As a millennial, it's been interesting to see the Christian response to President Donald Trump and his impeachment is no exception. While some Christians can’t imagine anyone who would vote for Trump others can’t imagine not voting for him. Editor and Chief of the Christianity Today Mark Galli's article exhibits a huge problem…a cultural confusion within Christianity surrounding President Trump.
The article begins…”The president of the United States attempted to use his political power to coerce a foreign leader to harass and discredit one of the president’s political opponents. That is not only a violation of the Constitution; more importantly, it is profoundly immoral."
I find two glaring problems with this initial claim and the article at large. I’m honored you would take the time to read my thoughts.
1. Accepting a False Premise
I don't disagree with Galli's conclusion, what I disagree with is the premise. If the Christian worldview is correctly applied to a false premise, it will arrive at a false conclusion. Could this be the crucial element of the divide within Christianity about President Trump?
The Christians who just can’t understand their fellow believers support of the President often fail to realize that those believers don’t accept the media narrative surrounding Trump. They find rooting out corruption to be a benefit to the world. They see the President’s use of his political capital to request an investigation into corruption as a wise and just action of the office. In their defense, multiple Democrats in the House of Representatives found the impeachment trial to have presented no substantial evidence for abuse of power. Is it totally irrational to believe admittedly biased political adversaries would conjure up a shame trail for the purposes of overturning the 2016 election? Galli himself recognizes the Democrats have had it out for the President before day one.
But rather than acknowledge the position some Christians have taken toward the impeachment proceedings, Galli's initial claim assumes all Christians agree with Nancy Pelosi and Adam Schiff’s conclusion of the President’s wrong doing. I agree. Under such a premise support for the President is a complete abandonment of their Christian ethics for personal political gain. But the premise isn't true.
Many Christians disagree with some of the things the President has said and done while still appreciating his effort to rid Washington of corruption, break the stranglehold of political correctness, fight for the unborn, support Israel, expose the lies of the media, and fight for we the people. Galli’s assumptive false premise results in an uncomfortably misplaced virtue signal. Not all Christians believe Trump is guilty and I don’t see how its reasonable to assume they should.
2. Appeasement will bring Repentance.
The article argues that our ability to communicate the gospel is at stake. Galli writes, “Consider how your justification of Mr. Trump influences your witness to your Lord and Savior.” When did Jesus teach that the reputation of the church was the vehicle of repentance for the lost? In John 15:19 Jesus reminded us, “because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.” Appeasement will not lead to repentance.
Perhaps, Rick Warren, and other revolutionary church leaders of the 90s were right to swing the pendulum away from the more politically focused moral majority of Kennedy and Falwell. Christians can place their hope in government instead of God and they are wrong when they do. But those who came after Warren have taken a positive shift from all faith in government, to a level that leaves political commentary or even knowledge of the political process a thing to be disdained among believers. Could these leaders who lead the charge to appease culture by abandoning political engagement have ever imagined the affects their actions would have on my generation?
Now that the short-term appreciation for our dart to the sidelines has faded, Christianity is being viewed by Gen Z as a worthless ideology capable only of producing excellent programs at Christmas time. No wonder they have little interest in Christianity. What impact does following Jesus have on the world today? Is our only goal as Christians to provide fire insurance to the next generation? The mass exodus of the Church is not because we failed to appease our cultural critics but because we succeeded.
It is only when the conclusions of Christianity impact the culture that Generation Z will find hope in the gospel. As a millennial I ask, would you stand with me? Speak the Truth in Love. Stop retreating to the sidelines on cultural issues. Show how the Christian worldview contains the highest ethic of morality and the only redemptive path to the brokenness of this life.
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Editorial credit: Brandon Stivers / Shutterstock.com