James Robison, Wayne Grudem

Kris dug this one out of her iPad’s aggregator and it comes from James Robison’s site, and I don’t know where to begin… Wayne Grudem, a former colleague of mine, is well-known for blending Americanism and Christianity, and this chart below is a summary of his basic set of theories of what the enemy wants and what Grudem believes.

My instinct, when I see things like this, is to say Constantine. I am entirely in favor of a government that works for justice and peace, and I am orthodox and biblical etc and that shapes how I see God’s will. But there is for me here a colossal equation of American political theory with biblical revelation, but perhaps you see it differently. What say you? How would you explain this chart of Grudem’s to a European evangelical? to a South American evangelical? or to nonChristians around the world? How big is Grudem’s influence with this set of beliefs?

[Robison writes:]During our recent Leadership Summit, Wayne Grudem, Ph.D., who is a professor at Phoenix Seminary and a gifted author, began to write what God revealed to him concerning the strategy and effectiveness of the enemy. He outlined the enemy’s tactics and contrasted them with the will of God as it relates to many issues of deep concern to everyone who understands the importance of faith, family and freedom. The information he shared was sobering, but true…

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  • Dan Brockway

    Wow, so God is apparently a member of the TEA Party? I wonder how he’d explain point 4 to Palestinian Christians? Or point 6 to the all of the colonized and oppressed people groups who have felt the stinging side effects of American militarism, especially in light of points 16 and one.

    And (point 17) God’s desired result is prosperity?? Explain that one to Jesus…

  • Luke

    But these are his “politics according to the Bible,” or, perhaps politics according to Grudem, or politics according to right-wing hijackers of Christianity, or politics according to American civil religion, or politics according to Grudem’s eisegesis in order to rid himself of cognitive dissonance he experiences when he reads Scripture and sees things condemned he supports. Take your pick. The latter would be a good book title from the 1800s.

    Grudem’s influence among my peers is nothing, but I fear for his influence amongst most conservative Christians. He’s so good at proof-texting and has such a strong personality, claiming everything is “biblical” and “according to Scripture,” I’m afraid he’s leading many people astray. That’s why I’m quick to always point my peers, particularly those who have grown up very conservative in civil religion, folk religion, & fundamentalist circles to authors like N.T. Wright, Christopher Wright, Tim Keller, Richard Hays, Michael Gorman, etc. Who we read has a tremendous influence on our beliefs, so the more we steer easily-influenced people away from the likes of Grudem & Mohler’s civil religion, the better. Sorry if that sounds harsh, but desperate times call for desperate measures.

  • T


    This isn’t just Americanism; that would be more tolerable, I think. That this is specifically and thoroughly Republican-brand-Americanism presented as God’s will to counter Satan is what makes it just so unfortunate.

    To be so certain about God’s will for each of these issues, most of which are so, so far from spelled out in the scriptures, and have it all line up so perfectly with one party within one nation’s politics . . . wow.

    I just hate to see this because Grudem has worked so hard and been much more careful with his main area of work.

  • Daniel

    I have a feeling this could easily turn into “Let me count the ways I dislike Grudem.” He certainly will be outnumbered here.

    To the question at hand, I wonder if Europeans or Africans have that different of a value for life than Americans. Certainly Grudem is writing for a North American evanglical audience, no surprise that his perspective reflects such. I doubt Europeans care much about our national security.

    I do wonder what a similar chart made by Jim Wallis would look like. At what points will conservatives and liberals be able to agree?

  • Scot, I hate to be so negative about a former prof, but this is an appalling confusion of American civil religion with Christ-following. Frankly, I’m stunned, and not only at that confusion but at the amateurish and jingoistic presentation of ideas here. This chart looks like it’s pitched at a middle school audience. Is that the state of the debate about these matters, or do those of Wayne’s persuasion believe that serious thinking and healthy exchange of ideas is best practiced through talking points?

  • Kenneth McIntosh

    Regarding Grudem’s points, I see two different kinds of problem:

    #1-3. These are a very selective group of sexual moral issues. He makes no mention of pornography (more than 1/3 Christians uses..) or divorce (more than half of Christians have been)or domestic violence (don’t have stats but I’ve counseled scores of beaten Christian spouses). How about human trafficking for prostitution (not blaming believer for this one but it is a huge problem in the USA and I think it breaks God’s heart).It just seems that fairness would cry for a longer list than the sexual issues Grudem pinpoints in #1-3. What makes these the especially “bad” issues?

    And regarding #5 and #6, I just don’t see at all where these ideas can be found in the Bible? They may be perfectly good political philosophies but I can’t see any stretch of exegesis where they are “Biblical” positions!

  • I’m just as saddened that this is on James Robison’s site as that Wayne Grudem wrote it. A sad mixture which results in a civil religion. Jesus allied to Caesar. Good summary of political positions of the conservative religious right. Needs thorough critique and dialog.

    How are we to live out this faith, this grace and kingdom come in Jesus is the question. His summary takes for granted what many Christians take for granted. In fact if you differ, you are an anomaly as in odd ball. Really as I think about it, there can’t be any discussion on these points. At least in my experience.

  • ….so much more here. No wonder we evangelicals are considered anti-intellectual, with hopefully all due respect to Wayne Grudem.

  • Angela

    This makes me so sad. Sad indeed.

  • Scot,

    Although many of these issues aren’t high on my priority list and although I would even hesitate to mention them in mixed company, I don’t see anything unbiblical about them, nor has anyone else.

    On the contrary, I appreciate a robust Christianity that can speak with wisdom into every situation – education, international relations, sexual conduct… Perhaps it is your own embrace of a liberal, postmodern social agenda that has made Grudem’s positions distasteful to you?

  • Ben

    God cares about American patriotism? That sound you hear is Greg Boyd weeping.

    Truth be told, I actually agree with some of this, some of it is cringe-inducing and the “defense” portions are sad and disturbing.

  • Joe Canner

    Item #22 pretty much sums it up for me: if your version of evangelism runs up against hate speech laws that probably says more about your evangelism than it does the law.

  • Ben

    Joe, that’s a good line, but it’s actually the area/s where I agree with the list.

    I keep getting stuck on 6 and 7. They actually make a pretty good case for Barack “6 Wars” Obama. Goodness gracious, politics has been poison for evangelicals. I used to get so frustrated with things like this, but echoing others, it’s just sad.

