By Darrel Cox

Writing in National Review, David French launched another attack on evangelical Christians who support President Trump, calling them out as sinful compromisers denying the supreme purpose of God in their lives.

I wholeheartedly reject French’s rebuke as valid. It is wrong biblically, philosophically and, by extension, politically.

By way of context, I became a follower of Jesus Christ in 1982 when I was 17. Due to my submission to the authority of Scripture, I likewise fall into the category of what is commonly called “evangelical” — a term that is as frequently misunderstood as it is misused. I mention these points upfront since it is people like me who sit in the audience to which French was aiming his rebuke.

It landed hollow, however, because it is fraught with nonsense arguments, non-sequiturs and self-incriminating irony that French appears to miss. Below is just a brief glance at some of the main problems with his accusation.

French began the piece by asking what the ultimate goal of a Christian’s life should be. The lead was obvious: Evangelical Christians who support Trump have strayed from God’s purpose for their lives. French was in essence invoking God’s supreme purpose in Christ as the basis for why an Evangelical should not support Trump. However, the entire argument is nonsense. Everything that follows his opening question is non sequitur to that initial question. Just because pursuing the “common good” (i.e., civil righteousness) of one’s culture is not a Christian’s ultimate goal in this age, it does not follow that it is not an incredibly important responsibility. It is silly to negate numerous areas of God-ordained responsibilities on the premise of God’s ultimate purpose. French would undoubtedly argue that support for President Trump is antithetical to what is good for a nation; but that is an altogether different issue than his main and opening premise.

Voting for Trump and continuing to support the vast majority of his subsequent policies is without question a pursuit of the “common good” of our nation and culture. The choice to vote for Hillary Clinton, or even abstain from voting because Trump is a flawed man, is arguably a choice to pursue (or passively permit) overt and vile wickedness to prevail in the life of a nation. Present space does not permit me to itemize the progressive agenda and examine it in the light of the Good, the Beautiful, and the True — virtues that are revealed supremely in the character and nature of God. Suffice it to say that God expects (and will hold accountable) all post-Fall humans to live according to how we were created. Scripture describes it as God’s “image and likeness.” Even those people groups who deny His existence have long recognized fixed, uniform, and universal moral principles that are a part of our very moral fabric.

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French has no authority to state that Evangelical Christians who voted for and support Trump are guilty of “sin.” He made no case from Scripture; it was merely a fiat judgment of his own making. Ironically, making such a judgment based solely on the basis of one’s opinion is a very serious charge. I don’t think French perceived the irony.

On the other hand, a positive case can be made, contra French, that one of the God-ordained responsibilities of a Christian is to actively oppose evil in one’s culture and promote that which is good. Again, Clinton and nearly every position she actively pursues is contrary, not only to the common good (viz., natural law), but to the very moral fabric of humans made in God’s image and likeness. While it is true that such responsibilities do not fall under the Christian’s relationship to God as Redeemer (in Christ); it is without question the duty of all human beings who relate to God as their Creator (whether they admit it or not). It is called loving your neighbor.

As already noted, French’s article made no sense. I am not stating this because I disagree with his assertions (which I do), but he demonstrates absolutely no correlation between his opinions and everything that goes before and after them. While he is certainly entitled to his own opinions, he is not entitled to determine his own facts — particularly ones that when disagreed with makes one guilty of “sin” in God’s sight.

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Interestingly, if I were to take French’s own actions as my lead, I would have to conclude that the obligation of a Christian is to scold Evangelicals who voted for Trump and publicly shame them for this “sin” — and that this would be my supreme purpose.

Darrel Cox is Professor of Biblical Studies at Patrick Henry College in Purcellville, Va. He teaches core and upper level courses in Biblical Studies and writes curriculum for online classes. Dr. Cox lives near Winchester, Virginia, with his wife and seven children.


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Bible Professor Knocks Down David French’s Attack On Evangelical Trump Supporters
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8 thoughts on “Bible Professor Knocks Down David French’s Attack On Evangelical Trump Supporters

  • May 11, 2018 at 4:01 pm
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    The bible is clear thst governments are instituted by God and that Christians are to pray for their leaders, even the wicked ones. The bible is also clear that Christians are to submit to those God puts in authority over them. To do otherwise is sin. I don’t see any scriptural justification for French’s position.

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    • May 11, 2018 at 6:11 pm
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      In honesty, I never regarded BHO as MY president. He was, and is, evil–God did not put him in authority over me or you. I despise evil, and He gave me permission to despise evil.

      Reply
  • May 11, 2018 at 5:56 pm
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    David French feels entitled to cast ‘the first stone.’ I don’t recall Donald Trump saying that he was without sin. Thie first time I saw footage from Shreveport (I think it was Shreveport) and the Donald had brought aid in a semi and he was conferring with Franklin Graham and Tony Perkins, I knew that there was a higher purpose in his behavior. I woke in a hospital after a minor surgery to the television showing an end to the cease fire that has existed on the Korean peninsula since 1953 and talks between the two Koreas and the US. Something is going on. God Bless Donald John Trump. He has stepped up to the plate .

