The Selective Outrage of Mark Galli & Christianity Today

By Julie Roys

Christianity Today (CT) Editor in Chief Mark Galli simply can’t contain his outrage over the moral depravity of President Trump. Last Thursday, just weeks before his retirement, Galli unleashed a scathing editorial calling for Trump’s removal.

Labeling Trump’s actions “profoundly immoral,” Galli wrote: “That he should be removed, we believe, is not a matter of partisan loyalties but loyalty to the Creator of the Ten Commandments.” Then, taking aim at fellow evangelicals, Galli added: “Consider what an unbelieving world will say if you continue to brush off Mr. Trump’s immoral words and behavior . . . If we don’t reverse course now, will anyone take anything we say about justice and righteousness with any seriousness for decades to come?”

As someone who’s been pleading with evangelicals for the past two years to speak out against immoral leaders, there was a part of me that was tempted to cheer—not because of Galli’s call for the president to resign. That’s immaterial to my point. If you’ve followed me for long, you know I’ve both criticized and praised this president when either response has been warranted. And I haven’t published anything about the impeachment process because I’ve felt anything I’d say about it would likely prove unhelpful in this extremely politically-charged environment.

But I was tempted to cheer only because an evangelical leader was apparently taking a stand based on conviction, despite knowing it would spark backlash within his own camp. This is almost unheard of in evangelicalism. Yet, considering the source, I was dumbfounded.

Here were Galli and CT—an editor and magazine, which have not only consistently failed to confront corrupt leaders but have actually aided and abetted them—lecturing other evangelicals about supporting Trump. The hypocrisy was so blatant, I stared at my screen with my jaw on my chest as I read Galli’s entire op-ed.

Here were Galli and CT—an editor and magazine, which have not only consistently failed to confront corrupt leaders but have actually aided and abetted them—lecturing other evangelicals about supporting Trump. The hypocrisy was so blatant . . .

For those who aren’t aware, CT last fall published what was arguably its most reprehensible op-ed ever. It was penned by the corrupt, and now disgraced, former pastor of Harvest Bible Chapel, James MacDonald. And the entire purpose of the op-ed entitled, “Why Suing is Sometimes the Biblical Choice,” was to justify MacDonald’s unbiblical and morally repugnant lawsuit against me, two bloggers, and their wives. Their wives!

And as if that weren’t bad enough, there’s the shocking backstory of the op-ed. As we now know, the op-ed came after Ed Stetzer, CT contributing editor and executive director of the Billy Graham Center at Wheaton College, used his influence at CT to arrange a phone call between MacDonald and CT Global Director Jeremy Weber. (That phone call was captured on a “hot mic” recording, which has since been published on YouTube.)

Ed Stetzer

And about a year earlier, MacDonald had given Stetzer a $13,000 classic VW as a gift. Though Stetzer reimbursed Harvest Bible Chapel for the VW after learning that MacDonald had purchased it with the church’s money, taking such a large gift is a serious breach of journalistic ethics.

Yet when called on this glaring breach, Galli’s response was that Stetzer—a CT editor—isn’t a journalist. That’s another jaw-dropper. Whether Stetzer is a journalist or not, Stetzer should be required to adhere to the magazine’s ethical standards. Yet Galli completely brushed off Stetzer’s moral lapse. CT never reported what Stetzer did and Stetzer remained in his position.

But it gets worse.

Galli and CT also apparently didn’t see a story when I revealed that the person on the “hot mic” recording joking with James MacDonald about putting child porn on the computer of former CT CEO Harold Smith was PR guru, Johnnie Moore. Moore also is heard coaching MacDonald on how to manipulate CT into giving MacDonald favorable coverage for his abysmal lawsuit.

Johnnie Moore

Moore sits on the executive committee of the National Association of Evangelicals. He’s also the leader of Trump’s Evangelical Advisory Committee. You would think Galli, who’s so concerned about the witness of his fellow evangelicals, would care that someone as morally compromised as Moore holds such prominent positions within evangelicalism. Yet, CT didn’t publish the shocking revelations about Moore.