    I want the evangelical political spectrum to be larger than choosing between Wayne Grudem and Jim Wallis. I want to be able to vote for pro-life liberals and anti-war conservatives. It’s ironic how limited our choices are in the freest country in the world.

  • Jason Lee

    Wow, that’s an impressive example of political identity driving theology. That chart is almost unbelievable considering the following Wayne has among neo-Calvinists and others.

  • Ben

    It’s also ironic that if you used this list as a voting guide, you would pretty much only vote for godless libertarians (if godless libertarians ran for office). A congress full of Ron Paul’s (I know he’s a Christian) would implement 80 percent of this list, whereas voting for conservative, God-fearing Republicans would only maintain the status quo, as we’ve seen for decades now.

  • Craig Querfeld

    After reading this chart, I finally put a finger on the things that I had seen in a strand of American Christianity that unsettled me: Entitlement. The chart makes us believe that we are entitled have the freedom to flourish economically, to be well educated, to share the gospel publicly, and to be protected by law. I believe that we have to be more concerned with fulfilling our responsibility than claiming our so-called rights. Entitlement does not lead to the advance of the gospel neither to the real issues of interacting with society. It only leads to a separation and isolation.

  • If at one point I had any respect for Wayne Grudem, it is now gone. What a shame that he takes the God of the Kingdom and turns him into a narrow-minded bigot that has trouble with reading comprehension. As somebody who sees the pain of poverty in my office every day I have to call sinful and unbiblical any notion that God’s “desire” is protection of the rich at the sacrifice of the poor. Equally as sinful is the notion that poverty is earned.

    “Who sinned here?” the disciples asked Jesus as they approached a blind man sitting, cup in hand, on a narrow Jerusalem street….

  • T

    Daniel (4),

    It might turn into that, but what I see a lot of so far (including Scot, myself, mike, Ted) are people who like Grudem, who respect and think highly of his work, and are surprised and saddened by this particular piece. In my view, it’s beneath him.

    5, 6 and 7 alone are way more complicated than that (for example, does the tendency for the US to BE the aggressor with the most powerful military resources in the world matter?). Judges are given the task of interpreting and applying the law. Ironically, Grudem’s interpretation/application of the scriptures to this particular point takes far, far more liberties with the scriptures than I’ve ever seen a judge do. So, yes, on the statement that it’s God’s will for us to have a stronger military than we currently do (!) with the assumption that such does not lead to aggression on our part, and the statement that it’s God’s will for judges to interpret and apply laws without “making” law aren’t “biblical” at all in my view. It would be just as easy, if not easier, to show that we’ve become too quick to use military strength, too quick to use violence as policy, and that we need a strong judiciary to continue to check against legislators and presidents who continue to expand their power and reach in Constitutionally suspect ways (Patriot Act, for example). For all these reasons and more, Grudem’s wedding of Republican-brand-Americanism isn’t just sad, it is a disservice to the scriptures that he otherwise is very careful with, even when we disagree. Again, I like Grudem. I like some of his work very much and he’s a gift to the Church. This chart is sad to see.

  • T

    Sry, second paragraph was for Daniel Mann (10) as well as Daniel.

  • Susan N.

    I made an earnest effort to read Grudem’s ‘Systematic Theology’ a few years ago. At the time, I sought to understand where Calvinists (at least the current “neo” highly vocal/visible brand) are coming from theologically. In spite of the fact that there are some elements of truth, imho, within that particular theological system, so many other points (which have become *the* major campaign of the “party”, if you ask me) thoroughly repulse me. Because it has been packaged as a “system” of thought-belief, one can hardly be half in and half out of agreement with it, right? (There’s a mentality of, if you’re not “with” us, you’re against us…”)

  • DanS

    I’m a conservative and I agree with much of what Grudem would endorse, but I would not directly link most of my political beliefs with my faith – there is no chapter and verse that directly argues for patriotism, and I would never argue for patriotism from biblical texts. I have not read “Politics According to the Bible”, so I don’t know how Grudem argues that any of these positions are directly “biblical”.

    Nevertheless, the complaints here about Grudem’s list seem excessive. Is it not true that the Old Testament forbids murder because man is created in God’s image? Is it some radical power trip for a Christian to oppose abortion on that basis or want laws in a DEMOCRACY to reflect a very reasonable limit? Or to oppose our current president who defended live birth abortion as an Illinois senator? Is it not our right as citizens in a democratic republic to support positions for any reason and make a case?

    And how is that any different that Tony Jones endorsing gay civil unions? Is his position not based in part on his (somewhat tortured) reading of Biblical texts?

    I get that conservatives should not act as if the United States is God’s chosen country. I get that Christians can argue reasonably for either just war theory or a more pacifist approach from various Biblical texts.

    But I sense a lot of the criticisms here are less about Grudem linking Christianity to his politics and more about disliking the political views themselves. Me, I’m just as offended that Jim Wallis continues to peddle his left wing agenda under the banner “God’s Politics”. I don’t hear folks here complaining about Wallis linking his politics to his Christianity (even claiming moral high ground in meeting with the President and congressional members to argue for a “moral” approach to the debt debate). I have no problem with him advocating his views, but calling them “GOD’S” politics is every bit as presumptuous and offensive. But I doubt if Wallis or Jones will ever be taken to task here for linking their political views with their faith. That’s only a no-no for conservatives in the current climate.

  • YIKES! I am a self described political conservative, and I am rather uncomfortable with this presentation. I would find agreement with a number of the issues listed here such as abortion and such. However, #’s 4, 5, 6 & 7 may be reasonable policy positions to take, if your are conservative, but putting it in terms of what God wants?

    #10 is just offensive and silly.

    #20-24 are pure Americanism wrapped up in Evangelical terms, and, again, to reduce Christianity to these terms is offensive.

  • Neal B.

    Sad indeed. As another former student of Grudem, I’m very disappointed that he has produced this strident embrace of civil religion. The list depicts a man in a defensive crouch, railing at a world that has changed beyond recognition and refusing to see how God has been at work in that change. On top of all that, it’s a shocking abandonment of the notion that God is sovereign. It would appear from this chart that “the enemy” is the all-powerful one.

  • I can’t imagine a clearer example of the “interpretive pluralism” that the current posts on Christian Smith’s book describe.

