Opinion: Why Did God Give You A Platform?

By Carson Weitnauer
fire pastor
Church governance models, determined in part by bylaws, determine whether church “members” or board members can remove a pastor.(Photo: Shutterstock)

Today nearly anyone can have a “platform.” Even if you only have a couple of hundred people “following you” on social media, there’s influence to be stewarded. It’s not a number in a video game or an ego trip; these numbers represent real people, God’s image-bearers. And of course, some leaders and religious organizations can now reach millions with the press of a button.

But what’s often lacking is any theological reflection on how to handle this responsibility.

Of course, social media didn’t exist in the first century. So I want to suggest to you that fundamental principles of responsibility for spiritual leaders can be adapted to our present situation.

In particular, let’s consider an analogous situation from the ministry of the Apostle Paul. As we know, some of Paul’s closest friends in ministry were the elders in the Ephesian church. He had spent approximately three years living together with them. As they labored together, so many came to know and wholeheartedly follow Jesus as Lord that it disrupted the temple worship of Artemis. In response, the tradesmen initiated a riot against the Christians (Acts 19:23-41)!

These were unforgettable shared experiences. A tiny church grew so dramatically that it shook the economic, social, and religious norms of a great city!

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In Acts 20, Luke records for us what happened in the heart-rending farewell gathering that took place between Paul and these elders. Paul recollects all the tears he shed with them, all the suffering he endured, and how boldly he had proclaimed the message of Jesus.

Time is short. Each word is precious. Paul knows he will never see these leaders again. That is, this church will not have Paul watching over it, guarding it against error, and leading them to follow Jesus.

So read carefully with me, hear the emotion in these words. Paul urges them,

Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has appointed you as overseers, to shepherd the church of God, which he purchased with his own blood. I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. Men will rise up even from your own number and distort the truth to lure the disciples into following them. Therefore be on the alert, remembering that night and day for three years I never stopped warning each one of you with tears.

What a solemn charge. What a sobering prediction.

Paul knows that “savage wolves” will come to rip apart the flock. Worse, some of these predators are currently known and trusted by the elders of this church! Yet these dangerous leaders are merely biding their time and establishing their position before they twist the truth and go on the attack.

Now how did Paul handle these situations? He had set the example: night and day for three years he never stopped warning this congregation, with tears, about who and what could harm them.

Paul showed them an example of sacrificial, steadfast love. He didn’t take their money. He worked hard so he could be generous to the weak. He faithfully preached the gospel in the midst of fierce opposition.

Then he trained and appointed leaders to imitate his example. Finally, as he departed, he charged these leaders — in the presence of God — to maintain this standard.

Most fundamentally, Paul’s example should reorient our imagination of what it looks like to serve as a pastor. It looks like sacrificial love that is in constant solidarity with the weakest members of the community.

(Pastor, does that describe you?)

But in regards to today’s topic, I want us to see and cherish a critical principle provided by Paul’s example:

People you wholeheartedly believe are emerging leaders will turn out to be savage wolves. When they show their true colors, you are to expose them.

Unfortunately, I notice that evangelical leaders often fall short of this standard.

Instead of following Paul’s counsel, it looks like this:

People that were hailed as emerging leaders turned out to be savage wolves. When they showed their true colors, evangelical leaders a) continue platforming them or b) quietly scrub any mention of them and attempt to move on without comment.

Here’s how our community justifies it:

  • “They’re my friend. So as a favor, I won’t publicly rebuke them.”
  • “If you knew them the way I did, you’d know their heart. He’s actually a good person – it’s his critics who are mean-spirited trolls.” 

But let me take my own advice and name names.

For instance, Mark Driscoll has spectacularly disqualified himself from any ministry role.

driscoll
Mark Driscoll

Yet the incoming pastor of Saddleback Church, Andy Wood, hosted Mark for a leadership conference last year. Similarly, YouVersion, which has been installed 500 million times, continues to platform Mark Driscoll and Doug Wilson.

Since Mark and Doug have distorted the truth and lured disciples into following them, we have a responsibility to warn others — with tears — about the hazards of their abusive behavior and harmful theology.

Sadly, neither Andy nor YouVersion is remaining alert to the danger posed by these spiritual influencers. Instead, they’re leveraging the audience these men have for their own benefit.

Similarly, C.J. Mahaney, a former council member of The Gospel Coalition, covered up sex abuse in Sovereign Grace Churches.

C.J. Mahaney
C.J. Mahaney

He now has an empty profile page at The Gospel Coalition. His content is gone — though you can still find praise for C.J. in other articles scattered across the website — but when and where has The Gospel Coalition issued a warning? Or a statement in support of the survivors from the Sovereign Grace denomination? This vain attempt at reputation maintenance burdens my heart. Where is the compassion and support for those who were severely wounded by C.J.? My heart aches to see a change.

