*Christianity Today* Has Been Weak in It’s Criticism of Trump, but Perhaps There is Hope for the Future

Tim D

Tim Dalrymple, the President and CEO of Christianity Today Inc.

Though I haven’t written about it here at The Way of Improvement Leads Home until now, I have been disappointed with how Christianity Today has handled the evangelical embrace of Donald Trump.  I know that some of the leadership of the magazine did not agree with everything I wrote in my book Believe Me: The Evangelical Road to Donald Trump (while they reviewed the book online, they did not run the review in the print edition).  In fact, a lot of smart evangelicals have questioned my argument.

But over the last year Christianity Today has failed to make a strong prophetic stand against the president.  I understand why the magazine takes such a milquetoast approach to the Trump.  Many of its readers voted for him.  There are constituencies and subscribers to consider.

I still read Christianity Today, I still respond when its reporters call me for context and historical perspective, and I still believe the magazine reflects much of my evangelical faith.  But I have lost some respect for this flagship evangelical publication.

So I was encouraged to read a recent piece by Timothy Dalrymple, the new President and CEO of Christianity Today Inc., titled “On Court Prophets and Wilderness Prophets.” He published it in the immediate wake of Trump’s racist Tweets urging four members of Congress to “go back to your own country.”

Here is a taste:

As for me, I wonder if we have too many court prophets in an era when wilderness prophets are needed. I also wonder if our court prophets are willing to call out sin when they see it. Whether you view Trump as a David or an Antipas, whether you serve at the court of the resplendent king or stand over against the court from the wilderness, one thing Nathan and John the Baptist held in common was that both were willing to condemn unrighteousness in their rulers—even if it cost them everything.

The racial inflection of our political drama adds deeper significance to the moment. White Christians have a long and lamentable history of silence (or worse) when people of color are under attack. On the one hand, I sense today an authentic desire among white Christians to build bridges of relationship and reconciliation with their friends and neighbors of other ethnicities.

Read the entire piece here.  Dalrymple is off to a good start at Christianity Today.  Let’s hope that he proves to be more of a wilderness prophet than a court evangelical.

9 thoughts on “*Christianity Today* Has Been Weak in It’s Criticism of Trump, but Perhaps There is Hope for the Future

  1. Jeff,

    From what I can observe about his outward style, CT has attempted (surely with his help) to appeal to a certain market segment. Photos like that are generally not accidental. I would guess that it was done by a professional photographer, but he might have a friend or family member who has skill in staging a scene photographically.

    James

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  2. Ok
    I just got a kick out of this because in another post thread you wrote that I was bothered by Trump’s style.
    And in the critique here you seemed focused on superficial things like photo backgrounds.

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  3. Jeff,

    “Bothered” is probably not the right word to express my sentiment about his style. Rather it simply made me inclined to dismiss any of his material I encounter in the future. The piece just came across as an almost obligatory, programmed, virtue-signaling exercise.

    I was probably more vexed by the apparent quasi-theological effort to restore the office of Old Testament prophet to The Church. Perhaps he was speaking somewhat metaphorically, however.

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  4. It is interesting to look at the public relations photograph of Tim Dalrymple which CT is apparently endorsing. He is a hip-looking guy with the backdrop of an appealing Autumn scene. Maybe this photographic introduction to CT’s new man is supposed to appeal to millennials; it would be fun to know more about the demographics of their current subscriber base. Gone are the days when a man in a position like this was photographed in a dark suit, white shirt, and subdued tie seated in front of a quadruple shelf of books!

    Tim apparently came to CT from a seeker-sensitive PCA congregation (Perimeter Church) near Atlanta. The image of that particular local church is certainly a far cry from the stalwart men who penned historic Reformed confessions! Maybe the board members at CT have cast the organization’s lot with the changing cultural norms. Will this also be reflected in theological shifts at CT? Let’s all stay tuned.

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  5. Augustiniandemocrat, Just one paragraph for instance :

    “The racial inflection of our political drama adds deeper significance to the moment. White Christians have a long and lamentable history of silence (or worse) when people of color are under attack. On the one hand, I sense today an authentic desire among white Christians to build bridges of relationship and reconciliation with their friends and neighbors of other ethnicities.”

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  6. A “nice” but meaningless editorial which doesn’t once use the word race/racism/racist. In other words, a typical individualistic white evangelical perspective. But at least Tim will feel safe with his subscriber base.

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  7. White Christians have a “lamentable history of saying nothing when people of color are under attack?”

    That’s wrong, they’ve been the ones most vocally leading the attack.

    Can’t fix the problem until you identify what’s wrong.

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  8. I subscribed to CT back in the 1970s but over time found myself reading only the current events/news portions of the magazine. The feature articles generally lacked gravitas and the tone of the editorial management was wishy washy. Today there are many other free sources of religious news and there are Christian publications with feature writers providing greater intellectual and spiritual stimulation.

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