For the latest misadventures in “absolute NeverTrumpism corrupts every bit as much as absolute AlwaysTrumpism,” I give you Pastor Thabiti Anyabwile.
The headline of his piece in the Washington Post is “Overturning Roe v. Wade isn’t worth compromising with Trump, my fellow evangelicals.” He leads it off by imploring that “we are going to give an account to God for our complicit silence before the immoral policies and actions of the Trump administration.”
Already, the pastor’s point of view is plagued by an idolatrous level of concern for Trump, to the point of insisting that his fellow evangelicals snatch defeat from the jaws of victory on the issue of life. Which just so happens to be the pre-eminent moral concern of the Word of God, but other than that, no big thang.
Anyabwile is so blinded by his anti-Trump idolatry that he’s urging the very “complicit silence” he condemns when it comes to stopping America’s infanticide holocaust. Ironic, I know, but this is the age of self-refuting arguments and the death of self-awareness, after all.
This pastor is urging believers to explicitly disobey the Word of God when it says “rescue those being taken away to death and hold back those being led away to slaughter.” This pastor is urging believers to side with those whose “hands shed innocent blood,” which the Scriptures also say are among those things “the LORD hates.” And he’s doing so from a platform that frequently gives space for trolling God and His love, like its recent headline “why can’t we hate men” and last Christmas when it again questioned whether Jesus Christ ever existed.
On second thought, maybe this is the proper platform for Anyabwile’s idolatrous polemic, because whether he knows it or not, he’s trolling God, too. It’s just that the Washington Post is more honest about it.
In case you’re wondering why I’ve used the terms “idolatry” or “idolatrous” several times already, it’s because I’m trying to drive the point home this is idolatry. Whenever we permit anything other than God to determine for us what is right or wrong, we are practicing what the Bible calls idolatry, which is a fancy, stained-glass word meaning “worshipping or following after a false god.”
Anyabwile is saying not to explicitly do what God says is right here, because Trump. In other words, he is the NeverTrump version of heretical clowns like Paula White, peddler of the fake so-called prosperity gospel and a documented fraud, who has sadly found some renewed legitimacy through her ability to shamelessly shill for Trump.
I’m sure Anyabwile would agree with me about the likes of White, all the while missing the plank in his own eye. See, God doesn’t permit us not to do what’s right because it may cause us to align with and/or work alongside those we find questionable, repulsive, or offensive. Quite the contrary, God works through sinners all the time — because all of us are sinners.
Sure, plenty of Christians twist this teaching every election season when they compare their favorite misbehaving politicians favorably to King David, all the while conveniently leaving out details like David’s peccadilloes that caused the death of his child, a civil war in his kingdom, and persistent strife in his family. So, yes, God loved and used David. But no, David’s sins did not go unpunished, and often the consequences were suffered by others, too.
Because God can walk and chew gum at the same time, he can use problematic people while simultaneously holding them accountable for their misdeeds. His people, bought by His blood and guided by His Spirit, should be able — and definitely willing — to do the same.
Abraham Lincoln is considered by many to be among America’s greatest presidents. He also was far from perfect. For much of his political career, he was in favor of letting slave states remain so, and during one of the famous Lincoln-Douglas debates he said the following:
“I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races, [applause]-that I am not nor ever have been in favor of making voters or jurors of negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with white people; and I will say in addition to this that there is a physical difference between the white and black races which I believe will forever forbid the two races living together on terms of social and political equality.”
And yet, despite these statements, we still call Lincoln the “Great Emancipator.” Why? Because he was. The same guy who said those dreadful things also lost his life in the cause of freeing the slaves.
Human nature is a complicated thing. We are all made in the image of God, and yet are all capable of falling very far from God at any given moment (or a lifetime) as well. This is why we all need the Savior. Great men sometimes fall. Bad men sometimes rise. Heroes of the faith like David and Samson had licentious blind spots. Powerful preachers like Spurgeon save souls one minute and struggle with depression the next.
The one constant here is God — the same yesterday, today, and forever. And that is why imperfect people can perform, by His grace, His perfect and pleasing will. Both the just and the unjust alike, as Christ said, are loved by God enough to each be tools of His love and mercy at any given time.
And if it is a profane man like Trump, who would be among the least likely politicians we could ever imagine to appoint the Supreme Court that ends America’s greatest moral evil, then by all means blessed be the name of the Lord. For all such blessings really flow from Him anyway, not from a politician.
A pastor, like Anyabwile, should know this.