Of course, the Southern Baptist Convention is facing a reckoning. For decades, the official policy was to not create a database of disqualified pastors – even after pastors had been found guilty of crimes by a secular court! – to avoid legal liability. Meanwhile, a secret database was being maintained. The consequence? Many more women and men were sexually abused by pastors in Southern Baptist churches. Yes, it’s a scandal. But doesn’t it make you weep? I feel like sackcloth and ashes are in order.

By contrast, some courageous souls are willing to stay alert. Sheila Gregoire takes the risk to challenge the most popular evangelical authors and publishing houses. Why? Because their books contain material that is not only unBiblical – but she has the data and the stories to show how this false teaching is harming women (and men). How many more stories of abused women do we have to hear, and wrestle in agonizing prayer before God for their healing, before we also challenge what is wrong?

It seems to me that Julie Roys might be the most hated woman in evangelicalism. Why? Because she’s courageously published exposé after exposé on its “greatest heroes”: John MacArthur, Bethlehem Baptist, Hillsong, Liberty, Willow Creek, Matt Chandler, and the list goes on. These institutions and leaders have millions and millions of devoted followers. So here’s the question: will you also have the courage to expose formerly trusted, even revered leaders? Or will you sit silently while Julie takes the hits?

Consider Beth Moore. She had the courage to criticize Donald Trump. Did Christians stand with her, honoring her righteous commitment to upholding a biblical moral standard? Or did they place political power and partisan loyalty above their commitment to the Lordship of Jesus?

For the most part, it cost her. Her ministry lost millions as people rejected her. “From fiscal 2017 to fiscal 2019, Living Proof lost more than $1.8 million.” That’s just the tip of the iceberg.

There are dozens upon dozens…. upon dozens more examples. Candidly, I can’t keep up with all of the scandals afflicting the evangelical movement. We’re experiencing catastrophic moral failures across the board. And I don’t think this will change until Christians – whether our “platform” is tens of people or tens of thousands – replace cowardice with courage.

Paul followed up his farewell gathering to the Ephesian elders with 1 Timothy, a letter to his “true son in the faith,” who served as their pastor. In chapter 5 he reminds them of what he had already told them in person.

Publicly rebuke those who sin, so that the rest will be afraid. I solemnly charge you before God and Christ Jesus and the elect angels to observe these things without prejudice, doing nothing out of favoritism.

So here’s Paul: “Observe these things without prejudice.” Here’s us, “But they’re my friend.”

Allow me to plead with you. From the depth of my heart, I beg you, for the sake of the spiritual health of your brothers and sisters in Christ, to find your voice. Be courageous. Tell the truth. Sound the alarm.

In the meantime, your silence means that millions of disciples are being misled. They are following after leaders who cause them harm. And our witness is compromised. People are reading the Bible, looking at Christian leaders, seeing the contrast, and walking away.

Thank God, the Apostle Paul set before us a different standard.

May we turn to the Lord, repent of our selfish silence, and start to boldly tell the truth. Until we do, the toxic parts of the evangelical movement are going to keep running people over – and all in the name of Jesus.

This piece was originally published at Uncommon Pursuit and is republished here with permission.

Carson Weitnauer

Carson Weitnauer is an author, speaker, and executive director of Uncommon Pursuit. Prior to that, he served as a director with Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZIM), but resigned in protest in January 2021 over RZIM’s handling of the Ravi Zacharias sex scandal.

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59 thoughts on “Opinion: Why Did God Give You A Platform?”

  1. Let’s be clear – evangelicalism is a bankrupt, immoral, corrupt cesspool – no, there is NONE that seek after God…. I say this with great tears – NO joy…😭

    The notion that we should be following after a loud-mouthed, grifting, deceiving boaster in his own abuse of women and serial adultery – with whomsoever he could get his hands on – is reason enough – BUT that just scratches the surface.

    The evangelical community – other than a world loving political power – is DONE! There is NO spiritual value – NO light – and only a need to be thrown out and trodden under.

    I am broken hearted… May God raise up some Elijah somewhere with the power of God – to hack all the prophets of Ba-al to pieces …. starting with… with…. ok, you put the names in….