    This raises the huge question: What does it imply, not only about the Bible but about God, that people who consider the Bible to be the final authority come up with such widely divergent – I dare say contradictory – “biblical” views on so many ethical issues?

    The diversity within the Bible itself deconstructs the very human desire to systematize its contents into a religious or political ideology.

  • Amos Paul

    Indeed, I agree that while *some* of these issues might be Christian… this list is Republican, not Christian.

    (@ #6)

    Those are excellent observations. Our worst enemies are not the things the Republicans are screaming about on TV, it’s the things we’re completely ignoring.

    (@ #15)

    I don’t mean personal offense to as you may not actually know, but that statement is libel against Ron Paul. He wouldn’t support government being involved in hardly *any* of this list. That’s what makes him Libertarian.*

    *Issues 5 is an exception. Libertarians care about legislation from the bench affecting the whole nation.

  • Ben

    Amos, I have a different perspective. I said 80 percent (thinking mostly of war/defense issues), but the rest of the list is kinda-sorta libertarian in my opinion. You said, “He wouldn’t support government being involved in hardly *any* of this list.” It seems to me much of the list is advocating getting government (at least federal) *out* of various things, taxes/hate speech/education/parenting ect. These are the areas where I mostly agree with the list (and Ron Paul).

  • Amos Paul


    I got the impression that this list wants government to *do* something about most of this issues–such as force schools to teach evolution and creation, belief in God, standardized testing and education standards, etc.

    I felt that this was from a big, federal government perspective–rather than a let the state and local level decide these issues for themselves perspective. Morality, Belief, Lifestyle–Libertarians would say that these aren’t government issues at all since government should get the shannanigans out of them.

    [As well as international warfare, economic management and manipulation, etc.]

    A *Christian* list might outline this or that issue and list ways we can positively act on behalf of Christ and good values without reliance upon secular government and/or coercion.

  • Holly

    Oh my stars. Even God listens to Glen Beck, apparently! This is really surprising (and troubling) from someone of Grudem’s stature. Does this mean that Grudem studies Barton?

  • T,

    Some of the recommendations I too find troubling – “renewed belief in America’s goodness.”

    I wonder whether Grudem, a Calvinist, could possibly have promoted such an idea????

  • Ben

    “I felt that this was from a big, federal government perspective–rather than a let the state and local level decide these issues for themselves perspective.”

    Well this is interesting! I guess it could go either way depending on how you read it. Perhaps Grudem will specify where he’s coming from.

  • Fish

    This is a huge reason why the number of people in American society who do not attend church is increasing.

    As a Christian, I have agonized over how I can possibly be in fellowship with people who have these views. It is as if Christ calls out to mammon from the cross.

    In the past, I’ve actually forbidden my daughter to be around this type of Christian, told her she could not go to events at certain churches with certain people. She is better off around a pot party than the tea party.

  • Pat Pope

    I couldn’t get too far down this list. What sets my alarm bells off first are James Robison’s comments, “what God revealed to him concerning the strategy and effectiveness of the enemy. He outlined the enemy’s tactics”. I believe we have a real enemy, but as one who spent time in the charismatic circle, there are just phrasees that tip me off as to where the conversation is headed.

    Secondly, on the chart, the first item is life and ALL the enemy is concerned with is death of babies??? How about about just simply death? I just feel this chart is far too simplistic and is simply a reflection our tendency to want to categorize everything and put it in nice, neat packages. Oh, that life were that simple. If you fall for this then you’ll not recognize other social issues/problems. This is probably why many churches are behind the eight ball on many issues because they’re only focused on one area and then are sorely unprepared to deal with current matters.

  • The problems with this have been well noted. The trouble for me is how many people define their theology in intentional contrast, becoming reactionary, to this list.

    It’s not so abhorrent that the automatic right answer is to do the opposite, which has become the predictable stance among neo-progressives.

  • dopderbeck


    (I am being told by the comment system that my comment was “a bit too short,” so I’m adding meaningless text here….)

  • Craig Querfeld

    I would be interested in hearing answers to Scot’s questions about how would explain this point of view to a Christian who has grown up under a repressive government or, at the very least, where freedom is not a “right” to be claimed. I also wonder how this perspective affects our commitment to world evangelization and how we do missions overseas.
    To answer my own questions:
    My Peruvian brothers will graciously not saying anything because they respect the work that missionaries have done in their country but internally would disagree strongly with this perspective and dismiss them as “gringo” ideas.
    I also believe that an entitlement “theological” position as espoused by Grudem and others can seriously squelch our missions commitment. Why serve others in other cultures when I have all the comfort here and now being able to “fight” for my rights?
    I also believe that this perspective engenders strong feelings of ethnocentrism which, in turn, can seriously the ability to carry out an significant and deep incarnational ministry in other cultures. How do I reconcile the idea that God wants freedom of religion and speech when the culture (country) I serve does not guarantee that freedom and has never had it? Does this mean that I should not serve in that culture? Even though I believe that we, Christians, can fight for governmental changes, is it the missionary’s job to do that as an outsider or is it his job to teach/disciple nationals to work to change their culture?
    I believe that Scot’s questions are challenging us to look at these issues from another cultural perspective not just answer these questions from our own political/theological perspective.
    As always these issues raise many more questions. Thanks Scot for this discussion.

  • Gerald

    The scary thing about this is that it is so telling about what is important to most Evangelicals. With the upcoming elections, this kind of dribble will only increase. As far as Robison is concerned this chart is a fund raising gold mine. He is playing to his audience.

  • pds

    (Ed. Note – we removed reference to a comment that has been deleted)

    DanS #21,

    Great point about Jim Wallis and “God’s Politics.” Where’s the outrage?

  • Richard

    Interesting to see a theologian move so far from even conservative biblical theology in his understanding of God’s desires and Satan’s plans. But then again that’s easy to do when we recreate God in our image instead of looking to the image of God in Christ. Can I bring Moltmann in to bear on the desires of this God of Grudem’s:

    “…only by Christ is it possible to tell what is a Christian church and what is not. Whether or not Christianity, in an alienated, divided, and oppressive society, itself becomes alienated, divided, and an accomplice to oppression, is ultimately decided only by whether the crucified Christ is a stranger to it or the Lord who determines the form of its existence…” (Moltmann 3, Crucified God)

    I especially chuckled when he cited the Declaration of Independence as God’s desire…

    And on #1, if Satan’s desire is the death of babies, why did he leave off war and poverty – those kill far more lives (and babies) than abortion clinics.

