Randall Balmer on the Christian Right’s Changing Code of Ethics

Trump court evangelicals

Randall Balmer, a lifelong observer of American evangelicalism, reflects on the “flexible” values of the Christian Right.

Here is a summary of Balmer’s sense of the “new” Christian Right ethical code:

  1. “Lying is all right as long as it serves a higher purpose.”
  2. “It’s no problem to married more than, well, twice.”
  3. “Immigrants are scum”
  4. “Vulgarity is a sign of strength and resolve”
  5. “White live matter (much more than others)”
  6. “There’s no harm in spending time with porn stars”
  7. “It’s all right for adults to date children”
  8. “The end justifies the means”

See how Balmer develops this points here.

“Incomprehensible and we can’t let it pass by”

This is what court evangelical Johnnie Moore said on Fox News yesterday.  And no, he wasn’t referring to the shooting in Parkland.  He was referring to Joy Behar’s remarks about Mike Pence.  While the nation’s attention is riveted on this shooting and we are trying to figure out what to do next to curb gun violence, court evangelical Moore, who describes himself as a “modern day Dietrich Bonhoeffer,” is on Fox News talking about the words of a B-list comedian on a daytime talk show.  Is this how Moore and Fox News distract attention from the real moral issue facing the country this weekend?

Why doesn’t Moore come out and say that the Florida shooting was “incomprehensible and we can’t let it pass by”?

Why have the court evangelicals been so silent beyond “thoughts and prayers?”

Evangelicals Step Up to the Plate on Immigration

immigrants

Later this month I am scheduled to give a lecture to the board of trustees of a Christian college.  The college asked me to speak on the following topic: “How Has Evangelical Christianity Made a Positive Difference in the World?”  I am still working on the talk, and I will probably post is somewhere at some point.

I thought about my assignment this morning as I read this editorial in The Register-Guard of Eugene, Oregon.  It is titled “Evangelical heart, finally.”  Here is a taste:

When more than 100 Christian leaders took a stand last week for the right of “Dreamers” to stay in America, it shouldn’t have surprised anybody. Shouldn’t Christians, above all, be concerned with the “least of these” — as Jesus was?

And yet evangelicals’ track record since the rise of Donald Trump has more passion for Trump’s “Make American Great Again” campaign than for Jesus’ “Love One Another” campaign. During a two-year binge in which Trump has sloughed off sexual assault, disparaged Third World countries and refused to disavow the KKK, evangelicals have offered only scattered objections — notably students and alums of Jerry Falwell Jr.’s Liberty University, who have taken a public stand to say Trump should be a source of “shame and anger” for Christians.

Meanwhile, well-known evangelical leaders such as Franklin Graham, James Dobson and Tony Perkins have, at least publicly, emerged less as disciples of Christ than idolizers of, and apologists for, Trump.

Which is why last week’s ad in The Washington Post by the evangelicals was refreshing.

“As Christian leaders, we have a commitment to caring for the vulnerable in our churches while also supporting just, compassionate and welcoming policies toward refugees and other immigrants,” the letter begins. It on to request legal protection for Dreamers who entered the U.S. as children, an increase in admissions of refugees and persecuted Christians, and higher priority for immigrants seeking to reunite with their families.

Read the rest here.

Another Convening of the Court (Evangelicals)

This is from court evangelical Greg Laurie‘s Twitter feed:

I don’t recognize everyone in the picture, but I do see Franklin Graham, Paula White, Tim Clinton, and Robert Jeffress.

After looking at this photo-op I am reminded of former court evangelical A.R. Bernard’s line.

By the way, Chapter Four of my forthcoming Believe Me: The Evangelical Road to Donald Trump is entitled “Power Brokers: The Court Evangelicals.”  The good folks at Eerdmans Publishing tell me that pre-orders help them get the message of the book to the maximum number of people.

Believe Me JPEG

 

Is Donald Trump a New Cyrus or a “Baby Christian?”

Believe Me JPEGDonald Trump will address the 66th annual National Prayer Breakfast today.  Last night I read a Voice of America piece on the event.  This piece triggered a few thoughts.

It seems that Trump’s evangelical supporters approach his presidency in one of two ways.

