Written by Robert Gagnon
Rather than take the position that reasonable Evangelicals can reasonably disagree, Christianity Today has made it clear that if you supported Republican Roy Moore over pro-abortion, pro-“LGBT,” anti-religious-liberty, pro-activist-judge Democrat Doug Jones you are:
(1) a “fringe evangelical”
(2) who “sold your soul,”
(3) “changed your view of ethics,” and
(4) worked for the destruction (not “salvation”) of Evangelicalism.
The article, “How Black Women Saved Evangelicalism,” is written by John Richards (the managing director of the Billy Graham Center at Wheaton) and appears on the CT blog of Ed Stetzer, a contributing editor of CT. For his “selling your soul” charge Richards draws on Stetzer’s comments in a recent NPR interview. Richards claims that Black women saved evangelicalism not by voting for neither candidate or writing in a third moral candidate but rather by voting for Democrat Doug Jones!
This is just more of the same name-calling that we have seen from other elite Evangelicals. Never mind that voting for Moore is not an endorsement of any *alleged* 40-year-old sexual assaults (which Moore himself vigorously denied committing and calls repugnant behavior). Never mind too that one could make the opposite case, namely, that the sell-outs are those who tacitly supported the homosexual and transgender agenda, abortion, the curtailment of religious liberty, and the appointment of left-wing activist judges that a Doug Jones vote represents. Never mind that the most vigorous opponents of Moore were strongly against him even before any of these allegations came forward. None of that matters, right?
Mark Galli, editor in chief of CT, similarly charges supporters of Roy Moore in his editorial (“The Biggest Loser in the Alabama Election”) with
(6) “sabotag[ing] not only their political cause but … the gospel of Jesus Christ.”
Perhaps I missed the suggestion that voting for Doug Jones would be hypocritical or a sabotage of the gospel.
This is not the first time this has happened. You may remember that back on Oct. 10, 2016 Andy Crouch, Executive Editor, accused Evangelicals who voted for Trump of flirting with idolatry — even if they did so as the only alternative to voting for Hillary Clinton and her hard-left platform of abortion, gay marriage, transgenderism, assault on religious liberty, and radical court appointments. Notice that there was no danger of idolatry in voting for Hillary Clinton with her distinctly anti-Christian program. Move on: There’s no bias here.
One would think that the CT editors would have learned the lesson about the politics of personal destruction and the necessity of civility from the last presidential election. Instead they continue to operate with the sectarian dualistic model that politically they belong to the light and the rest of us belong to the darkness. They should consider changing the masthead to “A Magazine of (Polarizing) Evangelical Conviction (that excludes you fringe evangelicals).”
Consider registering your disapproval by not subscribing or resubscribing to Christianity Today until you receive an apology. If you are demeaned as a hypocritical “fringe evangelical” who has already “sold your soul” and are bent on destroying Evangelicalism and “sabotaging the gospel,” then CT apparently does not need, nor should even want, your support.
Robert A. J. Gagnon is Associate Professor of New Testament at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. He came to PTS in the Fall of 1994 after a one-year position as Visiting Professor of Religion at Middlebury College in Vermont. He has a B.A. degree from Dartmouth College, an M.T.S. from Harvard Divinity School, and a Ph.D. from Princeton Theological Seminary. His main fields of interest are Pauline theology and sexual issues in the Bible. He is a member both of the Society of Biblical Literature and of the Studiorum Novi Testamenti Societas [Society of New Testament Studies]. He is also an ordained elder at a Presbyterian Church (USA) in Pittsburgh. He is the author of The Bible and Homosexual Practice: Texts and Hermeneutics (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2001; 520 pgs.); co-author (with Dan O. Via) of Homosexuality and the Bible: Two Views (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2003; 125 pgs.); and, as a service to the church, provides a large amount of free material on the web dealing with Scripture and homosexuality. In addition, he has published scholarly articles on biblical studies in Journal of Biblical Literature, New Testament Studies, Catholic Biblical Quarterly, Novum Testamentum, Zeitschrift für die Alttestamentliche Wissenschaft, and Horizons in Biblical Theology; and more popular treatments in The Christian Century and First Things. He is also author of article-length encyclopedia entries in Dictionary for Theological Interpretation of the Bible (Baker/SPCK), New Dictionary of Christian Apologetics (IVP), Oxford Handbook of Evangelical Theology (Oxford University Press), and Encyclopedia of Christian Civilization (Wiley-Blackwell). In addition, he has been quoted in, or has written for, the New York Times, National Public Radio, CNN, U.S. News and World Report, Christianity Today, Christian Century, and other news outlets and popular magazines.