  2. I checked out the referenced links to TGC website and they still have a book by C.J. Mahaney for sale on their website, so there’s that…

  3. When I read of some prosperity gospel preacher, richer than the vast majority of there flock, screaming about not tithing is stealing from god I remind myself of this. The Bible talks of prosperity and evangelicals abuse it. What I see is the blessing of prosperity comes from hard work and creating a “thing”. In turn people buy that thing and prosperity occurs. No where do I read prosperity means grifters guilt people into giving to a church so the leaders can live a wonderful material filled life. Yes the Bible talks of first fruits. But no where does it indicate, that means the leaders should live large off the tithes. I do read where leaders should live a humble life. Nothing humble about the wealthy evangelical industrial complex who in some cases brag of there wealth under the hubris that this is because god sees them worthy of the wealth “they” bring in. I think many will be shocked when god says “begone for I never knew you “

    1. Is anyone absolutely disqualified from ministry? Hardly. The bible says we are ambassadors, whether we like it or not. Every Christian is in the ministry. Calling out leadership failures is one thing, as I myself have done, but writing anyone off permanently reflects a lack of understanding the gospel. Driscoll made some terrible leadership mistakes, thanks to elders who relinquished their oversight, but is he redeemable? Of course he is. Lets be careful how far our judgement goes.

      1. Everyone is “redeemable,” but not necessarily to ministry. Once a leader has egregiously betrayed trust as Driscoll has done, he cannot ever be “above reproach” as Titus 1:7 says elders must be.

      2. Carolyn McLaren

        Rob-there is no chance for any redemption until there is genuine repentance.Mark Driscoll has never repented.

      3. Mark Gunderson

        Driscoll did not make mistakes because the elders relinquished control.

        Driscoll threatened, coerced, bullied, spiritually abused, misappropriated tithes, and lied, because of his own sinfulness. If he were repentant he would recognize this and would actively avoid ever again being in a position where such abuses could be perpetrated.

      4. However, if you look at the present actions of, for example, Driscoll, we don’t see a man who has repented of his past actions. We see a man who is continuing to make the same selfish, destructive choices we have observed in the past. So is he redeemable? Certainly. However, you don’t continue to provide someone with that sort of history a platform without tangible, consistent evidence of a change in heart and behavior.

      5. Rob Smith, your assertions do not stand up. Look at 1 Cor 5:11-13:

        “But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those outside. ‘Purge the evil person from among you.’ ” (ESV)

        That passage tells us that some people who profess to be Christians are absolutely NOT qualified for ministry because they are to be put out of the church ENTIRELY. They are to be delivered over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh (v 5).

        Your insistence that we must not write anyone off permanently reflects a lack of understanding the Bible.

      6. Rob Smith, some people who profess to be Christians ARE absolutely disqualified for ministry because they must be expelled from the church altogether. 

1 Cor 5:11-13 But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one.  For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge?  God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.’” (ESV)

        We must deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh (v5)

        Your comment shows that you do not understand the Bible.

      7. Yes and the churches can always use maintenance personnel. But as for the pulpit. One and done. We are not commanded to return trust. Just forgiving. You want to use scripture to let the Driscolls off the hook? Then your as bad as they are. I don’t care about their feelings. I care about the victims that become victims again when these godless grifters come crawling back and are given pulpit time

  4. Greg, I agree with you. But also want to add much of this corruption (blasphemy) has been there all along and it’s just starting to be exposed on a grand scale. Great news is now we can be aware, and put our hope in God alone who never changes. If we truly believe this and find our footing on this solid ground, our tears of sadness are turned to tears of joy. It’s all part of the master plan.

  5. Barbara Pement

    Whistle Blowers are treated as pariahs. When one of the children who grew up in our community became an established filmmaker, he exposed hidden corruption in our church. His documentary “No Place to Call Home” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0V4G00Gl51c&t=521s caused not only his ostracism, but in a lawsuit by some of the victims, not all, the victims were forced to sign a nondisclosure agreement to protect the organization and silence them.

    1. Barbara, thanks for link. The documentary is haunting, and the producer should be congratulated for his part in pursuing justice for abuse victims.

  6. Thanks for publishing this. More and more evangelicalism follows the world and its conceits but rarely stands with Christ and the apostles.

  7. The question in the headline sounds different to me than it was likely intended. Why does God allow these people to rise to such prominence in His church, knowing they are going to do so much damage? After all doesn’t the rise to noteriety in Gods kingdom involve the divine opening and closing of doors based on faithfulness and character in His sight?
    Could it be we are simply crafting our own doors to our own throne rooms in our own castles. Perhaps all of this corruption and abuse is a sign that God has given us over to our own devices.