  • Bill

    I am stunned. Very informative.

  • @ 37 pds,

    I hope you’ll note that I didn’t call Grudem a narrow-minded bigot – only this caricature of a god he drew here. For some people these issues are merely political and/or theoretical. For others they are daily realities. Every day people walk through the doors of the organization for which I work who need food, clothes, or assistance with their utilities – among other things. I get to see not only the problems and needs that these people have, but I get to interact with the root causes.

    I’ll tell you, when a person who has worked their whole life and has found themselves on unemployment for the first time can’t feed their children because politicians withhold their money for political gain a hostile response is nothing but appropriate. When a disabled person’s food stamps don’t stretch far enough hostility is acceptable. When Christians promote the idea that people who are in need are there because of their own doing, when people like Grudem refer to helping them through tax structures as “rewarding non-productivity” while at the same time promoting policies that protect their own bank accounts I think there is a place for hostility.

    I won’t apologize for being angry that somebody in his position has said and promoted such reckless and unbiblical approaches to policies regarding the least of these.

    It is #17 I am taking issue with. I am frustrated by others but my hostility is reserved to the notion that the cause of poverty is in the lap of the poor or tax-structures that aid the poor. I am actually pretty fiscally conservative and I understand incentive, hand-ups, and the like. But I also know that more people are starving because we’d rather cut assistance to the poor than look for alternative ways to fund our government.

    And here’s the deal – if those who are benefiting from the Bush-era tax cuts had upped their charitable giving I’d have a lot less of a problem. But charitable giving tends to remain the same even while programs are cut cause a greater number of people to slip into poverty. Cutting Medicaid, food stamps, and withholding unemployment means that people go hungry, sick, or homeless. I’d be all for cutting funding to these if that meant that an equal or greater amount of money made its way towards programs that help people but it doesn’t. Retirement accounts look a lot more healthy though…

  • DRT

    This is actually frightening to me. Its almost like realizing that you are going insane and have lost control. I say that because I see this attitude prevalent here in rural VA and I feel as if we are really going insane.

  • Aaron

    Plenty of politcal rhetoric and talking points. I wouldn’t use this chart to explain anything about the USA or Christianity or God’s view of things. Stunning!

    #1 Dan: I don’t what a Palestinian Christian is. I do know what an Arab Christian is and every Arab Christian I know, generally speaking, wants to see Israel secure.

  • pds


    Why post out of context bullet points from James Robison’s blog? Why not address Grudem’s views as expressed in his 624 page book?

    Here is what JI Packer said about his book:

    “Conservative and hard-hitting both biblically and culturally, . . . [it covers] the whole waterfront of America’s political debate with shrewd insight and strong argument . . . . An outstanding achievement! –J I Packer, Regent College, Vancouver.”

    I wonder if his 624 page book has bit more nuance and reasoned argument than this out of context bullet point summary?

    From Justin Taylor’s review with an excerpt:

    The five views that Grudem argues against in the first chapter are:

    1. Government should compel religion
    2. Government should exclude religion
    3. All government is evil and demonic
    4. Do evangelism, not politics
    5. Do politics, not evangelism

    Grudem’s “better solution” is “significant Christian influence on government”:

    The “significant influence” view says that Christians should seek to influence civil government according to God’s moral standards and God’s purposes for government as revealed in the Bible (when rightly understood). But while Christians exercise this influence, they must simultaneously insist on protecting freedom of religion for all citizens. In addition, “significant influence” does not mean angry, belligerent, intolerant, judgmental, red-faced, and hate-filled influence, but rather winsome, kind, thoughtful, loving, persuasive influence that is suitable to each circumstance and that always protects the other person’s right to disagree, but that is also uncompromising about the truthfulness and moral goodness of the teachings of God’s Word. (p. 55)

    Some of the people commenting here could benefit from this exhortation.

  • More than anything, this strikes me as reactionary.

    When Jesus declared good news, he was declaring how the kingdom is and then encouraging us to live accordingly. Grudem seems to be lamenting that the world isn’t the way he wants it.

  • pds


    Too bad you did not encourage readers to read Grudem’s own 3 page introduction to his views (rather than Robison’s post), which is freely available:


    Of course, that might have reduced the fireworks in the comments.

  • The facts speak for themselves. This is Americanism (and a bit of exceptionalism) mixed with Christendom. Nothing new. Americanized Christianity has been around a good while. And, hopefully I’ll live to the day when American Christians will destroy their idols made of red, white, and blue.

  • pds, thanks for the links. Why do you think Robinson has bullet pointed Grudem in this way? I’m not familiar with Robinson. Is there an end he is trying to reach?

  • DRT

    pds, that intro does nothing ease my fright with his work. It just makes me certain that the table is pre-meditated and not a spur of the moment thing that I thought could be true because of the intro, and that makes it even more frightening.

  • pds

    Scot asks:

    “How would you explain this chart of Grudem’s to a European evangelical?”

    We don’t have to wonder. Grudem himself explains his views to a European Evangelical:


  • DLS

    How is this any different that what appears daily on The Sojourner’s site?

  • L. Lee

    GRUDEM HAS WRITTEN A NEW BOOK -Politics According to the Bible. It might be a good idea to review it.

  • DLS

    whoops, someone made that point already 🙂

  • Adam

    I think my whole problem with this list can be summed up by C.S. Lewis in The Screwtape Letters.

    You will say that these are very small sins; and doubtless, like all young tempters, you are anxious to be able to report spectacular wickedness. But do remember, the only thing that matters is the extent to which you separate the man from the Enemy. It does not matter how small the sins are provided that their cumulative effect is to edge the man away from the light and out into the Nothing. Murder is no better than cards if cards do the trick. Indeed the safest road to Hell is the gradual one-the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts,…

    Grudem appears to be calling out only specific and spectacular sins and missing that the enemy’s major weapons are far more subtle. Where is gluttony, sloth, and wrath on that list? Where is pride?

    It has been my experience that what generally gets called a Major sin (like homosexuality) is actually a symptom of a deeper problem (child abuse). But child abuse is not on the list. That seems like a major weapon of the enemy.

  • Josh T.

    What’s more annoying to me than the politically-charged individual beliefs is the fact that this is claimed to be something that God revealed to him.