First, there is the “King Cyrus” crowd.  These are the court evangelicals who believe that God appointed Trump to deliver evangelicals from secular forces trying to undermine America’s status as God’s chosen people.  In the Old Testament, Cyrus was the Persian King who freed the Jews from captivity and allowed them to return to Jerusalem.  Cyrus was a pagan.  Yet God used him.  In this scenario, Trump does not need to be a Christian or exemplify Christian character for him to play a providential role in human history.  Those who embrace this view believe that they have a firm grasp on the will of God or else they claim that God has given them special revelation.

Second, there is the “baby Christian” crowd.  These are court evangelicals who believe that Donald Trump had a born-again experience.  He is a “baby Christian” who is still growing in his faith.  We should thus understand his blunders and anti-Christian statements and policies as part of this spiritual growth.  Moreover, his past sins have been forgiven and we should now give him a second chance–a “mulligan‘ if you will–because God offers sinners “second chances” through the Gospel.

Here is a third option:  Trump is not a new Cyrus or a “baby Christian.”  He is a political opportunist who is using the court evangelicals to sustain power.

I have done my best to interpret the evangelical support of Trump in my forthcoming book Believe Me: The Evangelical Road to Donald Trump.

 

*USA Today* Calls Out Evangelical Leaders

Trump court evangelicals

The editors of the USA Today just wrote: “Trump squanders moral authority–for evangelical leaders.”

Here is a taste:

Born-again Christians “have a long record of being highly pragmatic, rather than purist, in (using) the tools of the federal government to protect their own authority and advance a moral agenda,” Molly Worthen, assistant professor of history at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, has written.

Between Trump and Hillary Clinton, if evangelicals saw the former as the better vessel — albeit a morally flawed one — for overturning Roe v. Wade or safeguarding religious freedom, why not support him? After all, the Lord works in mysterious ways and through imperfect vessels. 

What’s more puzzling is that leaders of the religious right feel it’s somehow necessary to shoehorn the president’s character into some kind of born-again template, a mold he has never fit and never will.

By the accounts of more than a dozen women, Trump is a serial sexual predator. On the infamous Access Hollywood tape, he boasted of grabbing women’s genitals. And in the 2006 encounter with Stormy Daniels, he allegedly betrayed his marriage vows to Melania shortly after the birth of his youngest son.

To this day, he bears false witness an average of several times a day and uses vulgarities to denigrate entire nations of people.  

Yet Graham and Falwell say they believe Trump has morally changed over the years. “He’s not the same person now that he was back then,” Falwell told CNN. “That’s why evangelicals are so quick to forgive Donald Trump when he asked for forgiveness for things that happened 10, 15 years ago.”

Except he never really did. The Access Hollywood tape is about the only thing Trump has publicly apologized for. But The New York Times reported he has since questioned the tape’s authenticity.

Read the entire editorial here.

Bible Passage of the Day

Matthew 4:1-11

Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” But he answered, “It is written,

“‘Man shall not live by bread alone,
    but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

Then the devil took him to the holy city and set him on the pinnacle of the temple and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written,

“‘He will command his angels concerning you,’

and

“‘On their hands they will bear you up,
    lest you strike your foot against a stone.’”

Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’” Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.”10 Then Jesus said to him, “Be gone, Satan! For it is written,

“‘You shall worship the Lord your God
    and him only shall you serve.’”

11 Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and were ministering to him.

Conservative Journalist Slams Falwell Jr.

falwell-jr
Check out Jonah Goldberg‘s piece at The National Review.  He describes court evangelical Jerry Falwell Jr. as a “right-wing version of the original progressive’s habit of tailoring their arguments to wherever the field was open.”

A taste:

The original progressives tailored their arguments to wherever the field was open. When expanding the franchise would empower progressives, they were for it. When they held the executive branch, they argued all power should be vested there. When they held the legislative, ditto. The courts, ditto. Oliver Wendell Holmes is famous for advancing the doctrine of “judicial restraint,” but I’ve always believed he took this position in large part because he understood that progressives had the whip hand in Congress and the White House. When advancing progressive ends required judicial activism — as in Buck v. Bell — Holmes was more than happy to legislate from the bench, on the lofty constitutional principle that “three generations of imbeciles is enough.” Judicial restraint was just a way of clearing the field for his team to move the ball downfield.

It seems to me that the religious politics of people like Falwell is simply a right-wing version of this approach — but instead of it being adorned with political and philosophical jargon, it’s full of religious bumper stickers. It’s just another variety of what was once called “priestcraft” by diverse thinkers such as James Harrington, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and Thomas Paine. It’s the practice of using one’s religious authority to gain personal or political power.