  8. Carson speaks to one aspect of risk with Church and Evangelism. He associates that risk coming to negative realisation, with evangelists he terms “wolves”. He valorises Paul as the one alert to that risk. In so doing he does not speak to the manner in which Paul’s contribution to the architecture of Church and Evangelism, is also a creator of that risk. Paul authors a vision of God and Church and Evangelism and himself, which is both autocratic-egocentric and the template of what leadership in Church and Evangelism is to be going foward. That so templated commitment to leadership is the fundamental problem and source of risk. Wolves exist because others are too willing to be enthusiastically led. When in truth you always have to win to God by yourself.

  9. Bonnie Lindblom

    I wholeheartedly agree that corruption in the church should be exposed, and that protectionism and favoritism are rampant. There is far too much worldliness in the church. However, on support of Trump, I want to point out that he was not a leader in the church; he was President. We elect presidents for political purposes, as vehicles to accomplish a political agenda. Did Trump go off the rails? Yes. And folks can and should speak out about moral issues with elected officials. But we must recognize the difference between a leader of a church and a leader of a country.

    1. Marin Heiskell

      Bonnie –

      When it comes to support of Trump, your logic is unBiblical. In scripture we see God punish kings – even unto death – for being blasphemous, idolatrous and disobedient. Saul is one of many examples of this. God didn’t excuse the king’s sin with, “oh he’s a political leader, not a priest.” He didn’t compartmentalize. A nation’s leader was still expected to be Godly – not in spite of, but BECAUSE of their role and authority over the people.

      Compartmentalization and cute sayings like “he’s not a pastor” is something we as humans started doing to justify our behavior. You have a right to whatever excuses you tell yourself. Just know it’s not rooted in scripture.

      1. Marin. The Bible is an instrument of divination. That is, a giving over to the Word allows us to consider God as idea and truth. What we make of God and Truth and the Word is an individual thing. The Bible does not exclusively demand an absolute giving over to that activity of divination. There is in the Bible a recognition that we humans are Earth-bound creatures, in the main. It is arguable that the Bible does not condemn what humans create on this Earthbound plane. I think of democracy, which with all its flaws and abuses, does appear somewhat better than so many of the alternatives we have historically come up with. With all that, we do have in the USA a Constitutional separation between Church and State. I don’t then see that it is unBiblical to recognise the differences between God-centred and Democratic human projects, between pastors and presidents.

      2. Mark Zimmerman

        Marin,

        It seems you are conflating the kings in the theocracy of Old Testament Israel with present-day American presidents.

        Do you believe the moral, character-based qualifications of a pastor and president, along with the grounds for their disqualification, are identical?

        1. Marin Heiskell

          I believe Christians are to uphold moral character among those it backs in all areas of authority.
          I also believe Christians are NOT to deflect, downplay, and ignore the outright sins of authority. (We do a GREAT job of that when it’s a political leader on the “left”, but when it’s a political leader on the right, it’s “whatabout….deflect deflect deflect”)
          The “well when Trump said or did is ok because…whatabout….” is why we are a JOKE in the world we are supposed to be influencing.
          But hey, if you think it’s Biblical….carry on…
          Heed my warning that you’ll just watch membership, conversions, and influence continue to decline….

      3. “A nation’s leader was still expected to be Godly – not in spite of, but BECAUSE of their role and authority over the people.”

        Marin, Since you mentioned the Constitution – schools and universities after 1865 gradually started teaching the authority hierarchy as follows:

        God
        Federal Govt (President)
        State Govt
        Elected County Sherrif
        People

        Clearly (but sadly), the vast majority of Americans today think like this.

        Before 1865 it was unmistakably established in this order:

        God
        People (Sovereins – like a King)
        Elected County Sheriff
        State Govt
        Federal Govt (President)

        In the last twenty years there has been a tremendous movement of people and county Sheriffs waking up to the fact that the Federal Gov has no authority over them.

        The same can be said of the church – the “Pastor” has no authority over the people. Multitudes of people are finally coming out of Egypt and are experiencing life in Christ as it was meant to be lived in the New Covenant!!

  10. Good article , although not sure I agree with Beth Moore having ministry issues for criticisms of Trump, she has had a host of other things that people took issue with. Lots of us didn’t agree with Trump on everything but he still was and is our country’s best chance for a better moral code and protection of the unborn.

    1. Ha! Seriously? The guy who said “Grab ’em by the [redacted]” is our best chance for a moral code? That thinking is why evangelicals have proven themselves to be worthless. It’s that kind of gaslighting that has convinced me never ever to set foot in a church again.

      1. Andrew Thomas

        Tim O,

        The quote is:

        Trump: “And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything.”

        Unidentified man: “Whatever you want.”

        Trump: “Grab them by the p. You can do anything.”

