That person is not our source. God’s Word is our source. But there will be people who proclaim His Word unapologetically in the power of His Spirit redemptively, who will not waver. Oftentimes these people will be someone we’ve never heard of and God can raise up somebody none of us would have picked and use them to accomplish great things if God’s people will continue to pray, seek His face in humility, and turn from their own wicked ways of indifference and really become a witness for Christ as salt and light.
The only way for God’s people to become the shining city set on a hill is for us to stand together as the family of God.
I believe you want God’s people to become the shining city set on a hill that cannot be hidden. The only way that happens is we stand together as the family of God. That’s the way “we the people” get out from under cover, from under the basket that hides the light. And standing together we illuminate the way and the day.
I believe that’s what your book is calling for. I pray people read it wisely and with discernment and keep God first in their life. We call on Him for the miracles we desperately need today.
Strang: Thank you for that and for the very fine endorsement we published in the book. I’ve tried to devote my entire life to encouraging the body of Christ to be that shining light on a hill. I did write the book for that reason.
In 2003 I had an idea to publish a book, The Faith of George W. Bush. He is a good man and it was a good story. Instead of recruiting an author, because I knew I would be very involved, this time I decided to do it myself.
I kind of wanted — almost for history — I didn’t want just to let the secular people write about this election. I’ve read four to five different books on Trump and except for Newt Gingrich, they didn’t even mention evangelicals even once and they were a key part of the election. It goes way beyond a voting block.
Robison: It’s the fact that some of them listen, but when they get in power, they don’t listen. In my book Living Amazed I shared that Mike Deaver who was one of the Republican establishment, I call them the Republican guard that would keep leaders from hearing what they need to hear. He became a Christian and he apologized to me and said, “We kept Christian leaders away from President Reagan and it was one of the worst things that ever could have happened. He was a great President, but I believe with all my heart if we had kept access to people full of faith he would have been the greatest president perhaps in American history.”
I have watched with daddy Bush and with W. I watched them have a heart to hear, but the longer you’re in the White House, or you’re in Washington, the more and more you get isolated and cut off from streams of spiritual wisdom and insight. In the name of protecting the President they often protect our leaders from the very voices of wisdom and truth that can help them succeed in every area of concern.
I am asking everyone listening or reading, pray that the power and gates of hell cannot keep this president from hearing the truth that flows like a river from the heart and mind of God for the benefit of all the people He loves and gave His life to redeem.
We could close this interview by saying if we the people will really call upon God and seek Him, I believe God will flow His truth like a mighty river.
I could be 100 percent wrong. I have spent time talking to Eric and Don Jr. and I love them and pray for them and their families. I haven’t had much time with Ivanka, but I appreciate the children of Donald Trump. Eric and Don Jr. have made it clear to me they and their dad and family want what is best for America; they are not worried about the Trumps.
Here’s what we’ve got to do. Pray that he hears the truth, heeds it and acts on it and the American people will come to their senses and stand up for the truth that changes everything and the one foundation that is unshakable and that is the truth of God.
Let’s pray that.
Strang: I’m glad to pray. Let me make this point and render an opinion. I believe Donald Trump has the opportunity to be the greatest American President since Abraham Lincoln just because it is so important to shift the country spiritually and financially. One of the reasons I believe he will be great is that he continues to surround himself with Christian leaders.
Let me close by telling your readers if they would like three sample chapters and some other materials about the book, go to: Godanddonaldtrumpbook.com
Robison: You are an entrepreneur, Steve. So is he. I am watching a man that with all the gifts you have, yet more than anything you want people to hear the truth, respond to it, and be blessed by what that does. That’s what I think this President wants now. I want to thank you and pray that every person gifted by God will lead well and help lead us back into the center of God’s will.
Strang: Father God, we pray for our President Donald Trump. Thank you for raising him up at such a time as this. Give him wisdom and discernment. Help him to have a spirit and willingness to hear the truth when it’s presented. Help him know what to do.
I pray our nation will come back to God. I ask if in a small way this book can people understand and see your hand in this election and in this country, maybe to be encouraged that when things seem so black and it seems we are losing on so many fronts, there is hope. If people will pray, You will answer their prayers. We pray in the name of Jesus that Donald Trump will be an effective leader and You will use him mightily in the name of Jesus.
Robison: Every person reading this should go to Jeremiah 15:19-21 and pray these verses. If we do this, we will see the blessings of God poured out on this nation. This Word is for every person and we pray it for our nation.
Lord, protect our President and Melania as they travel to Asia and troubled countries. Put a shield around them. Let him share truth and love in transforming power. We pray in Jesus’ Name, amen.