“Have you ever asked God for forgiveness?”
“That’s a tough question. I don’t think in those terms…I’m a religious person…I go to church…Norman Vincent Peale was my pastor…”
“But have you ever asked God for forgiveness?”
“I’m not sure I have…I just try to do a better job from there. I don’t think so. I don’t bring God into the picture.”
“Do I do things that are wrong? I guess so.“
Hmmm. Find this disconcerting? Watch the below 4-minute clip to understand these comments in context, and to see that I fairly edited them for you.
I never dreamed my book would end up so relevant for this election year! Donald Trump could be considered the poster child for the positive thinking mindset taken to its logical ends – especially as revealed in this clip.
Difficulty seeing your need for forgiveness. Difficulty admitting sin. Obvious issues with pride and self-deception. A self-centered and self-sufficient attitude with an emphasis on personal success.
My book discusses these very things, and how the positive thinking movement undermined Christianity by subtly infiltrating it – distracting us from Christ.
Several articles have connected the phenomenon of Donald Trump as presidential candidate to…Norman Vincent Peale, positive thinking, Joel Osteen, the prosperity gospel and the like.
From The Washington Post: How the prosperity gospel explains Donald Trump’s popularity with Christian voters. Like Joel Osteen, Trump’s brand is rooted in his own success. Excerpt:
“Osteen and Trump share the same core prosperity precepts, holding that God pushes them and their discerning followers undeviatingly upward to greater success. ‘Don’t put limits on God’ is the mantra of Osteen’s preaching — which means, in turn, that you shouldn’t put limits on yourself and your worldly achievements. This may be why Trump appears to bristle instinctively at the notion of seeking the Lord’s forgiveness — his preferred image of the deity, too, is as a single-minded enabler of success.”
From First Things: Donald Trump, Man of Faith. Excerpt:
“Trump…heard the sermons of Norman Vincent Peale, a man whose philosophy would become Trump’s own…The two men began to trade public compliments. Peale, always generous in his assessments of human nature, said that Trump had a ‘profound streak of honest humility.’ Trump, not exactly showing that humble streak, said that Peale ‘thought I was his greatest student of all time.’ In a certain sense, Trump was right. Peale has had no more perfect disciple. Peale distilled the optimism and self-sufficiency of the American character into a simple creed.”
From theologian Michael Horton in Christianity Today: The Theology of Donald Trump. Excerpt:
“Let me suggest that the slender thread connecting Trump to the church is…Norman Vincent Peale. Blending pop-psychology and spirituality, Peale’s The Power of Positive Thinking (1952) remained on The New York Times bestsellers list for 186 weeks. Nicknamed ‘God’s Salesman,’ Peale was criticized for trivializing Christianity. Reinhold Niebuhr said that he ‘corrupts the gospel,‘ and that he helps people ‘feel good, while they are evading the real issues of life.’”
Learn more in my book, Positively Powerless.
It will help you detect the false gospel of positivity and re-connect to your true source of power: the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Think of it as a practical book on everyday Christian living, and how the subtle but pervasive influence of positive thinking shifted our focus and undermined us in our lives of faith.