Read the entire piece here.

Alan Jacobs on Jerry Falwell Jr.

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The Baylor University evangelical intellectual weighs in at his blog.  Get some context here.

A taste:

Point the first: Jerry Falwell, Jr., though not a pastor and holding no advanced degrees in Bible or theology, graduated from two institutions founded by his pastor father for the express purpose of offering seriously Christian education: Liberty Christian Academy and then Liberty University. (JF Jr.’s college major was Religious Studies.)

Point the second: As is evident from the statements that French discusses in his post, Jerry Falwell, Jr. shows no evidence of having even the most elementary understanding of what the Bible says and what the Christian Gospel is.

The problem, as discerning readers will already have noted, is how to reconcile these two points. How could someone raised as Jerry Falwell, Jr. was raised, educated as he was educated, living as he now lives, say that Jesus “did not forgive the establishment elites”? Could he really not know that Jesus said of those establishment elites who killed him, “Father, forgive them”? And this is not an isolated incident. Quite often in recent months JF Jr. (like a number of other evangelical leaders) has made statements that clearly contradict some of the best-known passages in the Bible.

Read the rest here.

The Editor of *Christianity Today* Weighs-In on the Perkins and Falwell Jr. Debacle

CT

Christianity Today usually tries to stay out of the political fray.  Frankly, I was somewhat surprised that they were willing to let me write so freely about Ted Cruz during the 2016 campaign.  (The piece actually won an award).  I respect the folks at CT and I am always impressed by their reporting on evangelicalism and politics.  Court evangelical Robert Jeffress has described those affiliated with the CT approach to politics as the “Christianity Today crowd.”  (Count me as one of the crowd!)

Earlier this week, editor Mark Galli (check out his new book on Karl Barth) weighed-in on the Tony Perkins “mulligan” and Jerry Falwell Jr.’s wacky comments and tweets.

Here is a taste of his piece:

To be fair to Perkins, however, the call to turn the other cheek is not a universal guideline for Christian behavior. It is a very good guideline in many, many situations, and one Christians should instinctively start with. But it doesn’t take deep imagination to recognize that Jesus does not call us to simply absorb evil in every instance. He certainly didn’t. He called out the Pharisees in the strongest language—“hypocrites,” “blind fools,” “sons of vipers” (Matt. 23)—and he turned over the tables in the Temple and drove out the money changers with a whip (John 2:15).

In the same vein, we rightly tell women they should not simply turn the other cheek when a man sexually assaults them. Similarly, African Americans who are abused by the system should fight for justice. And so on and so forth. Christianity is not a passive faith in the face of evil, but one that encourages and models courage and standing up to evil, along with the virtues of patience and forbearance.

This is one reason being a Christian is so hard at times. It takes a fair amount of wisdom to discern when and how these various virtues come into play in any given situation. I’m making a larger exegetical point here: We Christians should not reflexively default to one set of virtues when we’re trying to craft or critique public policy. So formally Perkins is right to suggest that.

Galli is much harder on Falwell Jr.  Read the rest here.

Court Prophet: Jim Acosta of CNN is a “Demon”

Acosta

I write a bit about Lance Wallnau in my forthcoming book Believe Me: The Evangelical Road to Donald Trump.  He is the guy who said God told him that Donald Trump is a new King Cyrus.  He represents the INC wing of the court evangelicals.

In this video, Wallnau says that Trump is not afraid of “demonic” journalists like Jim Acosta of CNN because the POTUS has a special anointing to resist the devil and his minions.

Want to learn more about the connection between these “prophets” and the Trump White House?  Pre-order a copy of Believe Me.

Here is a description of the book:

A historian’s acute take on current American politics 

“Believe me” may be the most commonly used phrase in Donald Trump’s lexicon. Whether about building a wall or protecting the Christian heritage, the refrain is constant. And to the surprise of many, about eighty percent of white evangelicals have believed Trump—at least enough to help propel him into the White House.

Historian John Fea is not surprised—and in Believe Me he explains how we have arrived at this unprecedented moment in American politics. An evangelical Christian himself, Fea argues that the embrace of Donald Trump is the logical outcome of a long-standing evangelical approach to public life defined by the politics of fear, the pursuit of worldly power, and a nostalgic longing for an American past. In the process, Fea challenges his fellow believers to replace fear with hope, the pursuit of power with humility, and nostalgia with history.

