Want to know the problem with modern evangelicalism? It is obsessed with appearances. From skinny-jean wearing megachurch pastors to the evangelical intelligentsia, appearance matters more than theology. Highlighting the problem are attacks on Donald Trump and Trump voters.
By all accounts, Donald Trump is a bad guy when it comes to sexual sins. Adultery, hush payments, vulgarity—and those are the things we know about! However, that doesn’t make voting for Trump evil. Despite what the Woke-obsessed and Never Trump evangelical elites think.
David French of the National Review tweeted his firm resolve to not vote for Trump. He tweeted, “By the way, the porn affairs and hush money payments by themselves are enough for me to never, ever vote for Trump. And that’s just one thing, of many. I remember the days, like way back in, say, May 2015, when that would have been a consensus Evangelical position.”
French has confused the issues. Integrity matters, but that is only part of the discussion. As a Christian, a politician’s personal sinfulness matters, but it matters less than sinful public policy.
Why? Because as Christians live in a fallen world, and we may not always have a good option. As such, Christian ethics requires us to vote for the higher commandments over lesser commandments. (Check out the above link for how I apply Geisler’s Graded Absolutism to voting.)
That describes November 2016. When voting, Christians were confronted with the stark reality: one party wants infanticide and the other party, led by a man of questionable personal qualities, wanted to protect infants.
That is a no-brainer. Every Christian not blinded by their own brand knows the right thing to do.
Save the baby! Put your own moral sanctimony aside, and vote to save the baby—or at least as many babies as possible.
“When integrity no longer matters to us, it’s because God no longer matters — not enough for us to keep our integrity, come what may. Which illustrates why our task in this generation is not to preserve Christianity but to rediscover it. Our ‘Christianity’ is non-Christian,” Ray Ortlund of The Gospel Coalition tweeted in support of French.
This is what virtue signaling looks like.
Ortlund isn’t new to doing that. Check out this self-aggrandizing tweet from last year: “Last evening a magnificent AA brother called me ‘woke.’ I felt honored, grateful. Might Jesus be making an impact on me? Of course, some won’t like this. But go ahead and @ me all you want. I don’t care. I have decided to follow Jesus; no turning back, no turning back.”
Modern evangelicals are more interested in getting the length of their tassels right than fighting evil. So, for men like Ortlund and French, virtue signaling their dislike of Trump actually trumps stopping the election of the Infanticide Party.
Modern evangelical political theology reminds me of this warning from the great New Testament scholar C.E.B. Cranfield, “Often the only choice open to the Christian in a particular situation will be a choice between evils; but he will realize that it is not a matter of indifference whether the greatest possible, or the least possible evil comes to pass, and that that to help to bring about the greatest evil by refusing, out of a mistaken perfectionism, to choose the least is surely to be guilty of dereliction of duty.”
As Christians we must do what is right, even if that means working with someone who is sinful. It doesn’t matter what the world thinks. It only matters what God thinks.
God is pretty clear on the infanticide issue. Why do so many hip evangelical elites ignore that?