Dear Loyal Readers of Christianity Today: It’s Time to Leave (Evangelical) Christianity, Today.

[Note: I’ve submitted the following to be published in Christianity Today.]

Christianity Today’s Mark Galli recently argued that “Trump Should Be Removed from Office” because “[n]one of his positives” outweigh his “grossly immoral character.” Galli is worried that, if evangelicals continue to support Trump, they’ll lose their moral authority.

Now, in all honestly, that ship has probably already sailed. As one of my former religious professors told me, if he wanted evangelicalism to preserve its moral credibility, he should have written an article calling evangelicals to abandon Trump after the “grab ‘em by the p*ssy” revelation. As a former evangelical myself, I can tell you: not many outside evangelicalism could still take its moral pronouncements seriously when it continued to support him after that.

Still, according to Christianity Today’s president Timothy Dalrymple, many evangelicals were encouraged by the letter because it made it seem as if they were not alone in their opposition to Trump. In reality, however, they practically are. Evangelical support for Trump hangs around 75%. And given the way that 75% has responded to Galli’s article, I believe it’s time for “the 25%” (those evangelicals who see Trump for what he is) to leave evangelical Christianity altogether—and to do so, today. Why?

I overviewed the logical mistakes of evangelical Trump supporters Franklin Graham and Eric Mataxas in my Psychology Today blog “A Logical Take,” but the mistake that should make the 25% ready to leave was theological. It occurred in an open letter response to Galli, signed by over 200 evangelical leaders, when the only thing it actually said in direct response to Galli’s concerns was this:

“We are proud to be numbered among those in history who, like Jesus, have been pretentiously accused of having too much grace for tax collectors and sinners…”

So, in response to Galli’s charge that Trump should be removed from office because he has committed impeachable offenses, and that evangelicalism is losing its moral credibility because it has aligned with and unquestionably excused away the behavior of a man who “is a near perfect example of a human being who is morally lost and confused,” the evangelical leaders of today have simply said “it’s all good, because Jesus associated with and forgave sinners.”

Is this what it’s come to? We now have to explain why Jesus’ concern for poor social outcasts doesn’t entail that Donald Trump should be president? Jesus showed concern for people like Mary Magdalene (a prostitute) because they were given a poor lot in life and treated unfairly. He forgave their sins because they were repentant. Trump is literally, by his own admission, none of these things. Not only was he born into privilege and wealth, but he famously says he is never wrong, sorry, or responsible for anything. He is not repentant; he has not “changed his ways.” He doesn’t even go to church. And even if he had, Jesus showing “grace” to sinners did not include recommending them for high office.

Using Jesus’ ministry to the poor and sinners as an excuse to ignore Trump’s impeachable offenses, to excuse away his “immoral actions in business and his relationship with women, about which he remains proud… [his] habitual string[s] of mischaracterizations, lies, and slanders” is a perversion of the gospel so repugnant and offensive, condemnation of its should be universal. If evangelicals opposed to Trump were in the majority, I would say they were morally obligated to kick those who embrace this idea out. But since they are in the minority, they are morally obligated to leave evangelicalism—and to be vocal to their friends and family about why.

I know it won’t be easy. I did it myself long ago when I saw the early warning signs of Trumpism coming. But for the good of their souls, the gospel, and even the good of the nation, it must be done. Maybe, just maybe, a mass exodus of Christians of good conscious from the evangelical churches of the nation, all saying that they are leaving because evangelicalism has made Trump a golden idol, could break the spell Trump has on it.

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