(This is the first of a two-part article making The Case Against Christianity Today, an editorial response to retired Editor-In-Chief Mark Galli’s controversial article entitled Trump Should be Removed From Office, 12.19.19)
The typical CT approach is to stay above the fray and allow Christians with different political convictions to make their arguments in the public square, to encourage all to pursue justice according to their convictions and treat their political opposition as charitably as possible.
– Mark Galli, Christianity Today, Trump Should be Removed From Office, 12.19.19
Billy Graham, probably the most famous and universally respected evangelist among Christian leaders in America, began his long journey of preaching the gospel full-time shortly after World War II. As his famed crusade and passionate preaching grew, Graham became an iconic public figure; though he would tell you this was never his intention.
One of the many roles he took along the way was to provide pastoral counsel to many of our past presidents, and even candidates. At first, he did not want to seem partisan and would not openly endorse candidates. Later on in life, to the chagrin of many fundamentalists, he did endorse a candidate that did not exactly align with mainstream Christian theology.
Graham would take bold stands against many controversial culture issues that impacted our world. In the early 1950’s, he refused to continue an event if blacks were not allowed to sit or stand where they choose, rather than be separated because of their race. He opposed feminism during the movement to pass the now-defunct Equal Rights Amendment. In 1973, he openly denounced apartheid, and would not visit South Africa while the government refused to integrate seating for blacks.
Though some evangelical leaders do not condone taking an open stand on politics, one Christian leader invoked the word “coward” towards believers that chose not to be involved.
Christians involvement in politics dates back before the days of the Roman Empire. The faith-based community is led by the words of Scripture combined with the supernatural. All throughout world history, the two aforementioned entities stand diametrically opposed to the secular authority of the day. If we are to be true to our faith, we must honor our King first, then the secular king (as directed by the Word of God).
On this subject, Reverend Graham stated in an article from Newsweek that politics is secondary to the Gospel, which transcends earthly realities. “You know, I think in a way that has to be up to the individual as he feels led of the Lord.”
Reverend Billy Graham with former president Richard M. Nixon. (Photo Source: Carlos Schiebeck/AFP/Getty Images)
In 1956, Billy Graham started the evangelical publication Christianity Today (CT). It was during a time when many voices were surfacing to inform believers on how to handle the issues of the day, discuss popular topics within the faith, and to raise awareness regarding many happenings in society. This was in a day and age when there simply wasn’t many choices in media.
Over the years, CT had been viewed as a widely accepted voice for believers to rally around. However, for the better part of the 21st century, CT has demonstrated a steady departure from fundamental, or what we would call mainstream, Christian worldview.
Mark Galli, the now retired former Editor-In Chief for CT, demonstrated gall and veracity by stepping out in support of the “banana republic” house impeachment, where the vote was unanimously partisan. He then prefaces his thesis by declaring CT as a publication that “encourages all to pursue justice according to their convictions”.
As many believers displayed their disapproval for Mr. Galli’s outlandish position on this matter, the president of Christianity Today doubled-down on his support for the retired editor.
But back to the issue of politics in general…
As the late Reverend Graham demonstrated to us as believers, though your involvement in politics and issues that affect us all should be measured against our honor of Jesus and Scripture, there is nothing wrong with getting involved on some level. In fact, it is not a stretch to say that some issues (if not many) require us as followers of Christ to take a stand for or against. The greatest example of such is the matter of abortion. It is biblically and morally necessary to support the protection of the defenseless unborn. And with the stand that our leaders have taken against what God and our founding fathers put in place, there are many more issues that we must pray about and take a position in favor of our Lord.
When I decided to follow Christ in my youth, I had to make many conscientious decisions that challenged me to pick and choose which master I will serve today. It is through this process into adulthood that I began to realize if you believe what you say you do, then you must live it out in everything you do; and not just on Sunday morning or around your believing friends. This is when I was confronted by many issues that still present us with challenges that require us to take a stand.
For Mark Galli to say that support of Donald J. Trump places your beliefs in question, not only goes against what the CT founder stated, but also shows poor judgment on his part.
In Part II of this series, I will answer the question of “Are We Justified in Supporting Donald J. Trump?”
Chris Gaines, Stand & Kneel
(Feature photo source: Konrad Summers, Flickr)