Disgraced evangelical leader, Jerry Falwell Jr., infamously noted in 2016 that we were not electing a “pastor” to the presidency, but a “commander” in chief. And many evangelical leaders have echoed that sentiment. Of course, they never did before Trump, but whatever. That’s just one aspect of the abject hypocrisy of 2016 on their part, so add it to the growing pot.
Of course, the idea is we don’t want political leaders who would operate under the constraints of Christian teaching or example. That’s for pastors. No, we want mean “SOBs” for political leaders. As long as they claim to be “pro-life” and basically for us, then we will over-look any dishonesty, racism, sexism, rudeness, ignorance, and incompetency. In fact, even if they have been sued with Jeffrey Epstein, or accused of unwanted sexual contact/assault, these evangelicals would still be okay with the person as long as the right political ideological and policy boxes are checked off correctly. Got it.
But here comes, no less, the well-respected evangelical leader/pastor/theologian John Piper to basically say: Farewell Trump. He brings a wrecking ball to the pragmatic, power-hungry, anti-Christian, immoral, and Machiavellian viewpoint just described.
Do I agree with Piper theologically? No. Do I respect him? You bet. He’s broken ranks with these other evangelicals because he has a modicum of principle and decency. He is, at least, Biblically literate. He has integrity and wisdom. He’s not a hypocrite. Can we say the same of the other evangelicals already mentioned? Let the reader decide. But, no, we can’t.
And why wouldn’t we want political leaders held to the same standard as Christian pastors? What would be wrong with that? Here are some of the criteria, edited for applicability:
“The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer [pastor-priest], he [he/she] desires a noble task. Therefore, an overseer must be above reproach…sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money…” (1 Tim 3)
I don’t know, those sound like things we should look for in almost all leaders, religious or otherwise. The fact many evangelicals don’t want those criteria applied to political leaders is troubling to say the least.
Anyway, a shout-out to John Piper. Good for you man, good for you. Respect.
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