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.