Believe Me JPEG

 

 

The Transactional Relationship Between Christian Right Evangelicals and Trump

Trump evangelical
Below is a taste of Paul Waldman‘s recent piece at The Week: “How ‘values voters’ made a deal with the devil.”  It reminds me of something we recently discussed in my class on Christian politics at West Shore Evangelical Free Church.  I asked the class what conservative evangelicals would do when and if (a big if) they got everything they want.

What would happen if the proverbial dog catches the proverbial bus?  Will evangelicals send abortion doctors to prison? What about the women who have abortions?  Will they be somehow punished?  Do Christian Right evangelicals realize that if they overturn Roe v. Wade it will not end legal abortion in America?  What about gay marriage?  Will they put homosexual couples in jail?  Will they kick Muslims out of the country? Will they require television stations to only show Leave it to Beaver reruns?  What will conservative evangelicals do to respect the liberties of all human beings–people created in God’s image?  Have the conservative evangelicals of the Christian Right thought about these questions?

Here is Waldman:

…But we also have interests: what’s good for us, regardless of what might be good for other people. And there’s a ground where values and interests meet, and that’s where conservative Christians welcomed Trump. They’d like to roll back civil rights protections for gay people, outlaw abortion, and generally engineer a return to a more traditional, patriarchal society. They want that for themselves, but they want to impose it on everyone else as well. And they shrewdly realized that when it comes to the policy decisions that move us in that direction, Trump just doesn’t care. He’d be fine if abortion is legal, or if it isn’t. He’d be fine if gay people can access services without being discriminated against, or if they can’t. What matters to Trump is Trump.

So he and the Christian right made a transactional arrangement: He’d give them what they want (like hard-right judges and an attack on reproductive rights) and they’d stay loyal to him. As long as both sides hold up their end of the bargain, it works.

However, it does mean that those who claim to be of higher moral character because of their reliance on God’s word have to do certain things that are a little uncomfortable. They have to pretend that they believe Trump carries with him a deep religious faith, even though they know it isn’t true. They have to excuse his bigotry. They have to go before the cameras when news of the latest Trump scandal breaks and act as though Trump is a man of the highest character and integrity, despite the mountains of evidence to the contrary.

Read the entire piece here.

Jerry Falwell Jr: Christ Did “Did Not Forgive the Establishment Elites”

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Court evangelical Jerry Falwell Jr. is at it again.  Last night he was on CNN with Erin Burnett defending Trump’s adulterous affair with a porn star.  Watch the interview here.

Over at the National Review, conservative evangelical Christian David French has covered the Falwell appearance on CNN in a piece titled “Jerry Falwell Jr. Beclowns Himself Again.”

Here is a taste:

He makes three basic, embarrassingly bad theological arguments. First, he actually says out loud, “judge not lest ye be judged.” But it doesn’t require anyone to “judge” to condemn serial adultery and sexual assault. It simply requires reading comprehension. The Bible is clear. God has made the relevant judgment….

Hey Liberty University students:  When you get disciplined by the Liberty administration for disobeying the rules of the school just tell them “judge not lest ye be judged” and demand that you not be punished.

French continues:

Second, he makes the grade school mistake of equating the fact that Jesus said we’re all sinners (we are) with equating sin itself. “It’s all the same,” said Falwell. No, it’s not. All sin is wrong. All men need Christ. But not all sin is equally grave. Throughout scripture some sins are singled out as particularly vile and are punished accordingly…

Third, watch Falwell finish the segment with what can only be described as the Breitbart gospel. After speaking of Christ’s forgiveness, he then says, “He did not forgive the establishment elites.” What? So now the good news itself is wrapped in dime-store populism. 

The last line above is well-put: Falwell’s gospel is “wrapped in dime-store populism.”

I am continually amazed that this man is a college president.  I am continually saddened that this man is the president of the largest Christian university in the world.

Trump’s “Mulligan”

Perkins

I am not surprised that Family Research Council president Tony Perkins wants to give Trump a “mulligan” on the whole Stormy Daniels affair. Perkins says he will not judge Trump for his apparent adulterous affair with a porn star in 2006.

Here is his interview last night with CNN’s Erin Burnett:

Perkins says that if Trump did the same thing today he would lose the support of evangelicals.  Frankly, I am not so sure.

But let’s also remember that the attempt to cover-up the Daniels affair took place only three weeks before the 2016 election.  Does he get a mulligan for that?  When Burnett asked Perkins about this he did not have much of an answer.  So let’s get this straight:  Perkins will give Trump a pass on the 2006 affair because it happened in the past.  He will also give Trump a pass for the 2016 cover-up.