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  • May 11, 2018 at 6:02 pm
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    Dr. Cox, you are on my list of “HEROES”. Praise God from Whom all blessings flow!

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  • May 11, 2018 at 7:42 pm
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    If anything, Trump was chosen and ordained by God for this time and season. That is the only rationale explanation for why he is POTUS.

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  • May 11, 2018 at 7:57 pm
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    Well I had this very argument about 3 weeks ago over on the DW comment board. As a lutheran, I’ve read in the bible that jesus has stated that we are to pray for those whom god selects as our leaders, whether we like them or not, god has a purpose for them. I had a hard time reconciling that when Obama was in charge. I didnt want to pray for him, but I did so anyway and my prayers either consisted of asking god to force obama into “getting right” or to by some means nullify what obama was doing. I was saddened that I thought my prayers werent answered. I couldnt have been more wrong though. God gave us all the hardship of Obama, precisely to humble us to be able to appreciate that miracle he gave us in Donald Trump.

    Never in a million years did I expect someone like trump, a 3 time married, eccentric, ego driven new york playboy to be the best thing for my country in 40 years. Something else Jesus said was let ye whom is without sin cast the first stone. Which was for the times saying, god will be our judge, and those whom he chooses to put in places of government, and leadership positions.

    Where French gets its wrong, badly, is his thinking that he is somehow the paragon of evangelical living, and he’s not. He , in fact, carries much of the same sin as trump, over-inflated ego.

    What god expects of us is forgiveness nothing more , nothing less. Our ACTIONS are supposed to be our influence, not our words. We do not tell others how to live, but we live our own lives to the best we can and when asked why we live the way we do, cite god as the reason and use our influence that way.

    Is Trump perfect? no……. does he live his life in a way I would? no…… was he the best man for the job at the time of his election? absolutely! Trump is not a god, I dont follow him with some sort of religious fervor, he is simply the best man for the job given the options we were handed this election. I voted for him with concern and was not convinced at the time I filled the dot for him. Now, I’m fully glad I did and whatever wrong trump may have done in his life, God will hold him accountable in the end, its not up to me. All I can do is fill that little dot again in 2020. I have literally gone from a nervous trump voter, one french may have had some influence over if he himself didnt sound like a pretentious A-you-know-what, to an enthusiastic trump voter. I look forward to putting in trump supporting republicans (or democrats if there is such a person) this fall in congress to further the agenda. I look forward to voting for trump in 2020. He has been the best force for good that I can remember since reagan, and I’ll admit most likely, ever, period. The only caveat being, I honestly was too young to really appreciate reagan at the time.

    In the annals of history though, I firmly believe Trump will go down as one of the greatest presidents we’ve ever had. Now its up to us, to give him the congressional support we should have given him last election cycle. No more RINOs, no more leftist democrats. Help Trump bring our country back from the brink of self destruction.

    Reply
  • May 12, 2018 at 5:07 pm
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    You may want to read his article again, as you completely misrepresented it. He does not say “…. Evangelical Christians who voted for and support Trump are guilty of “sin.” rather he addeesses those who refuse to criticize Trump’s personal behavior, or even worse, make excuses for it because it is politically expedient to overlook it. This same demographic was hardly silent on Bill Clinton’s behavior. Why do they hold their tongues now?

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    • May 13, 2018 at 11:23 pm
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      Hi, James. I went and reread French’s article and have to disagree with you–and ironically, for some of the same reasons as I disagree with French. The issues with which he leads the article; civil liberties, abortion, et al. are the things that French established as his initial point; i.e., they are *not* the supreme purpose for a Christian’s life. French itemizes these very things because they are some of the key issues of “civil righteousness” for which he knows Evangelicals voted for Trump and support the President.

      French then leaps immediately into his formal rebuke. It is not just any rebuke, but a severe judgment based on some very serious presumptions. He declares: “Yet there are numerous Christians of real influence and prominence who not only won’t dare utter a negative word about the president, they’ll vigorously turn the tables on his critics, noting the specks in his critics’ eyes while ignoring the sequoia-sized beam in their own . . . . It’s sin, and it’s sin that is collapsing the Evangelical moral witness.”

      Wow. But French wasn’t finished. In apocalyptic tones of warning he declares: “Soon enough, the “need” to defend Trump will pass. He’ll be gone from the American scene. Then, you’ll stand in the wreckage of your own reputation and ask yourself, “Was it worth it?” The answer will be as clear then as it should be clear now. It’s not, and it never was.”

      French’s presumption is equaled only by the nonsense he puts in the mouths of those who disagree with him (the “need” to defend Trump), as well as God’s divine judgment (they have “sinned”).

      That James, is the language that French uses of those who *support* President Trump’s policies, as well as for those who do not get on board and actively speak against President Trump. French was not represented wrongly above. Although his reasoning is nonsense and rebuke is hollow, French’s language is really quite clear. Sadly, such language demonstrates that there are some individuals who despise Trump so much that, in the name of righteousness, they literally prefer that the United States be lead by an individual who would actively pursue and lead the nation further down paths of the most vile forms of wickedness in God’s sight.

      Reply

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