Christian Witness

For years Mark Galli has served as the brilliant editor of Christianity Today.  Mark’s groundbreaking book Karl Barth: An Introductory Biography for Evangelicals was a landmark in Barthian studies.  As Mark heads toward retirement, he has written a heroic editorial calling for the removal of Trump for gross immorality. 

We have watched North Carolina’s senators silenced into submission by Trump’s bullying.  Christians like Franklin Graham and Jerry Falwell Jr. have defended Trump’s lying, adultery, and racism.  More troubling, Christian publications (I’m looking at you, First Things) and preachers throughout the country have attempted to provide Christian justification for supporting Trump.  All this makes Mark Galli’s witness all the more remarkable.

There is every reason to believe that Trump has forever damaged the Republican party by intimidating them into defending the indefensible, even to the point of a congressman blasphemously comparing Trump’s impeachment to the Passion of our Lord.  More troubling will be the damage Trump has done through the Evangelical preachers who lacked the biblical and basic moral commitment to name what he stands for and what he has done as anathema to Evangelical Christianity.

–Will

Here’s most of Mark’s editorial:

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.

The reason many are not shocked about this is that this president has dumbed down the idea of morality in his administration. He has hired and fired a number of people who are now convicted criminals. He himself has admitted to immoral actions in business and his relationship with women, about which he remains proud. His Twitter feed alone—with its habitual string of mischaracterizations, lies, and slanders—is a near perfect example of a human being who is morally lost and confused.

Trump’s evangelical supporters have pointed to his Supreme Court nominees, his defense of religious liberty, and his stewardship of the economy, among other things, as achievements that justify their support of the president. We believe the impeachment hearings have made it absolutely clear, in a way the Mueller investigation did not, that President Trump has abused his authority for personal gain and betrayed his constitutional oath. The impeachment hearings have illuminated the president’s moral deficiencies for all to see. This damages the institution of the presidency, damages the reputation of our country, and damages both the spirit and the future of our people. None of the president’s positives can balance the moral and political danger we face under a leader of such grossly immoral character.

This concern for the character of our national leader is not new in CT. In 1998, we wrote this:

“The President’s failure to tell the truth—even when cornered—rips at the fabric of the nation. This is not a private affair. For above all, social intercourse is built on a presumption of trust: trust that the milk your grocer sells you is wholesome and pure; trust that the money you put in your bank can be taken out of the bank; trust that your babysitter, firefighters, clergy, and ambulance drivers will all do their best. And while politicians are notorious for breaking campaign promises, while in office they have a fundamental obligation to uphold our trust in them and to live by the law.”

…the words that we applied to Mr. Clinton 20 years ago apply almost perfectly to our current president. Whether Mr. Trump should be removed from office by the Senate or by popular vote next election—that is a matter of prudential judgment. That he should be removed, we believe, is not a matter of partisan loyalties but loyalty to the Creator of the Ten Commandments.

To the many evangelicals who continue to support Mr. Trump in spite of his blackened moral record, we might say this: Remember who you are and whom you serve. Consider how your justification of Mr. Trump influences your witness to your Lord and Savior. Consider what an unbelieving world will say if you continue to brush off Mr. Trump’s immoral words and behavior in the cause of political expediency. If we don’t reverse course now, will anyone take anything we say about justice and righteousness with any seriousness for decades to come? Can we say with a straight face that abortion is a great evil that cannot be tolerated and, with the same straight face, say that the bent and broken character of our nation’s leader doesn’t really matter in the end?….

6 thoughts on “Christian Witness

  1. Ok. But what do we do with the fact that Schiff, Waters, and Nadler repeatedly, over two years, said that they had seen hard evidence of Russian collusion. When, now, we know such evidence never existed. Indeed, they have never articulated what the alleged evidence was. Rather, after the Mueller report came out….silence. They, along with Pelosi, all said what the Republicans now say about due process when Clinton was impeached. And about immigration prior to Trump’s election, for that matter. So, it’s good to talk about evil and hypocrisy. It is not good to see it only when the guy isn’t wearing your team’s hat. And it’s really naive for Christians to imagine that very worldly people are angels of light. It was bad enough when Republicans thought this of Christian leaders. Now the mainline church can actually believe that about utter worldlings.

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  2. Will,

    I saw this story late last night and was stunned, grateful, emboldened and proud of Mark Galli’s courageous words. I have kept waiting for the Evangelical voices to find similar courage, but…crickets! The audacity of Franklin Graham this morning to weigh in, “My father would disagree with this editorial; he voted for Trump” struck me as just another puffy defense of the indefensible.

    Thank you for passing it along, adding your words, not only to the Evangelical church, but the whole Church.

    Pastor Steve Molin
    Woodbury, MN

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  3. I recently spent some time checking out Christian TV channels. I found it shocking that many of the so-called preachers on these networks feel very free to campaign for Trump and demean those with whom they disagree. Because of the First Amendment, the TV preachers are indeed free to say whatever they want — they are NOT, however, free to do so as tax-exempt organizations. Investigations, please!

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  4. Thank you for defending Mark’s editorial…there are so many misconceptions of reality and morality in our President’s demeanor… and such a disdain held for anyone who cannot totally agree with his actions. Prayers for our nation and especially for all of the evangelicals who cannot seem to see the damage being done … not only nationally, but globally, by the words & actions of our president!

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  5. Thanks, Will, for this additional info on the editor & for blessing this much needed voice from our evangelical wing of Christ’s church. May his tribe increase.

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