In Defense of Evangelical Baptists (Huckabee, Graham, Falwell, and Jeffress) by A Reformed Presbyterian

Is it the height of inconsistency for evangelicals to defend Trump?

However, I think what bothers me even more than inconsistent Baptists is the silence of Reformed Presbyterians when it comes to matters of culture.  These evangelical Baptists (Huckabee, Graham, Falwell, and Jeffress) do speak out on political issues that relate to the law of God while most Reformed Presbyterians are hunkered down in their local fortresses promoting a theology of escapism. 

 

Recently, The Aquila Report posted an article lamenting the fact that prominent evangelical Baptists support Trump (To evangelicals, Trump is the whirlwind.  And they are fine with that).  It is easy to conclude from the article that the height of inconsistency for evangelicals is to defend Trump.  The analysis for this position (and Presbyterians are good at analysis) reached back to the First Great Awakening (18th Century) which substituted individualism for the corporate, and the dramatic (spectacular and exciting) for incremental change and the shaping of culture from within its dominant institutions.  The flamboyant Trump attracts unthinking, emotional Baptists.  One conclusion stated that evangelicalism is nothing but a “folk religion characterized by disdain for authority and tradition.” Actually, I think someone really missed it here.  Just for the record, the First Great Awakening changed Presbyterians more than it did the Baptists.

Now, as a Reformed Presbyterian, I do not consider myself as an evangelical, although I am not opposed to being called an evangelical.  Admittedly, when I hear most evangelical Baptists speak on cultural issues, I often cringe.  I can parse their words and see their Baptist theology coming forth like water out of a fountain.

However, I think what bothers me even more than inconsistent Baptists is the silence of Reformed Presbyterians when it comes to matters of culture.  These evangelical Baptists (Huckabee, Graham, Falwell, and Jeffress) do speak out on political issues that relate to the law of God while most Reformed Presbyterians are hunkered down in their local fortresses promoting a theology of escapism.

It is ironic how the roles have been reversed from the way it was years ago when men like the Presbyterian Machen spoke to a Joint House and Senate Committee against a Proposed Department of Education. The evangelical Baptists have become speakers in the public square while Reformed Presbyterians have taken the so-called high road of silence waiting on deliverance from this evil world. Actually, in my opinion, most Reformed Presbyterians today have nothing to say.  They are good with Systematic Theology, but they were never taught in seminary how to apply the law of God to all areas of life.  The worst problem is that years ago they abdicated their prophetic voice on cultural issues, and substituted a “two-kingdom theology” which makes them irrelevant in the public square.  I call it Presbyterian Pietism.

Yes, these popular four evangelical Baptists may not have their theology right on all issues.  Maybe Trump is a hypocrite.  However, they do have enough boldness and concern about the future of our country that they are speaking out boldly.  They are in the public square and they do have something to say.  Sometimes they are exactly right!  I have to admire them for that.

Larry E. Ball is a retired minister in the Presbyterian Church in America and is now a CPA. He lives in Kingsport, Tennessee.