(RNS) — This week Christians around the world will be celebrating the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. For those of us who choose to follow Jesus in the United States and self-identify as evangelical, Christianity Today magazine has been one of the most significant journalistic outlets for discussion, Christian witness, and concern.
On December 19, 2019, Christianity Today's general editor, Mark Galli, wrote an editorial called “Trump Should Be Removed from Office.” One may or may not agree with Galli’s message regarding impeachment, but the heart of his words encouraged American Christians to spiritually reflect about the repercussions of support of the president:
“To the many evangelicals who continue to support Mr. Trump in spite of his blackened moral record, we might say this: Remember who you are and whom you serve. Consider how your justification of Mr. Trump influences your witness to your Lord and Savior.”
Galli’s statement provoked international media attention and a response from President Trump via Twitter that sought to marginalize Christianity Today as “a far left magazine, or very ‘progressive’” media outlet. It is within that context that we, as friends and elders of Christianity Today, make this statement:
The United States evangelical and Christian community is at a moral crossroads. Our country has never been more politically divided with white evangelical Christians at the heart of much of the political discord. Regardless of whether or not one agrees with Galli’s conclusion or his argument, we write to affirm his courage and the bold decision to have Christianity Today officially take a stand regarding the Trump presidency.
As leaders who love Jesus and are committed to the Bible, obedience to the Holy Spirit, spiritual transformation, and Christian witness, we affirm the questions posed by Galli’s editorial and his encouragement for Christians to engage in the public square with their political convictions in ways that are constructive and respectful to others with whom they disagree.
Finally, we affirm faithful evangelical witness, application of Scripture, and spiritual discernment allow for a faithful Christian witness that may come to similar conclusions as Galli’s overt challenges to the policies and actions of the Trump Administration.
The false binary posed by allegiances of certain evangelical Christians to one political party inhibits our ability to be faithful to the witness of Christ and his kingdom. May Christians in the United States enter into the 2020 elections with a recommitment to the Good News of the gospel that calls us to righteousness in Christ, faithful Christian witness, and responding to the needs of our neighbor.
Although one may not agree with Mark Galli, we have an obligation to consider the character and actions of this president. Our faithful witness to Christ and the future legitimacy of American Christianity is at stake.
Amy Julia Becker, author and speaker
Dale Hanson Bourke, author
Mae Elise Cannon, author and executive director of Churches for Middle East Peace
Rob Dalrymple, author and pastor
Richard Foster, founder of Renovaré
Marlena Graves, author
Chris Hall, president of Renovaré
Daniel Hill, author and pastor of River City Community Church, Chicago
Evan B. Howard, author
Sam Logan, president emeritus of Westminster Theological Seminary and associate international director of the World Reformed Fellowship
George Marsden, professor of history emeritus, University of Notre Dame
Rich Mouw, president emeritus, Fuller Theological Seminary
Natasha Sistrunk Robinson, author, diversity consultant and leadership coach
Ron Sider, Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Theology, Holistic Ministry and Public Policy, Palmer Seminary at Eastern University
Nikki Toyama-Szeto, executive director, Evangelicals for Social Action and The Sider Center
Please note: Titles used for identification purposes only.
(The views of this commentary do not necessarily reflect those of Religion News Service.)