A Quick Analysis of the Court Evangelical Letter to the CEO of Christianity Today Inc.

Court Evangelicals at Table

Context

I have pasted the letter below.  My comments are in bold.

Dr. Dalrymple,.

Tim Dalrymple is the relatively new CEO of Christianity Today Inc.  Earlier this year he wrote about Trump’s “court prophets,” especially as related to race.

We write collectively to express our dissatisfaction with the editorial Christianity Today published on Thursday, December 19, 2019 calling for the removal of our duly elected President, who was put into office at the behest of over sixty million voters. 

This “duly elected” argument holds no water.  The founders included impeachment in the U.S. Constitution to provide a way for the removal of a corrupt president in the period between presidential elections.  Think about Nixon’s crimes.  Did impeachment undermine his election in 1972?  Did the impeachment of Bill Clinton undermine his election in 1998? I didn’t hear any of today’s court evangelicals making the “duly elected” argument back then.

It was astonishing to us that your editor-in-chief, Mark Galli, further offensively dismissed our point of view on CNN by saying, “Christianity Today is not read by the people – Christians on the far right, by evangelicals on the far right – so they’re going to be as dismissive of the magazine as President Trump has shown to be.”

I am not sure how this is “astonishing.” Everything Galli said was true.  Most of the court evangelicals have come out in the last two days and said that no one reads Christianity Today.  They have said that the magazine is irrelevant.  The court evangelicals have been “dismissive” of the magazine.  I am also guessing that Trump’s dismissal of the magazine in his tweets came directly from the court evangelicals.

It also came to our attention, that Mr. Galli has written other statements about Americans who chose Donald Trump over Secretary Clinton in 2016, referring to them as “These other evangelicals [who] often haven’t finished college, and if they have jobs, and apparently most of them don’t, they are blue-collar jobs or entry level work” as he describes himself with pride as an “elite evangelical.”

I would like to see this Galli quote in context.  Does anyone have it? 

(Addendum: It comes from Galli’s essay in Mark Labberton’s edited collection Still Evangelical: Insiders Reconsider Political, Social, and Theological Meaning.  Fortunately, the passage is available in the book’s Amazon preview.  Read it here. Personally, I think the quote is taken out of context. Galli was not condemning these “other evangelicals,” he was describing them in an essay about the differences in the evangelical community.  Thanks for everyone who brought this to my attention).

Of course, it’s up to your publication to decide whether or not your magazine intends to be a voice of evangelicals like those represented by the signatories below, and it is up to us and those Evangelicals like us to decide if we should subscribe to, advertise in and read your publication online and in print, but historically, we have been your readers. 

“Historically, we have been your readers.”  How far back in history are we talking about? It can’t be recent history, because Christianity Today is irrelevant.  Why would the court evangelicals subscribe to and read such an irrelevant magazine? 

We are, in fact, not “far-right” evangelicals as characterized by the author. 

If the signers of this letter are not “far-right” evangelicals I would like them to tell me who on the evangelical landscape is more to the “right.” 

Rather, we are Bible-believing Christians and patriotic Americans who are simply grateful that our President has sought our advice as his administration has advanced policies that protect the unborn, promote religious freedom, reform our criminal justice system, contribute to strong working families through paid family leave, protect the freedom of conscience, prioritize parental rights, and ensure that our foreign policy aligns with our values while making our world safer, including through our support of the State of Israel. We are not theocrats, and we recognize that our imperfect political system is a reflection of the fallen world within which we live, reliant upon the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, which is freely given to sinner and saint, alike. 

There is nothing in this paragraph about the case for impeachment. 

The court evangelicals must answer these questions:

Did Donald Trump do anything wrong when he asked the president of Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden? Is this immoral?

Did Donald Trump do anything wrong when the “duly elected” House of Representatives chose to move forward with an impeachment inquiry and he blocked witness from testifying and refused to send documents?  Is this immoral?

Even if we agreed that neither of these acts are impeachable offenses, are they immoral? And if they are immoral, does a Christian minister or “leader” have the responsibility to “call a spade a spade?”

How the court evangelicals answer these questions should have absolutely NOTHING to do with the things they mention in the paragraph above.

We are proud to be numbered among those in history who, like Jesus, have been pretentiously accused of having too much grace for tax collectors and sinners, and we take deeply our personal responsibility to render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s — our public service. 

Who is being pretentious here?  Too much grace for tax collectors and sinners? Please spare us the victim rhetoric.  Where was this grace for Bill Clinton in 1998?  Where is this grace today for those in our society who the court evangelicals demonize and mock on their Twitter accounts and Fox News appearances?  Where was this grace for Hillary Clinton when the court evangelicals were spewing their hatred and venom at her.

The editorial you published, without any meaningful and immediate regard for dissenting points of view, not only supported the entirely-partisan, legally-dubious, and politically-motivated impeachment but went even further, calling for Donald Trump not to be elected again in 2020 when he certainly survives impeachment. 

How dare Christianity Today suggest that it would be bad for America and the church if we get another four years of Trump!  🙂  And why do the court evangelicals care what Christianity Today thinks. It’s an irrelevant magazine.  If Christianity Today no longer represent mainstream evangelicalism, then why should the court evangelicals care if Galli’s piece did not address other points of view?

As one of our signatories said to the press, “I hope Christianity Today will now tell us who they will support for president among the 2020 Democrat field?” 

I did not read Galli’s piece as partisan.  He was condemning immoral and unconstitutional behavior in the White House.  The matter of the 2020 election has nothing to do with this.  Evangelicals will support both candidates in 2020.  This is yet another example of how, in the court evangelical mind, Bible-based criticism cannot be separated from politics.

Your editorial offensively questioned the spiritual integrity and Christian witness of tens-of-millions of believers who take seriously their civic and moral obligations.

It not only targeted our President; it also targeted those of us who support him, and have supported you. 

Of course Galli’s piece targeted the court evangelicals and their followers.  That was the point.