In this episode of Bill Muehlenberg’s Culture Watch we experiment with three related stories in one podcast.
On Trump For POTUS in 2020
I was previously quite cautious about Trump, but I am more supportive now. What changed?
Things certainly can change, and even go full circle! Four years ago I was losing friends, getting hated on, and being abused by many folks who claim to be on the same side because I expressed caution about Trump. Now I am losing friends, getting hated on, and being abused by many folks who claim to be on the same side because I express cautious support for Trump.
And of course my many enemies have for a while now been running with the baloney that I am some sort of hypocrite or worse, given my previous concerns about Trump. Moreover, some who are on side are also still angry with me. Well, I will never be able to please my many critics – be they onside or not.
But let me explain things for the sake of other readers here. Am I being inconsistent in my political views? Am I full of double standards? Am I just going with whatever political winds are blowing at the moment? I do not think so, and here is why:
Did I have very real concerns about Trump four years ago? I sure did, and for very good reasons. I and so many other Christians and conservatives had to assess the man as he was at the time, and as he had been. And for millions of us it seemed pretty clear back then that he was not a consistent, constitutional conservative.
Indeed, for much of his life he was not even a Republican. He supported the Democrats, he hobnobbed with the Clintons, he supported various liberal causes, his life was hardly an endorsement of biblical values, and he seemed to be a very poor choice – certainly before the nomination – when we had real deal conservatives and Christians such as Ted Cruz putting their hands up for the top job.
So those of us who were committed Christians and conservatives had every reason back then to be very concerned indeed about Trump being the one we had to run with. Sure, we all knew that Hilary Clinton would be an utter disaster, but we had plenty of legitimate concerns about how Trump would fare.
And for daring to very publicly and persistently express my concerns both before and shortly after the 2016 presidential election, I went through a rather hellish time indeed. So many people were utterly incensed at me and made it clear that I was a traitor or worse…
Evangelicals and Trump
Some thoughts on John Piper’s views on the US election.
Those who have followed me over the years know that I wrote quite a lot about Trump during the 2016 presidential cycle. Back then I and millions of other Christian conservatives had legitimate concerns about the guy. But during the past four years he has proven to be far better than many of us thought he could be.
The debate still rages among Christians – especially evangelicals – over Trump, and how we might vote this time around. There are, however, many Christians like me who have shifted from hesitancy about Trump to support for him – warts and all.
Sure, I and others full well knew that a Clinton win in 2016 would have been real bad news for America, but in the last four years the Democrats and the left have become even more radicalised, more “progressive,” and more opposed to everything we care about.
Never have the Dems moved this far left in their history, and a Biden/Harris win really would be disastrous for the US. Yet some evangelical leaders are still trying to tell us not to vote for Trump, or not to vote for either candidate. American pastor John Piper has been one very famous example of the latter.
He recently wrote an article that some – including myself – have found to be somewhat confusing and concerning. He says for example that the sin of pride is just as deadly as the sin of abortion. Well, yes, in the sense that all sins are deadly, and all sins lead us away from God and to eternal punishment.
But a sin like abortion of course leads to the actual physical death of the innocent. That is something God has often strongly spoken against. And I am sure that over the years Piper has taken the view that most of us have that not all sins are equal, and some are more odious than others.
So how might I and others respond? Needless to say, I have long liked Piper, and have often quoted from him. Indeed, I own 35 of his books. He has been a key populariser of the theology of Jonathan Edwards, perhaps America’s greatest philosopher and theologian…
Christianity, Trump, and the White House
Why Christians need to support Trump.
America will soon determine who will be its next president. Debate still rages amongst the voters at large, and also amongst the Christian community. Whereas in times past such a stark decision facing the electorate would have meant Christians would be pretty clear on who to run with, the continual leftist takeover of the churches has changed all that.
Sure, mainstream denominations have long ago succumbed to theological and political liberalism. But now the woke movement is penetrating the evangelical world big time as well. The left has always hated Trump, and Trump Derangement Syndrome is most certainly real.
Now we have evangelicals strongly pushing a Biden win. Not that they can actually name anything good about Biden, or offer any constructive policies of his. It is all about hating on Trump. The other day I discussed all this, focusing on one evangelical – John Piper – who said he cannot vote for either man.
That discussion continues, with other evangelicals responding to Piper, and others giving a more generic case for why Trump is the right choice. One major response to Piper came from Wayne Grudem. In his lengthy and irenic piece, he explained in detail why he has to differ from his friend. Let me share parts of that article. He begins:
John Piper has been a friend – a good and faithful friend – for more than 40 years. I thank God for his remarkable worldwide ministry, his evident deep love for God, his faithfulness to every word of Scripture, and the way his life of self-sacrifice continues to provide a challenge to me personally. When we have opportunities to be together, I enjoy every minute of conversation with him. I pray for him regularly, as I believe he does for me. I agree with probably 98% of everything he has written and said during his entire ministry. But he and I have reached different conclusions about this year’s presidential election.
…Read more here.
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Bill Muehlenberg teaches ethics, apologetics and theology at several Melbourne Bible Colleges. His independent blog, Culture Watch, has over 5,000 articles commenting on the major cultural, social and political issues of the day. Bill's podcast is exclusively produced for The Good Sauce audience.