In a recent Christian Post editorial, Napp Nazworth claims that evangelical Christians who voted for Donald Trump have compromised their witness and hurt the work of the gospel. He also believes that evangelical leaders who have been brought into Trump’s inner circle have become nothing more than useful idiots (my words), being duped by the allure of power.
With all respect to Napp, whom I honor as a committed Christian and fine journalist, I believe he has overstated his points and confused the roles of politics and the gospel.
Before sharing my perspective, however, let me make clear that: 1) to the extent evangelical supporters of Trump have looked to him to change the moral fabric of the nation, we have made a gross miscalculation; 2) to the extent evangelical leaders have excused the President’s bad behavior (especially in the present, with his tweets and his treatment of others), we have compromised our moral authority (a major point made by Napp); and 3) to the extent evangelicals have exchanged voting for praying and preaching, we have lost sight of our mission.
As the author of the book Donald Trump Is Not My Savior: An Evangelical Leader Speaks His Mind About the Man He Supports As President, I am under no illusions when it comes to our Commander in Chief.
That being said, I differ with Napp’s thesis for four principle reasons.
First, he confuses our vote for a political leader with our personal morality and witness. He wrote, “Before the election, I warned my fellow evangelicals to not vote for Trump, that associating with a person of Trump’s character would damage us.”
But you can vote for someone without tying your soul to that person. You can vote for someone with reservation, even expressing that publicly. You can vote for someone while having a moral difference.
One of the main reasons I voted for Trump (after opposing him strongly in the primaries) was because I was voting against Hillary Clinton.
I felt she would be a staunch opponent of our religious liberties, a zealous advocate for abortion, and a supporter of radical LGBT activism.
In my view, her presidency could have negatively affected our country for many years to come, impacting our kids, our grandkids, and beyond.
Despite my very real concerns about Donald Trump, I hoped he would keep his promises in these key areas (along with supporting Israel). Thankfully, he has, which is why I’m still glad I voted for him, despite the collateral damage.
In the last two years, I have had serious gospel conversations with Trump-hating non-believers, and when I explained why I voted for Trump, expressing my reservations as a Jesus-follower, those I spoke with were able to separate my vote for Trump from my witness for Jesus.
Second, some evangelical leaders have made a positive impact on the president without compromising their moral authority at all.
One of my dearest friends is close to President Trump, and on several occasions, he has lovingly rebuked Trump in strong and clear terms. My friend’s public ministry goes on just the same, affecting as many people as he has for years, and he remains unimpressed by the lure of the White House, having been in different presidential circles over the years.
And he is not alone. There are strong evangelicals on the Cabinet, along with strong evangelical voices like former Ambassador Nikki Haley, who often spoke with prophetic clarity to the UN on behalf of Israel. And there is Vice President Mike Pence, who recently penned a strong article condemning the infanticidal comments of Virginia Governor Northam, calling his position “morally reprehensible and evil.”
This is highly significant, helping to energize the pro-life movement as well. How different things would be if Hillary Clinton had been elected!
Third, I believe Napp downplays the role of the courts in American society.
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Michael Brown