Recently, I talked with Moore and he told me that he flew out to Carol Stream last spring to meet face-to-face with the leadership of CT to apologize for his behavior. I live within 10 minutes of CT’s offices, but Moore didn’t bother to apologize to me until several weeks ago when I called Moore and confronted him.

Unlike CT, I can’t do any favors for Johnnie Moore—nor would I. But apparently CT does, and it did.

But CT’s collusion and complicity doesn’t end there. When I published my initial exposé on MacDonald and Harvest Bible Chapel in WORLD Magazine, CT published an article disputing my exposé. In addition, CT did something almost unheard of in journalism: it published Harvest’s press release in full.

Interestingly, CT had done something similar about a year earlier when famed apologist Ravi Zacharias was caught in a sexting scandal. Like MacDonald, Zacharias pre-emptively sued his accuser before she went public. And then, after the woman had signed a non-disparagement agreement and could not speak, CT published Zacharias’ full statement against her.

At the time, I was more naïve and remember being convinced by the CT article that Zacharias was innocent. I have since read Steve Baughman’s book, Cover-up in the Kingdom, and now realize there’s a lot more to the story than CT reported. I have questions for which I’m continuing to seek answers.

There also was the time CT kicked me out of its studio after I blew the whistle on the Moody Bible Institute and got fired from my job at Moody Radio. Before then, CT had allowed me to use its studio to record podcasts.

But apparently burning a bridge with a friend of CT’s was not allowed, regardless of the veracity of my reporting. Galli later apologized to me for the rude way CT had treated me. But he stood by the decision to rescind our prior agreement.

What’s become abundantly clear is that Galli and CT’s outrage concerning immorality is extremely selective. If one happens to be an evangelical powerbroker, CT will give your indiscretions, and even blatant corruption, a pass. But if you’re Donald Trump—a figure despised by the Left and rejected by a significant minority on the Right—Galli and CT will unload both barrels.

What’s become abundantly clear is that Galli and CT’s outrage concerning immorality is extremely selective. If one happens to be an evangelical powerbroker, CT will give your indiscretions, and even blatant corruption, a pass.

I suspect the reason for this hypocrisy is that CT depends on the evangelical industrial complex to survive. It needs its evangelical advertisers and relationships with top Christian celebrities and thought leaders to remain in business. But CT doesn’t need Trump.

The magazine has been building its more progressive base for years. And as Matthew Schmitz, senior editor of First Things, noted in an op-ed in the New York Post, most of the leadership class within evangelicalism is far more liberal than the movement it supposedly represents.

Galli likely knew his op-ed would make him a hero to the people who write the books, sell the books, organize the conferences, and staff Christian colleges. It seems a calculated risk, and one that’s apparently paid off. As Galli told CNBC, three times as many people have subscribed to CT than have unsubscribed since his op-ed went viral.

So I get it. Mark Galli and CT made a brilliant move, which has enlarged their progressive base and will allow the magazine to go precisely where it’s been straining to go the past decade. And Galli’s op-ed will likely launch him beautifully into a “retirement” replete with speaking invitations and opportunities to freelance for secular publications.

But let’s not pretend that this was all about righteous indignation. Galli and CT clearly only care about “justice and righteousness” and preserving the witness of evangelicalism when it suits them. And it’s not just Trump who’s “dumbed down the idea of morality.” Galli and CT have been doing that for years. And they’re the last people who should act as though they have a moral platform from which to pass judgment.

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151 thoughts on “The Selective Outrage of Mark Galli & Christianity Today”

  1. You guys need to wake up and smell the coffee. Trump does not care about the Bible , unborn babies , or anything related to the abortion issue. He just knows that the more he mouths what the Evangelical community wants to hear he gets more donations from your fat checkbooks to further his Trump brand. Trump cares about Trump , plain and simple. I just cannot figure out why so many miss that.