    How can people argue against that? He’s set this up in such a way that people appear to be against God if they disagree with him.

    Even so, I find #10 especially weird with God’s alleged desired result being “America’s renewed belief in its own goodness.” Huh? I don’t even believe in my own goodness. That’s just plain nuts, IMO, and far from orthodox Christian thinking.

  • Barb

    the points about Children bother me more than the others. Where are these totally homogeneous school districts where all the parents can agree on what religion should be taught to the children. I can think of many where that would be Mormonism. If schools were run as he suggests I would have to break my vow against homeschooling.

  • Ben

    “How is this any different that what appears daily on The Sojourner’s site?”

    This point has been made several times now. Why are people under the impression that Jim Wallis isn’t taken to task daily for this? Google his name (communist, Marxist, heretic).

    I sense people are feeling worn down by the whole thing. The right is probably feeling the heat of the backlash a bit more (fairly or unfairly) because of the last 30 years or so, but I see fewer people getting a free pass anymore. The comments here are remarkable if you think about it. Liberals, conservatives, people who don’t care about politics, it feels like there’s this groundswell of people saying, “ENOUGH!” The mixing of religion (whatever your religion) and politics (whatever your politics) has been toxic and devastating for everyone involved. The more people who push back, from wherever it comes, the better, IMO.

  • pds

    JoeyS #40,

    Grudem in his book clearly states that Christians should care for the poor and assist the poor. He disagrees with some of the methodologies for assisting the poor, and discusses the best way to assist the poor. I recommend that you read it, and explain why he is wrong.

  • Dana Ames

    I apologize in advance for the long comment.

    I went to the links pds provided; I read the introduction and skimmed the first chapter. I listened to all the interview. I think Dr. Grudem is a very sincere man who wants to influence people to turn to God.

    I found much there to relate to C. Smith’s points regarding biblicism, particularly: 3. Complete coverage; 7. Internal harmony; 8. Universial applicability; 9. Inductive method; and of course, 10. Handbook Model. Not knowing what kind of historical study Dr. Grudem has done, I cannot say about Smith’s point 5, Democratic Perspicuity, but the sense I get is that this is assumed. Just read his book next to the bible and it will all become clear.

    “I wrote this book because I was convinced that God intended the Bible to give guidance to every area of life—including how governments should function!”

    “I see these positions as flowing out of the Bible’s teachings rather than positions that I hold prior to, or independently of, those biblical teachings.”

    “I believe the Bible’s teachings about politics will bring hope and beneficial change to people in every nation where they are put into practice. When these teachings are put into practice in a nation, it will be good news for those who are oppressed, good news to those who long for justice, good news to those who long for peace, good news for young and old, weak and powerful, rich and poor—good
    news for everyone who will follow the wonderful paths of freedom and sound government that are taught in the pages of the Bible….Therefore I hope that as people and nations follow these principles for government, they will begin to see a reversal of the continual decline in peace, civility, liberty, and civic goodness that we have seen in recent decades in our societies, and instead we will begin to see regular progress toward increasingly good, leasant, productive, low-crime, free, and happy civil societies in which we can live.”

    “In chapter 3 I survey the Bible’s teachings about the purpose of government and the characteristics of good
    government and bad government.”

    “I attempt in chapter 4 to lay a foundation concerning the main components of a Christian worldview…”

    “I examine about sixty specific current issues. I attempt to analyze them from the standpoint of that biblical understanding of civil government and that biblical worldview and also with reference to specific teachings of the Bible that pertain to each issue.”

    “Is there a correct view that is different from these five wrong views? The view I propose….is different from each of these wrong views, and I think it is much closer to the actual teaching of the Bible.” P54

    In the interview: He wants to show how the Word of God applies to aspects of life. He says his book is a comprehensive resource. He says Wallis in “God’s Politics” claims God is a Democrat (subtitle of Wallis’ book indicates he thinks both Democrats and Republicans are wrong). He says pacifists think all government is demonic (this is not so). Interestingly, he makes a comment to the effect that genuine faith is freely chosen and is not compelled. (True; but can he really be a Calvinist if he believes this?)

    I guess it’s only people in other countries who are oppressed, long for justice, etc. I guess all they and we have to do is follow principles and everything will be hunky-dory. I guess there’s only one “Christian worldview” and it’s what he teaches. He doesn’t bring any assumptions to his reading of the bible; all he finds clearly taught there is obvious. It’s all so simple; why don’t we just shape up and get our act together and follow the formula?

    This, along with the Robison post Scot brings to our attention today, is representative of why I stepped back from Evangelicalism, and kept stepping back: the circularity and shallowness of this kind of theology. It’s Exhibit #1 for the point of C. Smith’s book.

    I know there are Evangelical theologians of substance; Scot is certainly one of them, and I’ve read a few others. They have a lot of good things to say about eternal issues, and they are willing to consider the realities of actual life when discussing “practical” matters. Unfortunately, theologians of Scot’s stature are nearly unknown to the average people in the pews. This is all part of a huge ball of wax, aspects of which Scot keeps bringing up for discussion here.

    I hate that I feel like I have to say it, but here it is: I was registered Republican for a lot of years, but for the last several I have been a “decline to state”. I’m fed up with the shenanigans of politics of all stripes, especially when candidates make a play for votes on the basis of culture war issues.


  • Ben Wheaton

    I’m not sure why certain people are snarling so fiercely over the particular items on this list (DRT, calm down…), it’s pretty standard conservative boilerplate.

    Having said that, standard conservative boilerplate is baptized by Grudem as God’s will in this list, which is unacceptable. Just as unacceptable as Wallis and his wretched “Circle of Protection.” Christians can and do disagree about economic matters, but one particular view should not be held up as the “Christian” view.

    But I’m wondering why this was posted…all it’s doing is creating more contempt and hatred for Grudem on this site.

  • Daniel

    Ben @56, do a Google search and you will find almost as many singing his praises. I think what we are asking for is that the same critical eye that is placed on Grudem at this site be placed on Wallis. He was certain enough of his position to title his book “God’s Politics.”

    The point is that respondents on this blog take a fair amount of interest in hammering Grudem and his political positions. A little self-reflection would be nice.

