Michael Horton begins his article,
“I am not a politician, but a minister who teaches theology. As a citizen of this great republic, I have convictions about domestic and foreign policy, but none of that qualifies me to join the fray of political experts and pundits. I am qualified, however, to engage the topic of significant support among self-identified “evangelical voters” for Donald Trump and what this means, not for the country but what it suggests about significant segments of the US church. –emphasis added
Leading American evangelicals are impressed with Mr. Trump. Joel Osteen has referred to Mr. Donald Trump as “a friend of our ministry” and “a good.” Jerry Falwell Jr. hailed him as “one of the greatest visionaries of our time” and a wonderful Christian brother “who reminds me of my dad.” Pat Robertson gushed in an interview with Mr. Trump, “You inspire us all.” And Robert Jeffress, pastor of First Baptist Church in Dallas, says, “We need a strong leader and a problem-solver, hence many Christians are open to a more secular candidate.”
Horton’s article is worth reading. He digs in,
It is not that Trump has caused this transformation in portions of the so-called “evangelical electorate.” Rather, his candidacy has revealed the inner secularization of significant portions of the movement, which surveys have documented for some time now. Four theological words highlight the problem. –emphasis added
After a brief yet potent treatment of the “Four theological words” (the focus of the article), Horton concludes,
Trump reveals, in short, that for many evangelicals, the word evangelical means something that many increasingly do not recognize as properly Christian, much less evangelical. Then again, if the working theology of American spirituality is a combination of “moralistic, therapeutic deism” (Christian Smith) and pragmatism (William James), then perhaps Donald Trump is after all exactly the right candidate for the moment. –emphasis added, full article here
I’m also encouraged that someone of Horton’s caliber is pointing out some of the same issues I’ve addressed.