I don’t know if you were aware that we have Eric Metaxas and Franklin Graham to thank for clearing up where all this impeachment talk comes from. The devil made ’em do it!
Peter Wehner does a much better job than me taking exception with their assertion, so feel free to skip this and go right to his article in the Atlantic. Wehner is both a devoted follower of Jesus and an expert political pundit. As just one of those (the Jesus one), I’m compelled by conscience (and I think by the Spirit) to comment on this rash and biblically baseless claim that demon powers account for those who challenge Mr. Trump’s fitness for the job of president. I can’t just sit back and let their comments go unchecked.
For the record, I consider these two men to be my brothers in Christ. I can’t wrap my head around their determined devotion to Donald Trump, but I am hardly in a position to question their commitment to Christ. I would never say of them what they seem to be saying about those who disagree with them––that their views are demonically induced.
I do think they, and the entire cadre of otherwise intelligent Christian leaders who vociferously claim that the emperor is fully clothed and should be cheered for his choice of attire, are profoundly mistaken and must wake up out of their delusion lest the reputation of the Body of Christ in America be impaired for decades.
Giving them the benefit of the doubt, though foolishly playing the demonic card, neither said that anyone in particular is personally demonized for objecting to what the president stands for. Metaxas was saying how bizarre it is that people fight so hard against POTUS when Graham chimed in and claimed that it was “almost a demonic power…” Metaxas then interrupted and upped the anti: “It’s not almost demonic…” Who knows where Graham was going with it had he not been interrupted, but they both agreed that there is a demonic power influencing the call to impeach the president.
I believe that a real battle with real hellish spiritual forces exists. The Bible is replete with references to the dark powers and how they influence individuals and collections of individuals called nations. But as Wehner says, “There is no biblical or theological case to support the claim that critics of Donald Trump are under the spell of Satan. It is invented out of thin air, a shallow, wild, and reckless charge meant to be a conversation stopper.”
Side note: Just today a friend sent me a podcaster’s video soliciting prayer for the president based on this very thing. He claims that the attacks on Donald Trump by “communists, socialists, and liberals in this country” are being initiated by the adversary of our souls. That’s a pretty broad brush I’d say––with “demons” and “liberals” painted into the same corner! So, everyone who disagrees with the president is a demon possessed communist? Back to Graham and Metaxas…
“[They] appear to believe that they, along with Donald Trump, are part of a holy crusade to rid the world of evil, wickedness, and demonic powers,” says Wehner. “What they are saying in their interview is that you either stand with them, or you stand with the forces of Satan. There is no middle ground.”
It’s demonic. End of discussion!
Where’s the room for any exchange of rational ideas?
My biggest concern about this sort of talk by Christian leaders in such a public forum is the affect it has on the watching pre-Christian community. It’s not like they didn’t already have good reasons to stay away from the Church. Millennials and younger aren’t stupid. They can see the hypocrisy of a Church that preaches integrity, compassion, and love of enemies and then goes ahead and sanitizes a man who exhibits none of those qualities. They’re not ignorant of the fact that Donald Trump is intellectually, temperamentally, and morally unfit to be mayor of a small city, let alone president of the United States. And yet those dumb Christians call him “the chosen one!” They can see his unique skill at conspiracy peddling, while at the same surrounding himself with Evangelical water-carriers and photo-op cravers. They know he compulsively lies, is vindictive, erratic, and ignorant of how world leaders interact with each other. Then they read Jerry Falwell Jr.’s claims that Mr. Trump is “a Churchillian figure…one of the greatest visionaries of our time … who lives a life of loving and helping others as Jesus taught in the New Testament.”
No wonder they wonder what we’ve been smoking!
I couldn’t agree more with Wehner: “They make the job of the so-called New Atheists so much easier than it would otherwise be. All militant atheists need to do is to point people—young people in particular—to conversations like the one between Graham and Metaxas and say, ‘Is that the kind of faith you want to be associated with?’”
“Everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light. This is why it is said: “Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.” (Ephesians 5:13-16)