    It is pretty interesting that few respondents offer substantive response to the topics listed. OK, if Grudem is wrong on the “life issue” what alternative is proposed? Of course the life issue is more complex than just abortion. Our whole culture is awash in death. Just look at the weekend crime rate in Chicago for example. But if Grudem is wrong that God desires life what do you progressive Christians maintain the Bible teaches on this subject? How about “moral standards”? How about “freedom of religion”? Does the Bible say something that different from what Grudem is proposing?

    Again, If one were to take Jim Wallis’ book and construct a similar chart, where would it differ?

  • Albertomedrano

    I’m shocked at the list. I have no words. Is America God’s Kingdom becoming manifest?

  • Ben

    Daniel, Grudem has supporters and detractors (here and elsewhere), Wallis has supporters and detractors (here and elsewhere). Are you disagreeing with that or are you making a different point entirely that I’m overlooking?

    Part of what I was trying to convey is that I think (or perhaps simply hope) people are getting fed up with both in their approach.

  • Mike

    I don’t know whose god this chart is about. It is not my God. And I’m as patriotic as the next conservative Christian who mostly votes Republican.

    Pogo was right. We have met the enemy and he is us.

  • Adam

    @Daniel #60

    I made an attempt at creating a counter list but the blog comment format doesn’t work so I dropped the idea.

    Additionally, many of the items can’t be addressed “as-is” and a proper response to the individual item is to recast the context. In terms of the “life issue” many have already commented on that. Abortion is just a subset of Death. To offer a good alternative to the “life issue” murder needs to be addressed, and unjust war, and drug cartels. But again, that level of response does not work in a blog comment.

  • pds

    Ben #59,

    “But I’m wondering why this was posted…all it’s doing is creating more contempt and hatred for Grudem on this site.”

    I tend to agree with you.

    “standard conservative boilerplate is baptized by Grudem as God’s will in this list, which is unacceptable.”

    If you read Grudem’s intro to his book (link at #45), I think that this is not a fair way to describe him. The chart creates a false and simplistic impression of Grudem’s views, which is why I agree with your other point.

    Did Grudem intend this chart to be posted separate from the presentation for which it was made? If not then Robison should not have posted it, and Scot should not have reposted it.

  • DRL

    It is always sad to see how driven Grudem is by his own pre-conceived conclusions–despite all his appeals to biblical texts. I am sure Grudem sincerely loves the Lord. And I may even share some of his dearest American values. But let’s end the hermeneutical ventriloquism and bungee jumping, Wayne. Stop trying to force the Scriptures into your biases and please, please, stop presuming to speak in the name of the Lord!

  • Daniel

    Adam @ 63, that is too bad it did not work. I would like to see it and I think we could have a fruitful discussion.

    As is, this particular post is creating more heat than light. Hardly anyone is addressing Scot’s original questions and that is unfortunate.

  • Wow, I have no words. This is very troubling.

  • That whole chart looks like syncretism to me. Although there are points Grudem makes which also concern me, overall he takes an approach toward government that seems flavored with Christianity (a political voice speaking at Christians to speak to gov’t) rather than prophetic Christian voice directed at governing authorities out of scripture. That, imho, is also one difference I see in what Sojourners does over this chart.

    pds, #43, & aside to JoeyS #47, I note that Robison says that the chart is “Dr. Grudem’s notes”, so your “out of context” comment is incorrect unless you are addressing Robison as taking the chart out of context. Are you? If you are, why not comment on Robison’s blog rather than here? Note the footnote at the bottom of Robison’s page: Compiled by Wayne Grudem, June 28, 2011.

  • pds

    Ann F-R #68,

    See my comment at #64.

  • DRT

    Ben Wheaton#59, I guess it is not obvious why we should be frightened by this. Let me give some examples.

    1. Life – What about obesity, lack of medical insurance, pollution, guns and almost anything else one can think of.
    2. Sexual morality – What about prostitution, polygamy and underage marriage, lack of sex education, objectification of women (BTW, my favorite part of C. Smiths book so far is the Deut. Passages on taking the hot women, hilarious). Improper unloving male images.
    3. Israel – What about compromise and respect.
    4. American system of Gov – I think it borders on insane for this to even be on the list.
    5. Defense – what about nuclear proliferation, instability of nuclear owning states, reduction in military, using the military for unwarranted economic gain (which we do),
    6. National Debt – this is the closest I agree with, but I don’t believe it is in our interest to have a balanced budget.
    7. Moral Standards – His blame on evolution and relativism is simply insanity to me. Evolution of some form is definitely real, demonstrably real, and not admitting it at this point is simply ignorance or malice, and relative good and evil is absolutely (ha!) the way it is.
    8. Patriotism – He is putting country ahead of god and on top of that he has the obvious manifest destiny type of mentality of the superiority of America when there is nothing intrinsically better about America. He also objects to discussing mistakes, but that is the most important thing to discuss. How else do you not do them again. This is childish.
    9. Children – The is truly frightening as others have noted. Nothing about child abuse, pornography, lack of nutrition, lack of a nuturing environment, and, to top it off, he wants people who do not believe in god (teachers do not have to believe in god) teaching kids about god. This guy is way off base.
    10. Racial differences – This is not too frightening. Though he is obviously promoting vouchers in a grandious (disconnected from reality) way.
    11. Freedom – Economic freedom and slavery to government/ What? I don’t even understand what he is saying. Is he saying the taxes are too high?
    12. Poverty – OK, here is the other half of the Freedom one. Here he says taxes are bad and that means the rich are hurt even worse by them. He also says the poor have entitlement mentality. So how are the poor in bondage? By paying too much tax or getting too many benefits?
    13. Natural Resources – This one is very frightening because his solution is “Joyful and wise use of earth’s resources”, yet he already said that environmental warnings and global warming are bad so he does not agree. Again, frightening that someone can really be promoting that there is no global warming at this stage, frightening.
    14. Belief in God – Frankly that is something that everyone has to decide about on their own. Why does he not want the parents to teach this?
    15. Freedom of religion – He is just wrong. We have most of everything he asks for. What he doesn’t want is other religions having the same right.

    OK, this may be commonplace, but it really is frightening to me because this radical agenda is being taught using my god as the backing. Terrible.

  • Robert

    I see nothing there but cultural/nationalist bias. It’s inbelievable, for instance, that the only threat he sees to democracy is judges not overmighty banks, media, and other businesses. Does his God care about the poor – I assume his Bible has Jesus proclaim good news to them, the same as mine – or about Palestinians?