    1. You are incorrect, Sir. That is a liberal talking point. So, may I ask how long you have
      known President Trump and when you became friends? Do you know how much he
      gives away without telling anyone? Trump does have an ego, but don’t pat yourself
      on your back thinking you know POTUS personally. And, did you know that God uses
      everyone for His own purpose? Did you know that Hitler was used? And why? Do you
      know that judging the president, without due respect, is not a pleasing response according
      to God? We are not to judge. Do you know what POTUS has done in the last four years
      and how much more he has done compared to the last administration in eight years? Do
      you know how important it has been for Israel to have Jerusalem the capitol of the
      country. Trump did that. Do you know how important the last treaty has been between
      Israel and the UEA and now all dominoes are falling in place with other countries. Did you
      know that President Trump is not perfect, like you and I. I expect that you will be
      voting for Biden but have you researched his deeds….China especially and Ukraine and
      his son, his brother and sister. How they all got rich off of Joe? Do you know how many
      decisions Joe made that were wrong during his eight years as VP? Still have time to
      find out. This man, Donald Trump, has been abused by the left liberals, the democratic
      party, the mainstream media which are ABC, NBC, MCNBC, CNN, The NY Times, the
      Washington Post and on and on. The impeachment process was a sham. And, the
      democratic party of liberals who have become godless and have sold their souls will be
      a thorn on our wonderful country. Please rethink your statement and why believers are going
      to vote for Trump. And, once again, you and I our sinners…I have been forgiven and choose
      to serve my Lord and Savior by doing my best to live as He wants me to according to His
      word. Please don’t be a hater.

  2. Dr. James Foster

    This all saddens me. I’ve been reading article after article and tried to find and watch hopeful interviews. However, my heart aches as I mourn the death of the authentic evangelical Christian witness. It looks like there is one big race to the bottom.

    1. Dr James ,it is sad but Matthew 7:13-14 Warns us that it’s a small gate and a narrow path that leads to Life and Few find it….maybe real Christianity is alot smaller than We thought….Keep contending for the Faith.

  3. @SadForITALL You say he “mouths what the Evangelical community wants to hear” but actually he has DONE more! He has unfunded abortion all over the world & in the USA / he has put conservative judges in place and he has NOT taken the bait to be lured into war and needless bloodshed in Syria, Iran, NK etc etc. He has invited prayer into the Oval office. You my friend are the one who needs to wake up! Trump may not be a follower of Christ but he has done more for Christ followers than any president in my 52 yr lifetime!

    1. Rebecca, you can not follow God and man. Trump does what Trump wants. This man honestly believes that he’s more important than God. He made a statement that he has done more for Christians than Jesus. He said that guy is dead, no one listen to him anymore.
      He’s right. Because you actually believe that this man is sent by God and doing God’s will.
      Oh you generation of itchy ears.

      1. Vanessa.,,,please make sure you are telling the truth. Just repeating from another source which is incorrect may harm you more than you realize….
        Trump, revered by Evangelicals – some of whom call him God-chosen to lead the United States – never uttered such words, although he has claimed to be “heaven sent.” This is simply a piece of satire that was taken word-for-word from the Babylon Bee, which, at the top of its page, advertises a news letter with “Fake news you can trust, delivered straight to your inbox.

    2. Rebecca…you are so right! And, I truly believe that President Trump has accepted Jesus Christ as his
      Savior but a work in progress. Jim Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family, I believe prayed with
      President Trump and he has clergy in his office as well as a personal pastor. So, I am not counting him
      out. I KNOW that God is using him for His purpose. I just sent a reply to the man who spoke very negatively about President Trump. He sounds like a talking piece for the liberal democrats. I really don’t think they do any research on platforms and what other administrations have done. They just take up what they hear and go from there.
      President Trump, I feel, hardly sleeps. He has done more than I realized and each week or so I find out
      more. God bless him and keep him safe and may God show His mercy on us once again. I fear a Biden
      win which is a lie and cover up…shame on them for doing this to Joe Biden and that includes his family….
      his wife and the party.

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