A professor at a private Christian college has some harsh words for one of President Trump's spiritual advisors and other evangelicals who support the president.
John Fea is a history professor and department chair at Messiah College in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania. Writing in The Washington Post, he says evangelicals who are advising President Trump are getting too close, and it's hurting the witness of the church. Noting the president's past indiscretions and what Fea says is a tenuous relationship with the faith, "Trump," he writes, "has forced [his evangelical advisors] to embrace a pragmatism that could damage the gospel around the world ...."
The prime example of this, according to Fea, is manifest in the person of Dr. Robert Jeffress, Dallas megachurch pastor and one of the president's principle faith advisors. The history prof accuses Jeffress of being among a group he calls "court evangelicals" – believers who have befriended the president "as a way to win his approval and advance their agenda the United States a Christian nation." That "allegiance" to the president, he states, "is taking [court evangelicals] into a new and dangerous place."
OneNewsNow sought reaction from Dr. Jeffress, who is senior pastor of First Baptist-Dallas. He says Fea is part of a growing trend of Christians who want to withdraw from political activity.
"He is a part of this misguided, isolationist view of Christianity that basically says Christians need to isolate themselves from the culture, especially government, give up on it and just get into our holy huddles as Christians and pray nothing bad happens to us," says the pastor.
Fea also accuses Jeffress and his ilk of a double standard: speaking out against President Bill Clinton for his lack of morals during the Lewinski scandal, but backing Trump despite similar standards. Jeffress says Hillary Clinton is hardly the standard bearer for godly morals with her support for abortion and same-sex "marriage," to cite two examples.
"We had a binary choice [in November]," responds Jeffress. "There was only one candidate who was pro-life, pro-religious liberty, pro-conservative justices to the Supreme Court – and that candidate's name was not Hillary Clinton."
Fea suggests that Jeffress represents a "troubling wing" of American evangelicalism led by believers who "trade their evangelical witness for a mess of political pottage and a Supreme Court nomination." In contrast, the pastor says he's not trading away anything – but in fact hopes to play a role in restoring a moral core to American government and culture. "As Christians we're not to isolate ourselves from any part of this culture, including the government," he argues. "We're to try to influence it for good."
Jeffress contends that he's in good company. Old Testament heroes Joseph and Daniel both worked with civil government to advance godly ideals.