If the stakes were not so high, and the potential consequences so grave, it would be entertaining to watch Albert Mohler and Russell Moore attempt to scurry away from the Frankenstein monster they did so much to help create: The presidential candidacy of Donald Trump.
Almost immediately after Trump’s victory in Indiana, and Cruz’ withdrawal, Mohler tweeted this to signify he would never vote for The Donald:
Never. Ever. Period.
— Albert Mohler (@albertmohler) May 4, 2016
Alluding to the distasteful choice between voting for Trump or Hilary Clinton, Moore re-tweeted this the next morning:
— Bob Roberts Jr. ن (@bobrobertsjr) May 4, 2016
Spurgeon was, and is, right. https://t.co/I38V4zeGzo
— Russell Moore (@drmoore) May 4, 2016
Both men have hastened to get their distaste for Trump on the record, Mohler at his Web site and Moore in the pages of the New York Times, with Moore taking especial pains to deny that a r-e-e-e-a-l evangelical would support Trump.
Mohler attempts, albeit obliquely, to link the ascent of Trump to what he views as an assault upon the family — same-sex marriage.
But if it is remarkable to see what is happening in the Democratic Party, it is absolutely shocking to see what is happening among Republicans. Traditionally, the Republican Party has established its reputation by standing for the principles advocated by the American Founders—limited government upheld by the health of society’s primary institutions such as marriage, family, and community. Yet Donald Trump, the presumptive nominee for the Republican Party, represents virtually everything the Republican Party has typically defined itself over against. Clearly, both political parties are now redefining themselves. What is not clear is where each party will ultimately end up. What is also not clear is whether the American experiment can survive such radical political change.
As already noted, the American experiment in limited government requires that the citizenry and those who hold public office honor certain moral virtues and respect the institutions that are crucial for a society to rightly function. Yet, we now find ourselves in a situation where the three leading candidates for president show little to no respect for such institutions in their articulations of public policy.
The irony is that Mohler views family as merely a vehicle for procreation, and has long been emphatic that family comes behind unthinking obedience to Our Invislble Friend (meaning, obedience to the Holy Man, who is the expert on Our Invisible Friend’s wishes).
As the Gospels make clear, loyalty to Christ exceeds that of any family commitment, even as the church becomes the family of faith, embracing within its life all who come to faith in Christ and into the life of the church. And yet, Christians are explicitly instructed to honor marriage, to raise their children in the faith, and to order their family according to the Scriptures.
And who can forget this sarcasm as Mohler pondered evangelical ignorance of the Bible?
Multiple surveys reveal the problem in stark terms. According to 82 percent of Americans, “God helps those who help themselves,” is a Bible verse. Those identified as born-again Christians did better–by one percent. A majority of adults think the Bible teaches that the most important purpose in life is taking care of one’s family.
It is not a coincidence that evangelicals, subjected to an endless drumbeat of that, have the highest divorce rate in the country.
Moore’s piece undertakes to instruct evangelicals — very few of whom read the New York Times — that …
A vast majority of Christians, on earth and in heaven, are not white and have never spoken English. A white American Christian who disregards nativist language is in for a shock. The man on the throne in heaven is a dark-skinned, Aramaic-speaking “foreigner” who is probably not all that impressed by chants of “Make America great again.”
It’s probably a good thing, for Moore, that few of my neighbors are ever going to know he said that.
Mohler and Moore are struggling to enforce a meaningless distinction, hewing to evangelicalism as a theological stance while sniffing piously at the doomed and dying culture in which it is embedded and from which it draws its strength — chiefly (though of course not exclusively) the racist, anti-intellectual, anti-modernity, misogynistic, south. I am not kidding y’all: That sweet old lady who hasn’t missed a Sunday since that glorious day she was saved 60-years ago once delivered picnic-baskets of sandwiches to the menfolk who stood at roadside and threw rocks at the civil rights marchers — and she doesn’t know bupkus about what’s in the Bible, or what ‘evangelical’ means theologically. What she knows is that the world is changing, that the culture of her community, even her church, is changing, and in a way that she doesn’t like — and that it’s all the fault of those uppity dark people who don’t even speak good American half the time, and those sluts who went to college, and those snooty smarty-pants perfessers, and those newspaper people, and those gay people who want to get married and adopt kids and be a family.
And Donald Trump, bless his heart, hates them all just as much as she and the pastor you educated does, and Trump is going to put them in their place. What’s not to like?
Deny it all you like, boys: It was you who cleared Trump’s way with palm fronds.