Finally, Perkins says that evangelicals were not on board with Trump until he won the GOP nomination.  Who are the evangelicals Perkins represents?  Does he represent Robert Jeffress or Jerry Falwell Jr.?  They were with Trump from the beginning.  Does he represent the average evangelical voter who handed Trump the nomination?

Not All “Two Kingdom” Christians Ignore the Government’s Unethical Behavior

Tinder 2People like Robert Jeffress give “two-kingdom” theologians a bad name.  (Get up to speed here).

Even if one embraces the idea that the Sermon on the Mount or the Great Commission should not dictate government policy, Christians are still required to speak and act when the government exerts itself in unjust, untruthful, and hateful ways.

My favorite two-kingdom thinker is retired University of Massachusetts political scientist Glenn Tinder.  Here is what Tinder says in the “Social Transformation” chapter (4) of The Political Meaning of Christianity:

…if Christians are even more pessimistic about human beings than are conservatives how can they favor reform?  How can they do anything but cling to all institutions, however unjust, that counteract the chaotic potentialities of  human beings and achieve a degree of order?  There are three interconnected answers to these questions.

First of all, Christian principles place one in a radical–that is, critical and adverse–relationship to established institutions.  The Kingdom of God is a judgment on the existing society; the imminence of the Kingdom of God symbolizes its impermanence.  Jesus was crucified because his presence and preaching were unsettling to reigning religious and political groups.  Jesus did not seek the violent overthrow of these groups, but neihter did he show much concern for their stability…

The second answer to the foregoing questions is that these basic attitudes have to be acted on.  This is a matter of spiritual integrity.  To be opposed to the established order in principle, but in favor of keeping it exactly as it is, is an incongruity necessarily destructive of prophetic faith.  Beliefs are not genuine unless they affect one’s conduct as well as one’s mind.  To anticipate the coming of the Kingdom of God is merely sentimental, a private frivolity, unless one seeks ways of reshaping society according to the form of the imminent community.  The Christian universe is not, as we have seen, an eternal and changeless order; it is a universe moving, under the impetus of the Word of God, toward radical re-creation…

Finally, however, it must be said that Christianity forbids us to assume the inevitability of failure.  It requires hope, and hope pertains to the immediate, as well as the eschatological, future…It is reasonable to be skeptical concerning the possibilities of social transformation.  But human beings have no warrant for holding fixed opinions in this matter, for they cannot know the kind or degree of change God intends to effect in history.  And those who accept Christian principles do know, through Christ, that all things move toward the Kingdom of God, however humanly incomprehensible the movement may be…

Why Aren’t Evangelical Christians Saying Trump is the Anti-Christ?

trump-with-evangelical-leaders
Now that the title of this post has got your attention, I want to point you to historian Walter G. Moss‘s piece at Newsweek: Trump’s A True-Believing Christian?  Tel Me, How Does That Work?

Moss begins:

Shortly before his death in 1900, the Russian philosopher and poet Vladimir Soloviev completed “A Short Story of the Anti-Christ.”

He described his fictional twenty-first century character (based on the Biblical antichrist) this way: “He loved only himself. . . . This man would bow down before the power of Evil as soon as it would offer him a bribe.”

His “conception of his higher value showed itself in practice . . . in seizing his privilege and advantage at the expense of others . . . . The moral achievement of Christ and his uniqueness were beyond an intellect so completely clouded by self-love as his,” which displayed “a complete absence of true simplicity, frankness, and sincerity.”

I was reminded of Soloviev’s story by a recent History News Network article in which Ed Simon asked, “If the anti-Christ is supposed to be a manipulative, powerful, smooth-talking demagogue with the ability to sever people from their most deeply held beliefs, who would be a better candidate than the seemingly indestructible Trump?”

Simon admitted that accusing Trump of being an anti-Christ is giving “the president far too much credit. At his core he is simply a consummate narcissist with little intelligence and less curiosity, one who has somehow become the most powerful man in the world.” Soloviev’s anti-Christ is also far more gifted than Trump.

And yet, as Simon notes, it’s ironic that evangelical Christian leaders, who have often warned of liberal anti-Christs, “seem to lack the self-awareness to identify something so anti-Christian in Trump himself. Or worse yet, they certainly recognize it, but don’t care.”

