I found from Wikipedia: “Christianity Today magazine is an evangelical Christian periodical that was founded in 1956 by Billy Graham and is based in Carol Stream, Illinois. The Washington Post calls Christianity Today, “evangelicalism’s flagship magazine”. The New York Times describes it as a “mainstream evangelical magazine”. Christianity Today magazine has a print circulation of approximately 130,000, of which approximately 36,000 is free, and readership of 260,000, as well as a website at ChristianityToday.com. The founder, Billy Graham, stated that he wanted to “plant the evangelical flag in the middle of the road, taking the conservative theological position but a definite liberal approach to social problems”. Graham started the magazine as counterpoint to The Christian Century, the predominant independent periodical of mainline Protestantism, and as a way to bring the evangelical Christian community together.”
I often find useful reports, on social media, from Christianity Today, that I follow with interest because it informs me on what is happening in the culture at large and how some, often influential, Christians are reacting to these. Most recently, it has come to the notice of mainstream media and it has invited strong reaction because of its editorial: “Trump Should Be Removed from Office – It’s time to say what we said 20 years ago when a president’s character was revealed for what it was”. Given MSM’s antipathy toward Trump it is little wonder they are intrigued and welcoming of this reaction from what is often seen as a member of his evangelical support base, as evidenced in this CNN interview. As for the evangelicals themselves, support for and opposition to the views expressed in this article can be seen among the normal suspects; who can say which group provides the majority opinion?
The editorial by Christianity Today’s editor, Mark Galli, concedes that Trumps detractors are out to get him, e.g. “Let’s grant this to the president: The Democrats have had it out for him from day one, and therefore nearly everything they do is under a cloud of partisan suspicion. This has led many to suspect not only motives but facts in these recent impeachment hearings. And, no, Mr. Trump did not have a serious opportunity to offer his side of the story in the House hearings on impeachment” and that evangelical opinion is divided and it is not the intention to be politically biased one way or the other, yet he argues “the facts in this instance are unambiguous: The president of the United States attempted to use his political power to coerce a foreign leader to harass and discredit one of the president’s political opponents. That is not only a violation of the Constitution; more importantly, it is profoundly immoral”, which as far as he is concerned is borne out in the impeachment hearings and accordingly Trump needs to go.
To say I find this editorial regrettable, patronising, disappointing, faulty and lacking in discernment etc. is an understatement. It seems to me Trump, despite his many faults and not wanting to defend the indefesible, is far better than the alternatives, past and present, for leading his country, and this point is barely recognised. I also found its dismissal of sound, spiritual, thoughtful Christians who support Trump for spiritual reasons grossly offensive and missing the point that in the eyes of some of us, God has raised him up “for such a time as this”. I get it that the CT editor should be free to bring truth to power, especially as a Christian he supposedly knows the Truth, but sadly I find him to be fixed on the wrong target (i.e. the swamp drainer). I have given my opinion on what I do see as the impeachment charade (see here). I predict the case when it does eventually get referred to the Senate will be rightly dismissed as being a weak one and I hope the real villains will be exposed.
Despite his faults, there is a strong case for Trump. I hope he not only gets to serve his full term but is re- elected for another term (see here). I am sad that Christians are divided on the matter and one’s attitude to Trump is a major factor. It is true only God is totally qualified to judge, and judge he will and he often does that before he blesses – and judgement begins in the house of God.
Update 29/12/19: Many people, Christians especially, have waded in with their opinions on the rights and wrongs of the Christianity Today editorial, even since I posted my own thoughts. What seems to be the case is that Christians are divided into two camps: those who support the argument for Trump’s removal and those who don’t and as I have found out (I have the bruises to prove it) if one goes from one camp to another to offer an opinion, you are likely to receive short shrift. An example of support for the editor(not surprising as it is the president of of CT who writes) is “The Flag in the Whirlwind: An Update from CT’s President – Why our editor in chief spoke out against Trump, and why the conversation must continue“. A dissenting voice, and one I happen to agree with starts: “Mark Galli’s article of the 20th December in Christianity Today calling for the impeachment of Donald Trump on so called moral grounds was neither courageous nor biblical. In fact, it displayed a remarkable ignorance of the relationship between the Church and the State, as put forth by the New Testament scriptures“. Three years on and polarization regarding President Trump remains, not just by “the Swamp” that wants him to be removed, but among Christians. I have given my view and I am stronger in that view now than when Trump became President for reasons I have given (see here). But the world is in a perilous place and we ought put aside differences – the only hope is the Gospel; I pray we can unite.