On October 11, 2020, Pastor Mannes preached his final sermon at East Saugatuck Church because he feels the congregation supports President Donald Trump too much. Pastor Keith Mannes has served at East Saugatuck Christian Reformed Church in Holland, Michigan for the last four years.
Division due to political tension continued to increase and Mannes told the Holland Sentinel that “the church as a whole has ‘abandoned its role’ as the conscience of the state in support of Trump.” He quoted Martin Luther King saying, “The church must be reminded that it is not the master or the servant of the state, but rather the conscience of the state.” Pastor Mannes followed King’s quote by expressing, “That just hit me hard because I think, broadly, the white evangelical community in our country has abandoned that role.”
He’s not the only one feeling this way, Mannes said, “It’s not only me, but quite a number of pastors I know are just like, ‘This is it? All this preaching we did about Jesus and there’s this big of a disconnect?’ I think that’s a real burden on a lot of pastors’ hearts. I love these people, I love God, I love Jesus, I love the church, but there’s something happening here.”
After a meeting with the Elders at Christian Reformed Church, praying together, and discussing the tensions Pastor Mannes had been feeling, he said, “It was time for me to lovingly and with great peace and loss separate from the church. It was really crushing because I’ve given my life to the church, and thankfully so.”
“I would just implore anybody who claims Christ to just look very seriously at the core things Jesus called us to do and be,” Mannes said referring to Christians who will vote for Trump to continue his presidency for the next four years. “Do some serious soul searching,” he said, “about who you’re serving and how you’re trying to accomplish that purpose in the world.”
Mannes told the Holland Sentinel, “We’re supposed to be the conscience of the president and we have refused to do that,” speaking about Christians. “I don’t know that a church who believes in Jesus as we do, can abandon its conscience and not say, ‘Mr. President we’re calling you to better than that and you need to call our nation to better than that.’ ”
Unsure of what the future holds after the election and where the pastor was going to go next, Mannes who has pastored for over 30 years, said at least he has his conscience.
A recent study conducted by PRRI shows that white evangelicals approve of the job Trump is doing at a rate of 76 percent, compared to 52 percent of white mainline Protestants and 49 percent of white Catholics.
Influential Southern Baptist leader Rev. Albert Mohler announced earlier this year that he intends to vote for Trump in this year’s election. Molher has strongly opposed Donald Trump in the past and said that he gave his 2016 vote minimal importance by voting for a third-party candidate. He said as long as the GOP platform continues to oppose abortion and support religious liberty he will vote Republican for the rest of his life.