  • Brantley Gasaway

    For those of you who feel like Grudem isn’t getting enough love, or for those of you who want a brief laugh, check out this (ahem) moving tribute.

    Do North Park students sing similar tributes to Scot?

  • Daniel

    Dry@ 70, there’s no need to be terrified. You don’t want to live like that. As Luke@ 2 says Grudem has no influence among his peers.

    Don’t live your life in fear.

  • pds, I looked at those links and listened to the Vimeo on your blog. I heard Grudem broadly misrepresent Wallis and pacifists within 5 minutes. He omitted the subtitle of “God’s Politics” when he commented on it, and claimed that Wallis said God was a Democrat. I look at the chapters & subsections in his book and couldn’t find anything hopeful to change the broad view his chart gives here. To the contrary… I agree w/ DRT.

  • pds

    DRT #70,

    So many uses of “frightened” and “frightening.” The phrase “fear-mongering” comes to mind.

    #41 “Its almost like realizing that you are going insane and have lost control.”

    Isn’t this a bit over the top?

    Grudem: “Do I think everyone who tries to follow the Bible will agree with my understanding of these issues? No. In a book that covers sixty political topics, many readers will agree with me in some sections and disagree with me in others. . . . I think we grow in our understanding by discussing and reasoning with one another (in a civil manner!).” p. 18.

  • Adam

    @Daniel #66

    I’ll try it on the first one.

    Topic: Life

    Enemy’s Desired Result:
    All things to perish. This is different from Grudem’s in that I assume the enemy hates ALL things that reflect the life of God. Therefore the enemy desires adults and babies to die. He desires every creature in the sea and creature of the earth, and creature in the air to die. The enemy also desires plants and ecosystems to die in that all things that live, flourish and thrive represent the creative goodness of God. Therefore the enemy is actively pursuing the destruction of all these things.

    Means to reach that end:
    Alienating humans from each other and all creation makes it easier for them to cast these other things as “the enemy”. Isolation and ignorance are some of the best weapons our enemy has for getting humans to be destructive towards one another. Anger at my brother is just as good as outright murder. The enemy’s tactics to achieve the death of all things is to keep all things isolated from each other. How many different strategies does the enemy have to achieve this? I would guess thousands.

    In contrast to Grudem’s means; abortion. Abortion is more a symptom of a greater problem than an actual cause. Proof of this can be found by asking the question “What would ACTUALLY happen if we banned all abortions? More specifically, where would all those babies go? I don’t believe that forcing unwilling parents to deal with unwanted children will end in paradise. More is going on here than just abortion, and the enemy is capitalizing on that.

    God’s desired result:
    Two directions on this. The first and simple direction. God wants less death. Less starvation in third world countries. Less cancer from over tanning. Less murder from gang violence. God’s desired result is an abundance of life for all.

    The second direction which is a bit more complicated. God’s desired result is transformation. As is obvious, death hasn’t gone away. The work of Jesus on the cross didn’t stop people from dying. The pattern of death & resurrection gives a very interesting perspective on what God is actually after. God does not appear to be after the end of death, because everything still dies. It appears He’s more concerned with transformation: a creature stops being what it once was and becomes something new.

    So, there’s an attempt to show the complexity of these “issues” and to say that Grudem’s list is shallow and obviously tied closer to a political agenda than the will of God.

  • DRT

    pds, I don’t think I am over the top, but this is an it is a must read.

    My daughter is part of the faithful.


  • Jim Wallis is not the “left” equivalent of Wayne Grudem. Those on the “left” (both in Christian and political circles) scoff at the notion of Wallis, at best described as a liberal leaning centrist, representing the “left”. It’s sad and pathetic when a public voice that speaks out for the poor and social justice is cast as extremist “left”. I wonder what the same people conjure where MLK falls on such an axis, where he makes Wallis look like Richard Nixon.

    On Grudem, I am puzzled as he is indeed heralded as an authoritative voice in conservative church circles — his _Systematic Theology_ book is a staple, on just about every pastor bookshelf, from what I have witnessed. But, I have read a good bit of _Politics – According to the Bible_ and was simply astounded. And the chart proffered here is representative of the text, where the conservative American Christian political playbook is proof-texted in every facet. Which, given his authorship of _Systematic Theology_, it seemed far fetched that his exegesis of scripture was entirely based on fitting a political agenda with no recognition of nuance. Take for example, Exodus 21:22-25 where Grudem writes that this is an explicit pro-life directive forbidding abortion. But according to Hebrew Bible scholars (like James Kugel), that is 180 degrees apart from what the ancient interpreters believed or even Jerome & Vulgate.

  • JohnM

    Too bad he had to include certain of the topics listed being that he’s quite correct on others. I’d love to see the proof texts for some of these 😉

    Be honest though, if he listed the same topics but drew a “God’s desired result” conclusion that agreed with your own views, would you still object?

  • nathan

    His nuances in other material really don’t matter because of the actual effect these kinds of bottom line positions have for the average pew sitter that eats this stuff up (depending where you are from, of course).

    My only other reaction to this list is what a strange amalgamation of good things, cultural arrogance, and downright blasphemy.

    Then again, his whole “evangelical feminism is a blasphemy against the Trinity and will necessitate a slide into rejecting the authority of the Bible” shtick a few years back really shouldn’t make this stuff surprising.

  • DRT

    JohnM@80, good thought, would I feel better if his result agreed with mine. I have to say that his thought process would be totally different too. I like to think that I would not be supportive unless his rationale was better.

  • Daniel

    Adam @77, OK, this is a good start. Certainly the issues are far more complex than the chart included in the OP.

    As you noted earlier, blogs limit how one lists and explains their ideas. If you, and others, genuinely desire to find out the rationale behind the chart, a good place to start is with Grudem’s “Politics According to the Bible.” There are even footnotes for those of us who read them! Even though one may disagree with the positions he takes, he at least offers some substantive basis for his position.

    Maybe someday Scot might take some of these specific issues and have a dialog. Similar to the presenting of an article in a journal followed by a rejoinder followed by a surrejoinder, etc.

    It can be time consuming for the original poster to come back repeatedly and interact with those who disagree but, as we have seen with the Jeff Cook series on hell, it can be done. I think it might keep the vitriol on a lower level. For some reason it is easier to clobber one we disagree with when they don’t even know we are doing it. I’m not saying you are doing that but some here today …. Well, you get my drift.

