This is What Slouching Into Relativism Looks Like

Watch this video of Jim Bakker and Robert Jeffress on Bakker’s television program (if you can’t see it, I have included a transcript below.

Bakker: “Donald Trump. You think evil of him because he says something you don’t understand. But you know what, the people who hate Trump swear worse than that in the streets every day all the time.

Jeffress: “Let’s get real, every president, with perhaps the exception of Jimmy Carter, every president we’ve had in recent history, Republican or Democrat, has used salty language.

Jeffress is right, but that is not the most revealing part of this exchange.

In this clip, we see two evangelical preachers excuse Trump’s language. One seems to be defending the president’s potty mouth by claiming that his opponents use worse language.  The other one invokes history–“every president has done it.”

This is what slouching into relativism looks like.

Call me old-fashioned, but it would seem that a minister of the Gospel should ALWAYS speak-out against this unholy language when it arises as a topic of discussion in a public forum of this kind.  Perhaps such a minister might reference Colossians 3:8, Ephesians 4:29, or Ephesians 5:4.  Or maybe such a minister would quote James 1:26: “Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless.” (Perhaps they did reference these verses or similar ones and Right Wing Watch did not include them in the clip. This is certainly possible).  At the very least, one would think Bakker and Jeffress might shake their heads in disgust when the topic of Trump’s profanity is raised.  Nope–not the court evangelicals.

I am also struck by the fact that Jeffress and Bakker would appear together. These two pastors have many theological differences.  Twenty years ago we probably would not see a dispensationalist (Jeffress) and a prosperity preacher (Bakker) chatting-it-up on the same program.  But Trump-love has a strange way of bringing people together and forming bonds of fellowship within the conservative evangelical church.  Somehow I don’t think this was the source of Christian unity that Jesus had in mind in John 17.

Some Evangelicals Did Not Like Trump’s Use of Profanity at a Recent Rally

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump blows a kiss to supporters following a campaign rally in Akron

In 1982, the evangelical activist Tony Campolo gave a sermon to an evangelical conference called Spring Harvest.  Here is how he began his talk:

I have three things I’d like to say today. First, while you were sleeping last night, 45,000 kids died of starvation or diseases related to malnutrition. Second, most of you don’t give a shit. What’s worse is that you’re more upset with the fact that I said ‘shit’ than the fact that 45,000 kids died last night.

I thought about Campolo’s line again as I read about evangelicals in West Virginia who were upset that Trump used profanity at his recent Greenville, NC rally.  Here is a taste of Gabby Orr’s piece at Politico:

Paul Hardesty didn’t pay much attention to President Donald Trump’s campaign rally in Greenville, N.C., last month until a third concerned constituent rang his cellphone.

The residents of Hardesty’s district — he’s a Trump-supporting, West Virginia state senator — were calling to complain that Trump was “using the Lord’s name in vain,” Hardesty recounted.

“The third phone call is when I actually went and watched his speech because each of them sounded distraught,” said Hardesty, who describes himself as a conservative Democrat.

Here’s what he would have seen: Trump crowing, “They’ll be hit so g–damn hard,” while bragging about bombing Islamic State militants. And Trump recounting his warning to a wealthy businessman: “If you don’t support me, you’re going to be so g–damn poor.”

To most of America, the comments went unnoticed. Instead, the nation was gripped by the moment a “send her back” chant broke out as Trump went after Somali-born Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar, an American citizen. But some Trump supporters were more fixated on his casual use of the word “g–damn” — an off-limits term for many Christians — not to mention the numerous other profanities laced throughout the rest of his speech.

Read the entire piece here.