Granted, I have played-up the sensationalist parts of Moss’s piece, but the rest of the piece offers a good analysis of Trump’s claim to Christian faith and the court evangelicals who believe him.

Michael Gerson on the Loss of the “Evangelical Gag Reflex”

Trump Graham

Washington Post columnist Michael Gerson, an evangelical Christian and former George W. Bush speechwriter, wonders why the court evangelicals are not sick to their stomachs right now.   We wrote about this piece of evangelical history on January 13, 2018.

It is also noteworthy that Gerson is now freely using the phrase “court evangelicals.”  I guess it’s a mainstream term now.

Here is a taste of Gerson’s piece, “The Trump Evangelicals Have Lost Their Gag Reflex

Graham was in denial about Watergate until the last. When he finally read through the Watergate tape transcripts — including profanity, political corruption, lying, racism and sexism — Graham remembers becoming physically ill. He said later of Nixon: “I wonder whether I might have exaggerated his spirituality in my own mind.” Graham’s biographer William Martin quoted a close Graham associate who was more blunt: “For the life of me, I honestly believe that after all these years, Billy still has no idea of how badly Nixon snookered him.”

And later in the piece:

The problem, however, runs deeper. Trump’s court evangelicals have become active participants in the moral deregulation of our political life. Never mind whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is of good repute. Some evangelicals are busy erasing bright lines and destroying moral landmarks. In the process, they are associating evangelicalism with bigotry, selfishness and deception. They are playing a grubby political game for the highest of stakes: the reputation of their faith.

Not long after Watergate broke, a chastened Billy Graham addressed a conference in Switzerland, warning that an evangelist should be careful not “to identify the Gospel with any one particular political program or culture,” and adding, “this has been my own danger.”

The danger endures.

Read it all here.

Robert Jeffress’s Half-Baked 2 Kingdom Theology and Christian Nationalism

Trump Jeffress

Court evangelical Robert Jeffress recently tweeted:

Court evangelical Robert Jeffress, the pastor of the First Baptist Church of Dallas, has recently made the following claims about Donald Trump:

  1. Trump is correct, from a Biblical point of view, in making a preemptive strike on North Korea
  2. Trump is correct in deciding to ban immigrants  based on race.
  3. Trump and the government he leads does not need to conform to any standards of Christian character because according to the Bible the only purpose of government is to protect its citizens so that they can live and worship freely.

This “two-kingdom” view of politics is not new.  Jeffress’s view of government looks something like Martin Luther’s view of government.  Jeffress believes that Christians should never hold the government accountable to moral or Christian standards.  I don’t know any Lutheran who believes this.  So I am hard-pressed to say Jeffress’s view is Lutheran.  Most Lutherans I know believe that there are always times when Christians must criticize the government and political figures when they go astray.  Lutherans don’t believe that government can be redeemed, but they certainly believe that speaking boldly in defense of truth, justice, and love is a biblical mandate when falsehood, injustice, and hate raises their ugly heads.  I will need some Lutheran ethicists, theologians, and historians to help me here (and maybe some New Testament scholars), but I seem to remember German Lutherans learning this lesson in the 1930s and 1940s.

The piece to which Jeffress links in the tweet above celebrates this half-baked two-kingdom view.  If I have time I will try to engage with the piece in another post.  In the meantime, here are two tweets to get us started:

Darryl Hart, am I right about this?

“Who would now identify conservative Christian political engagement with the pursuit of the common good?”

Believe Me JPEGEugene Scott of The Washington Post believes that evangelicals continue to “apply moral relativism with Trump.”  I have a lot to say about this topic, but I don’t want to give too much away.  My book Believe Me: The Evangelical Road to Donald Trump will be here in a few months.  (Thanks for pre-ordering)

Here is a taste of Scott:

Winning the White House has always been important to evangelicals. But historically, winning people to the Christian faith has taken higher priority. To some within the tribe, it appears the former has replaced the latter.

The Washington Post columnist Michael Gerson, a leading evangelical, recently wrote:

“At the Family Research Council’s recent Values Voter Summit, the religious right effectively declared its conversion to Trumpism.

Who would now identify conservative Christian political engagement with the pursuit of the common good? Rather, the religious right is an interest group seeking preference and advancement from a strongman — and rewarding him with loyal acceptance of his priorities. The prophets have become clients. The priests have become acolytes.”

Read the entire piece here, including Scott’s take on Franklin Graham.