        The “they” he is referring to are groupies or women attracted to power/wealth and what they are willing to do to be close to that status, not the person. He is not talking about walking up to a random woman and touching them without consent. Ask your local police officers/firemen what a “badge/fire bunny” is and what they allow.

        Have you ever watched an attractive woman make a man (or group of men), that she has zero interest in, do her bidding because she knows he/they will do anything just to be noticed by her or think they might have a chance to be with her? Is that behavior any better? Both sexes are capable of misusing their status to use others for their own gain.

        1. Marin Heiskell

          Did this really turn into a whataboutism that makes what Trump said ok?
          I’ll say it again – this constant deflection and downplaying of sin to justify the support of an immoral man to gain political power is why the church has become little more than a punchline.

          1. MH,

            It is about presenting the truth when making a statement, I do not care for Trump (and I did not bring him up), or anyone else in office, but misquoting someone to make a point, is no different than a pastor who misquotes Paul to make their point. Either we stand in truth or we continue to bear false witness to God/our neighbors. If we continue to allow this lower standard or character, we do the work of Satan for him. Please show me in scripture we are to not always speak the whole truth to our neighbor/God.

            “I’ll say it again – this constant deflection and downplaying of sin …” This is the standard we have allowed our church leaders, government leaders, media, and others in “authority” to operate and now you complain because this is the way of the world.

          2. Marin Heiskell

            Andrew:

            You said: “This is the standard we have allowed our church leaders, government leaders, media, and others in “authority” to operate and now you complain because this is the way of the world.”

            No, I’m complaining that it has become the way of the church. And it is NOT Biblical.

      2. Tim Olsen,

        Let’s go back to 2005 and scrutinize every thing you ever said that year or before, with no appreciation for either the context then or how you may have grown since… far removed from what you did ten to twenty years later.

        Trump hasn’t said anything like that in an extremely long time, and professes to be our brother in Christ now. Is he really? We may never know this side of heaven, but his *deeds* as POTUS were largely very consistent with his present profession.

        Give me an argument for how this kind of perpetual judgment is Biblical, and how that aligns with our imperative to forgive, and then we’ll talk.

        1. Marin Heiskell

          Brian –

          Oh how I wish this same “grace” would be shown towards those on the left. But that won’t happen this side of heaven, so I digress….

          If Trump is claiming to be our brother in Christ (which I doubt, only due to Trump stating he has never asked God for forgiveness “because he didn’t need it” – and I believe admission of guilt of sin and the need for forgiveness thru Christ is a foundational step for salvation; however, I realize I am not in a position to officially determine Trump’s spiritual status as a limited human being), then scripture calls us to judge him as a brother in Christ accordingly. That means judging him according to scriptures he claims to abide by as a Christian – not according to our political preference.
          And I can point to plenty of things Trump has said or posted RECENTLY that are profane, condescending, dishonest, prideful and narcissistic; I can also point to scriptures that call these out as sinful behaviors. If Trump claims to be a Bible-following Christian, it is ok to judge him and call him to Biblical standards. Yes, even if he is a Republican.

          1. Brian Patrick

            Marin Heiskell,

            Yes, Trump made that comment. No, I didn’t like it then and I don’t like it now. He made it six or seven years ago. I know I said some deplorable things at that time too that don’t reflect me now, and maybe didn’t even then.

            We don’t know how he may have changed or progressed since then. I don’t for a fact know he is a believer now, just like you don’t know that he isn’t, and we can leave it at that.

            Notice I’ve never said he is our modern-day King David the way some of his more zealous devotees have. Clearly his conduct and witness comes nowhere near David’s even considering the latter’s downfall. I’ve always maintained the correct analogy for Trump is Cyrus of Persia/Iran. He did some very good things but wasn’t/isn’t necessarily a great person.

            That being said, I will repeat, his *policy actions* while in office (let’s separate that from the disagreeable words, and even the way his presidency ended) showed more consistency with the countercultural, radical message of timeless Scripture than virtually any other major politician I can think of–including the vast majority of professing Christian figures with squeaky-clean backgrounds.

            How would you feel if it turns out Trump is our brother in heaven to hang out with for all eternity, and that Jesus never even knew some of our favorite exalted, esteemed “Christian” leaders with impeccable reputations and popularity?

          2. Marin Heiskell

            Brian –

            Simply reading Trump’s recent statements during/about the Jan 6th hearing shows he has not changed. The prideful name calling, gaslighting, bullying, demeaning….his bad behavior is STILL going on. Unfortunately, I think it will take something even more tragic (I found Jan 6th to be a tragedy for our country and for whatever legacy Trump wanted to leave behind) for Trump to change. And I think his devotees are going to be collateral damage. I believe the witness and influence of the evangelical church has been part of the collateral damage.