  • DLS

    To call Wallis a “left leaning centrist” is pretty funny. If Wallis is a centrist, then so is Grudem.

  • MK

    I’m pretty disgusted reading the comments on this blog. I don’t agree with everything Grudem says, but the vitriol for a fellow brother expressed by others here is shameful.

  • Bob Davidson

    Haha… This is amazing.

  • I’m an European (post)evangelical. And I have no idea what this is. If I’d show this to non-Christians here in Belgium they’d really be scared of this kind of ideology..

  • pds

    MK #85,

    Me too. Some of the comments are simply embarrassing. And these are not the worst of them. Scot deleted a fair amount of insults and name-calling. The Neo-Liberal Movement has quite a mean streak. Reading this blog has become too depressing to me.

    These comments were provoked by posting a misleading chart that was never meant (I believe) to stand on its own. Very few people have the Christian charity to read Grudem’s book and engage substantively with his reasoning.

    I am glad he left this one (#31) about “shunning” conservatives:

    “In the past, I’ve actually forbidden my daughter to be around this type of Christian, told her she could not go to events at certain churches with certain people. She is better off around a pot party than the tea party.”

  • rjs


    Actually Scot is traveling, and I was on the road most of yesterday myself. This was not an easy post to stay on top of via “hand held” access.

    As there are some predictably conservative commenters, so too there are some predictably liberal commenters – and I wish both extremes would learn moderation in expression.

  • heath

    What happens when the flag and the Statue Liberty and all our symbols are ground to a powder and placed at the feet of Jesus? What sort of allegiance will we pledge at that time? This is not about being a liberal or conservative. It’s about going beyond the brandings and living as resurrection people now. Let Toby Keith sell his records and let the ACLU do its thing. Let us live worthy of our calling. We have went from a handful of lay people – with no Google, iPhone, nothing – who on foot turned the world upside with the gospel to a people so obsessed with branding that we deny the very power that is within us.

    Shame on us all.

  • *sigh*

    Grudem is a nice guy. I would be so sad if I were him reading this. Not because of the disagreement but because of the over the top statements and just plain rude comments.

    You don’t have to agree with him to treat him (and his views) a bit kinder than some are doing.



  • Ben

    I posted yesterday that I agreed with some of the list, reading it over again today, I actually agree with more of it than I realized, however I’m also even more troubled by the parts that I thought were objectionable. I also mentioned Greg Boyd yesterday, does anyone know if Grudem has ever engaged his work? I’d be interested in read that. I think Boyd tackles some of my concerns better than anyone else has in recent memory.

    “The Neo-Liberal Movement has quite a mean streak.”

    C’mon, is there a movement that doesn’t have a mean streak? And speaking for myself, I’m very conservative, so I don’t know what Neo-Liberalism (whatever that is) has to do with anything. You don’t have to have a particular political bent (or any political bent) to be concerned about the Americanization of Christianity.

  • Daniel

    LOL at all the sighing going on. Sigh …

  • Richard

    @ 88, and 92 to clarify

    pds, you’re mis-using the term “neo-liberalism.”

    Neo-liberalism isn’t the same as “liberal,” it’s actually the political and economic reaction to the liberal policies of the 40s-60s. I know it’s counter-intuitive but it’s “liberal” in the European sense of emphasizing property rights, individualism, and free market policies. Economic founders would include Friedman, Mises, etc. Politically it would include Reagan, Thatcher, both Bushes, much of Clinton’s approach, and even the current practices of the Obama Administration (note I said practices, not rhetoric). It has been the driving framework behind globalization.

  • covguy

    Just a thought here Scot, how about posting some of the same objectionable thoughts from say Jim Wallis, Tony Campolo, or Al Sharpton? I’ll bet you a coke and a hotdog that those who lean left politically won’t say a thing of their intermingling of Scripture with their “vision” of government.

    I’m with MK – I find some of Gruden’s thoughts/ideas objectionable but the vitriol here is very sad.

  • DRT

    I agree with my detractors that I used the f wor
    d too much. I could and should have made the statements then said why it frightens. me.

  • Richard


    The tricky part with that is that Wallis is pretty clear God doesn’t belong with the elephant or the donkey, he’ll judge both. And so much of what he says is lifted straight from the prophets that its pretty tough to argue. Heck, even President Obama asserted that Jesus’ pacifist teachings don’t fit with national defense; something Gudem refuses to concede.

  • covguy

    @97 – Jim Wallis not a Democrat operative? Funny thing is that Wallis takes money from George Soros (a billionaire atheist who made his fortune injuring the poor by collapsing the British Pound Sterling and the Malaysian currency) to influence American evangelicals to vote for the Democratic party.
    Tony Campolo of “Red Letter Christians” sits or did sit on the Democratic National Committee’s Platform committee.

    This chart may be Robinson’s interpretation of Gruden’s work, for argument’s sake lets assume that Gruden’s work are columns 1 & 4. Some of these I have no problem with and I think that are self evident, for instance: #2 Sexual Morality, God’s desired result: Healthy marriage between one man and one woman. Others I find deeply troubling and would like to understand more, for instance: #10 Patriotism, God’s desired result: renewed patriotism. Really?

    What I find very disheartening here, is that many have lept to what would appear to be an Pavlovian response – see comment #1; to outright hatred of other believers who one differ’s with politically – see comment #31.

  • Nick

    Wow – that list is just plain disturbing to me as a British Evangelical – now I see why the lecturers at the college I studied theology had such objections to Grudem!

  • Richard

    @ 98

    Whether or not Wallis votes democrat or republican is irrelevant – the issue is that he doesn’t claim God as a member of the democratic party, unlike many on both sides of the aisle that try to make that claim.

    Personally, I use Abraham Lincoln’s response to a woman praying that God would be on the side of the Union to guide my political involvement: I don’t pray that God will be on my side but pray that I will be on God’s side (paraphrase)

  • Derek

    I agree with DanS.

    Furthermore: social problems, such as abortion, drug abuse, chronic debt, etc share a common element in that they point to discord with the Creator. While Grudem’s list here is fairly selective, I don’t have a problem with it because he is making connections and demonstrating how they are connected to a larger strategy and set of “spoils” that are at stake. I also suspect that when we are able to see our culture wars on the other side of eternity we will probably see that his list was more correct than it was incorrect, even though it is far from complete.