A prominent evangelical leader is walking back his claim that Donald Trump recently became a born-again Christian, saying he doesn’t know the “details” of the alleged conversion.
Last week, Dr. James Dobson told attendees at a Manhattan evangelical summit organized by the presumptive GOP nominee that he personally knew the individual who had led Trump to accept Jesus as his savior.
“He did accept a relationship with Christ. I know the person who led him to Christ,” Dobson said, according to audio of his interview with Rev. Michael Anthony, a pastor from Pennsylvania.
While Dobson characterized Trump at the time as a “baby Christian,” he seemed more circumspect about the New York real estate mogul’s newfound faith in a statement released Monday to the Christian publication Charisma News.
“Only the Lord knows the condition of a person’s heart. I can only tell you what I’ve heard,” Dobson said. “First, Trump appears to be tender to things of the Spirit. I also hear that Paula White has known Trump for years and that she personally led him to Christ.”
“Do I know that for sure? No,” Dobson added. “Do I know the details of that alleged conversion? I can’t say that I do.”
White is a Florida-based prosperity preacher whose Without Walls International Church, with which she is no longer associated, and Paula White Ministries were both investigated by the Senate Finance Committee. The committee concluded the three-year investigation in 2011 without finding specific instances of wrongdoing.
Dobson said in the statement that he was among the group of approximately 45 Christian leaders serving on a “faith advisory committee” for Trump. Other names on the list included White, former Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), evangelist Franklin Graham and Trump advisor Ben Carson.
The committee members seem to have their work cut out for them, given that Dobson called Trump “a baby Christian who doesn’t have a clue about how believers think, talk and act.”