            Would I love to see Trump repent and change? Absolutely! I don’t dislike anyone to the point that I would want to see them die without true repentance and knowing the Lord.

            I repeat that I’d also like to see you extend the same grace towards the Clintons, CNN, MSNBC, and all the others “on the left”. I never seem to see the “well maybe they have changed” and “what if the Lord is using them”, “Jesus called people out too”, “I don’t expect them to be perfect”, “I have said things in my past that I regret too” grace extended to them. Why is that?

    2. The author of the Big Lie and the chief destroyer of our democracy? People like Robert Morris who defend this enemy of truth should not be platformed at our large megachurches like Willow Creek and others.

    3. Victor,

      Trump is the most morally, politically and financially corrupt person to ever be in the White House. And he has intimidated nearly every Republican to lie, cheat and steal for his benefit.

      How is that doing anything to improve America’s moral code?

      1. To those who prefer to take shots at Trump please tell us all who’s policies do you support more, those of President Trump or those of President Biden? Which administration would you prefer was in power today? I think the answer to these questions would be very telling.

        1. Marin Heiskell

          Bill –

          That’s changing the argument via deflection and whataboutism. We as Christians should know better than to play games of moral relativism like that.

          So, back to the question: how is Trump improving America’s moral code? I mean, there were 15 other GOP candidates alone….how was Trump the chosen one?

          1. So improving the moral code is your criteria for being President? We currently have a President who used his power to get his son and brother millions via influence peddling. And as for wanting to bury Trump for his womanizing I want to be there when you give King David a good tongue lashing for his moral failings. Maybe you can give one to Solomon next. Are Trumps issues worse than theirs? God didn’t remove them from being king in spite of their failings so maybe you can give him a good talking to as well. It would be nice if our Presidents could all be pure as the driven snow but that isn’t reality and often great leaders have moral failings. FDR, JFK, MLK were all womanizers who had multiple extra marital affairs. It’s not right behavior but why are they held in esteem in spite of their moral failings while Trump gets crushed for his?

          2. Marin Heiskell,

            Bill has the right to deny the position that “Trump was the most corrupt president ever”. It’s not “whataboutism”. With the possible exception of January 6th (he was no angel on that day, but nor was he the dictator-in-waiting the entire media claims), his deeds and actions were comparable to every other POTUS, good and bad.

          3. Marin Heiskell

            Bill – I never said that improving the moral code is my criteria for President. I was restating the original question posed by Greg that you deflected and avoided answering.
            And you continue to deflect and talk about Biden, MLK, and EVERYBODY else. The question was about Trump. Still can’t answer? Or is your inability to answer….your answer?

            I think the issue has been how evangelicals are quick to point out the moral failings of leaders on the left, but start with the whataboutisms, justifications, and “well leaders aren’t expected to be pure” when it comes to leaders on the right. You do it in your own answer. Did you have the same “leaders aren’t expected to be pure” attitude when it came to the sins of Clinton? Or Pelosi? Or Biden? I’ll wait.
            It’s hypocrisy, plain and simple.

            And I think it is downright blasphemous to compare Trump, who OPENLY said that he has never asked for forgiveness from God, to King David – repentant prophet who was a man after God’s own heart.

          4. Marin Heiskell

            Brian –

            Bill didn’t deny. He deflected. Read his post again. He never answered the question. He changed the topic to someone else.

            We can agree to disagree on Trump. I found his gaslighting, bullying, namecalling, and profane language (like calling of people “sons of b*tches” at rallies – while evangelicals cheered), to be beneath the dignity of the office. I find it disappointing this sort of behavior has set the standard for the office – with the backing of Christians. (And something tells me we won’t defend with the same passion and “leaders aren’t to be pure” justifications when it comes to a Democrat.)

            There is a way to disagree with your dissenters without bullying and profanely vilifying them. Prior POTUS’s (and other political leaders) have demonstrated that. I wish we as Christians – who are an influential polticial bloc – would demonstrate that we want to see better behavior than what Trump showed us.
            Again, that’s my opinion, and I have accepted for quite some time now that I am in the minority among Christians on this.

          5. Brian Patrick

            Marin Heiskell,

            I felt like Bill Hoskins had a valid opinion and argument. Trump’s language can be over the top… but at the same time, what if it’s being used by God to convict us of our wickedness and hypocrisy? We don’t have a problem with Trump-style rhetoric and far worse when it comes out of our favorite entertainers and comedians. We are offended less by abortion and war and terrorism than some mean words about “untouchable” media figures and bureaucrats and activists.

