Christianity Today is the Best of Us
If you don’t know what’s been going on with Christianity Today (CT) and the impeachment you can read the original editorial here, an article in the Atlantic here, or an article from the Washington Post here. So I won’t rehash it.
Today CT has shown the best of what we can be. And before you go running to conclusions about what I mean by that, read the rest (or don’t, as it seems to be a societal standard to rush to reaction without consideration, or even reading a full article now).
First, I want to speak to my fellow Evangelicals (I’ll speak more broadly next). I still claim this title, though it has been admittedly difficult when public Evangelical representatives are mostly known for taking political positions and saying things that are brutally harsh to specific people groups. But most Evangelicals I know are still rooted in a belief that the gospel of Jesus Christ is true, that it is great news, and that we live with a mandate to seek the renewal of all things. That’s something worth believing in.
Evangelicals, here is why CT is the best of us. What we claim, at our core, is that Jesus Christ is our Lord. That means we follow him above all others. Our view of what is right and wrong is not determined by political affiliations, but by his direction through the Bible, the Spirit, and the Church. In regard to our current president, we have not lived this out. We have hemmed and hawed, making rationalizations for a president who consistently denigrates the image of God in people (for instance, when he “joked” that a dead Senator was looking up from hell), turns away the stranger, closes his eyes to the marginalized, and lives his personal life in a way that is a mockery of traditionally Evangelical values.
When a Democratic president has wandered into these waters we have been quick to condemn. Now that a Republican president does, we have refused. I’m not even talking about impeachment here. I am saying that we claim a faith that honors the image of God in all people, welcomes the stranger, cares for the poor, seeks to protect all life (the unborn, yes, but also the powerless immigrant), and even calls us to love our enemies. We claim a faith where the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. We are meant to be a voice that points to the light, not one that makes excuses for the darkness.
What Mark Galli did (and I’m sure the leadership of CT with him), was to take the courageous step of calling out what they believe to be the truth in regard to the law and the way the president has eroded the morality of the presidency over time. They looked to their Lord, and said what they felt compelled to say in His sight. They did not say Democratic policy was right. They even pointed out the way Democrats have gone after Trump from the beginning. But they showed that they are answering to someone seated far higher than anyone from either party.
At our best, we would do the same.
Now for those who are not Evangelicals. I believe CT is the best of you as well. From the outside looking in, CT “broke ranks” today. They were willing to offend a significant percentage of their readers and I’m sure will lose a large amount of support money because of this. But they were not guided by what was comfortable, convenient, or advantageous to themselves. They were guided by what was right. They refused to hold any party line.
There seem to be very few in our society willing to do the same. People hold the party line with little exception. Today my social media feeds were filled with friends who are on the Left lauding what CT did–as they should. But I wonder if they would be similarly courageous enough to “break ranks” when they see things that are immoral, harmful, or toxic on the Left. Our world needs people of all political stripes willing to look for what is good, true, and beautiful and affirm it wherever they find it, rather than holding party lines. I am skeptical of how many of us will be willing.
The other thing CT did today was to take a decided stance in a way that was civil. There was no name calling in the editorial. There were no exaggerations meant to make things seem so much worse than reality. This is the kind of piece people should applaud even if they don’t agree with it. I wish for more journalism and news coverage to be so civil. This stood out because it is so rare.
Today CT proved it is the best of us. They embodied true Evangelical values, looked to truth and goodness rather than party line, and were civil in the process. Perhaps we can all try to follow suit.