            What do you think Jesus, who said far more biting things than Trump ever did, would say about the double standard here?

          6. Marin Heiskell

            Brian –

            Apparently we disagree on if Bill even answered the question. I don’t think he did, but you believe so….can you point out where he did? (or if Bill is reading this, I welcome a response from him).
            Who is this “we” is that you are speaking of? Is it society in general? Just trying to level set the pronoun here.
            I find it interesting that you try to downplay Trump’s language by calling it mere “mean language”. I can point to MANY scriptures that mention the power of the tongue. God calls us to control our tongues for a reason.Words have power, and we are to be responsible with that power. And when words are used to demean and destroy, we should not dismiss or downplay it because we like the speaker’s political affilitation, influence, or are happy that the words are aimed at someone we dislike or disagree with. Especially if those words come out of the mouth of a professed believer (it sounds like Trump claims to be). We also shouldn’t try to justify it with some sort of Christianese “well Jesus spoke harshly to the Pharisees, so it’s ok if….” That is using scripture to justify sin. I have literally seen this argument used to justify verbal abuse in the church, too. TYes, Jesus had harsh words for religious leaders and hypocrites. And I do believe Jesus would have something to say to those claiming to follow Him who cheer when “mean language” comes out of one person’s mouth, but are upset if it comes out of another’s…all based on politics. I believe He’d call it both hypocrisy and idolatry.

        2. So my only choice is satan wearing a blue hat vs satan wearing a red hat. How about we take our county back the easy way. For the next election. Only vote for a third party.

      2. My favorite new information is the PAC for stop the steal collected 250 million since 2020 and paid don jrs bimbo girlfriend, Kim 60k for a three-minute speech on 01/06/2021. How any Christian cannot see them and the evangelical as first rate grifters is beyond me. I watched the event on TV. they pumped up the crowd like you would pump a shotgun then pointed that loaded weapon toward the capital and pulled the trigger. THEN they went to some apartment and watched it on TV after saying they will lead them. And of the 250 million how much is spent on legal fees for the people they PUMPED UP. ZERO. But some has found its way to the trump’s family and business. HOW BLIND ARE YOU PEOPLE OUT THERE. Trump could have easily won in 2020 but many of his supporters from 2016 didn’t vote. WHY: In 2016 the GOP had 39 out of 50 governors. The GOP had the senate and the congress. And what did those GOP people do from 2017-2019??? Fought trump because they didn’t like him. AND trump wasn’t no innocent person. Many of his promises he didn’t even try to get started. In those two years the GOP could have fulfilled every dream they had. BUT instead became never Trumpers. And in 2022 and 2024 WE are supposed to believe the GOP are no longer a group of RINOs. We are at a point where our country is truly circling the drain. Prepare yourselves accordingly.

  11. It is my observation that God gives about no one these days “a platform.” Those are seized by narcissists who step all over each other trying to climb the ladder by leveraging the Name and Word of God in order to impress other men and Lord their power over others. No God at all involved in this carnal process!

  12. The world needs more Julies. A lot more.
    I, too, was once in the mindset that exposing abusive leaders makes the church look bad, therefore turning people off to the gospel and causing people to never truly hear the Word of God. We have to do whatever we can to change that mindset! God is not honored by keeping abuse a secret.

  13. Mixed feelings on this article.

    1: Julie Roys does a lot of good… and she maintains a lot of focus on offenders that come from the political and theological right (MacArthur, the old traditionalists at the SBC, etc.). There’s a lot less attention at TRR on offenders that come from the evangelical left like Bryan Loritts, Bill Hybels, etc.

    2: Beth Moore took a partisan political stance and got some blowback from it like anyone else would who did the same. I don’t think most of the heat she has received has merely come from her being against Trump–it’s because she, like her name-mate Ralph Moore, has completely gone out in the cornfields of white-guilt and Gnostic racial consciousness in denial of the historical salvific Gospel of the one and only Lord, Jesus Christ.

  14. “Thank God, the Apostle Paul set before us a different standard.”

    I can not be the only that sees what is happening to Christianity, but if I am, that would explain a lot.

  15. ““I’ll say it again – this constant deflection and downplaying of sin …” This is the standard we have allowed our church leaders, government leaders, media, and others in “authority” to operate and now you complain because this is the way of the world.”

    Very true, Andrew, and I would point out that systems both in modern day government and church are rotting from the inside out. I have been guilty in the past for oiling both systems for decades thinking a new pastor or new president would be sufficient catalyst for change, only to be disappointed.

    A rotten system always wins in spite of the number of good people in it. In fact, good people in an evil system is why people keep being hopeful for change, and thereby keep oiling or feeding it. They refuse to step back and see the system for what it is.

    I continue to pray for the system to change in both the church and our government, and thankfully more people are finally waking up in both to the deception that has been crept in long ago.

    https://bailiwicknews.substack.com/p/american-domestic-bioterrorism-program?s=w

  16. Marin Heiskell,

    If Trump were randomly insulting the snot out of random people he met for no reason, you’d be correct. That’s not what he’s doing. He’s playing the role of court jester, or that young child who calls out that the emperor has no clothes. The people he goes after are invariably corrupt and venal like the Bidens and Clintons, or are obvious hypocritical liars and deceivers like CNN and MSNBC talking heads. The heroic, often-martyred prophets of Biblical yore were doubtless accused of being mean and unBiblical and divisive in their speech as well… fortunately for all of us they didn’t back down.

    1. Marin Heiskell

      Brian –

      Can you point to the scripture where it says it’s ok to be bullying, demeaning, profane and insulting “if there’s a reason”? I can’t seem to find it.
      I DO find scriptures on not repaying evil for evil, how vengeance is the Lord’s, and how we are to bridle our tongues. Can you point out where Trump’s behavior falls in line with these scriptures?

      The constant defending and justification of Trump’s behavior is actually a reason I am considering leaving the evangelical church. I can’t sit by and watch the “Trump’s behavior is Biblical, and here are scriptures as to why it’s ok he bullies, demeans and curses people” show anymore. It doesn’t sit well in my spirit to sit among “believers” who defend ANYTHING he does (but vilify it if “the left” does it). It goes against EVERYTHING I have learned in my walk with Christ.

      I welcome any recommendations on other churches that will actually stand up and say this behavior is wrong – REGARDLESS of political party. I’m in the Chicago area. Thanks!

  17. Brian Patrick

    Marin Heiskell,

    We’ve been through this before. Trump didn’t “bully” anyone. He called out various sacred cows with disproportionate power and influence, many of whom indirectly or directly have added to the burdens of God’s church on earth. I’ve posted many examples of Jesus and Paul calling out their era’s equivalent of MSNBC and HuffPost talking heads, ivory tower universities and progressive CEOs, and megachurch celebrities using language that (for the time) would probably have made Trump cringe.

    I didn’t vote for Trump once. I maintained opposition to him and his legacy well after he left office, so I’m not some knee-jerk Trump zombie. But, I was able to open my eyes and see the good and the bad, rather than what the self-appointed talking heads told me to think.

    If you are considering leaving or altering your faith because you don’t like one specific former president, I suggest that your spiritual issues run deeper than just that. God can use whoever he wants to do his will, even if we don’t care for him or them. I am at peace with that.

    1. Marin Heiskell

      Brian –
      I didn’t say leave my faith. I said leave the evangelical church, which continues to lose its way as it is blinded by power, greed, and idolatry – and tries to use scripture to justify looking and acting just like the world it’s supposed to save.

      Jesus and Paul were calling people to repentance. Trump (who I cannot believe is being compared to Jesus and Paul) calls people names (which is bullying) out of pride, ego, and meanspiritedness. If you didn’t see comments like his “eulogy” of Colin Powell as downright meanspirited and unnecessary, then yeah…you are more of a Trump zombie and defender than you realize.

  18. Brian Patrick

    Marin Heiskell,

    I said “leaving or altering your faith” just to be clear and explicit, not that you were definitely no longer a Christian.

    “blinded by power, greed, and idolatry”

    That describes the megachurch/evangelical-industrial complex to a T. Politically-correct, worldly megachurches, superstar preachers, and their itching-ears minions are the ones I see blinded by power, greed, and idolatry. Most of the right-wing churches (J.D. Hall comes to mind) are fringe, niche individuals ridiculed by the majority of society.

    “If you didn’t see comments like his “eulogy” of Colin Powell as downright meanspirited and unnecessary”

    Powell chose to put himself in the public eye and advocate for various unGodly/unscriptural causes throughout his life. I’m not glad that he died, and I don’t think Trump is either, but it’s ridiculous to hold someone above reproach (a) just because the media loved them and (b) just because they died. I won’t say Trump’s “eulogy” was charitable, but nor will I say that the words were untrue.

    “you are more of a Trump zombie and defender than you realize.”

    I defend truth whether or not it’s popular. I never once wanted Trump in office–but God knew better than I did what America *needed* for those four years. Kind, gentle Republicans like George H.W. Bush, Romney, McCain all failed and were widely mocked and ridiculed and despised despite playing by all the rules. Trump came along, decided he didn’t give a rip, was just going to shoot truth out.

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