This post originally ran February 13, 2017.
I am writing you as one who has appreciated your work, and as one who has been most grateful for your presence and influence in the new administration. Your impact has not gone unnoticed, and we thank God for you. I am extraordinarily mindful of what you did in appearing to speak at the pro-life march. I have thanked God for you. We have prayed for you.
At the same time, there has also been obvious influence in the other direction, and so I wanted to take this opportunity address you in my capacity as a minister of the Lord Jesus Christ. I know that you are a believer, and that you respect the authority of the holy Scriptures. I am appealing to those Scriptures, and come to you as a fellow servant of those Scriptures. I know, in fact, that we agree on this common ground.
I saw that you recently defended the president’s approach to LGBTQ issues, in his extension of President Obama’s executive order on LGBT rights. In the past you have said that you are a Christian first, a conservative second and a Republican third, in that order. In the past you have recognized that “societal collapse was always brought about following an advent of the deterioration of marriage and family.” But just recently, in this interview with George Stephanopoulos, you said that you applauded the president’s continued inclusion of the “LGBT community” in this way. You further said that there is no room in a patriot’s heart for prejudice. This is problematic in many ways, which I would like to take a moment to explain.
In the first place, as you well know, no responsible Christian leader advocates queer-bashing. But as you also know, the activists on the left have labored industriously to equate every form of principled biblical opposition to sexual perversion with such hatred, bigotry, and prejudice. You cannot echo this language, acting as though this were a battle with prejudice, without complicity in perpetuating the impression that the Christians who oppose sexual perversion on biblical principle are doing so because of discrimination and prejudice. But it is not prejudiced to read Leviticus, I Kings, and Romans with a submissive heart.
You are not the first person that God has been extraordinarily kind to with regard to high office, promoting you well beyond what many were expecting. You have been promoted far beyond what most in the world were expecting just a few months ago. Not only has this happened many times in history, but it has also happened many times within the pages of Scripture. Because we have accounts of this sort of thing in Scripture, we know exactly what God thinks of it.
You are a believer in an unbelieving system of power. Men have been right where you are— Joseph and Daniel come to mind—and they have stood true. Others, unfortunately more than just two, have been given glorious opportunities and have decided to rely on the pragmatic wisdom of flattering courtiers instead, rather than relying on the unvarnished, unpolished, unadorned Word of God.
As the examples of Joseph and Daniel show, there is no compromise in the mere fact of your presence in the halls of unbelieving power. We rejoice in that fact. There is no compromise through being in the presence of compromise. But nevertheless the challenges are great there. More men have stumbled there than stood. Let me give you some examples.
“Go, tell Jeroboam, Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, Forasmuch as I exalted thee from among the people, and made thee prince over my people Israel, and rent the kingdom away from the house of David, and gave it thee: and yet thou hast not been as my servant David, who kept my commandments, and who followed me with all his heart, to do that only which was right in mine eyes; but hast done evil above all that were before thee: for thou hast gone and made thee other gods, and molten images, to provoke me to anger, and hast cast me behind thy back: Therefore, behold, I will bring evil upon the house of Jeroboam” (1 Kings 14:7-10)
“And the Lord was angry with Solomon, because his heart was turned from the Lord God of Israel, which had appeared unto him twice, and had commanded him concerning this thing, that he should not go after other gods: but he kept not that which the Lord commanded. Wherefore the Lord said unto Solomon . . .” (1 Kings 11:9-11)
These two examples show, as do others, that when God promotes a man to high office, requiring certain things from him there, and then that man does not do what God asks of him, God knows and recalls the fact of the promotion. God remembers how this happened. God says, in effect, you were nobody in your own eyes, and in the eyes of all Israel, but I took you and placed you to be a leader of this people. Why, when I have done all this for you, have you so quickly abandoned the wisdom that I set before you?
Here is another example, with the word of the Lord coming to Jehu:
“Forasmuch as I exalted thee out of the dust, and made thee prince over my people Israel; and thou hast walked in the way of Jeroboam, and hast made my people Israel to sin . . .” (1 Kings 16:2).
This is not merely an intellectual issue. One of the men who compromised in just this way was the wisest man who ever lived. This is a moral issue, and since courage is the testing point of every virtue, as C.S. Lewis once said, it is a courage issue.
As you consider these things, as I trust you will, there are three factors you must keep in mind.
The first is the state of your own soul. I know that you believe you have been brought to this place to accomplish great things, and I also believe that you have in fact been positioned by God to do wonderful things. But there are always two directions to go wherever you are, and that would be the obedient direction and the disobedient one.
However grand the project, however likely it may seem that if you just trim at these edges here or there you will gain the world, remember what our Lord Jesus taught us. What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his soul (Matt. 16:26)? That is the ultimate bad bargain. Remember also that the Lord himself was once taken to a high mountain and was there shown all the kingdoms of this world, and their glory—and this would include the kingdom that you are now privileged to help lead—and He refused the offer. Think about this. What you are being offered, Jesus was once offered. And He refused it because the offer came on the devil’s terms.
This is what you must resolve before God to do. When that moment comes—and I can tell that it is coming, and is almost upon you—this is what you must do. You must refuse the caYou must refuse the candied offers that will come, and you must defy all the threats that will immediately follow your refusal.ndied offers that will come, and you must defy all the threats that will immediately follow your refusal.
The second thing is that you must remember you are dealing with liars and cheats. Even if you did decide to bend and accommodate them, they will only take it as an indication that it is time for them to change all the terms and demand something new, and even more appalling. They will never be satisfied with anything you give them, so why give them anything? There are other letters in their abecedarian perversions. At some point soon in the proceedings, they will add B and P. At what point do you get off? At what point do we defy them and all their lusts?
Keep in mind that obedience is never easier to start later. Obedience now makes obedience later more attainable. Compromise now does the same thing. Compromise now makes it much easier to continue with the compromise. The man who takes one hundred dollars from his employer now will find it harder, not easier, to resist when the occasion arises to take a thousand.
Obedience greases the skids for more obedience. Disobedience greases the skids for more disobedience. The pragmatic spirits around you are lying their heads off. You do not want to find yourself two years from now, standing in the shambles of a once promising opportunity, wondering what the hell happened. If that happens, I want you to remember that this letter happened, and recall what the Scripture teaches. And what the hell happened is that Hell happened. Hell lies and then lies some more. This is why Scripture is filled with stories of men who wobbled after God had personally escorted them to the top. Don’t be another example of that old and overdone story. That story never ends the way the flatterers said it would.
Third, remember that you have many true friends across the country. Those in the media like to call people like this your “base,” but this is not really a cluster of people politically considered. The people of God are not a lobbying group, not a base in that sense. But these are the people who want you to stand, who want you to be vindicated, who want you to be promoted, who want you to prosper. These are the people who pray for you. After the Lord, these are the people you do not want to disappoint. And the alternative should be easy—disappointing the people who hate you, who want to tear you to pieces, and who don’t believe a word you say about discrimination and prejudice.
I said at the beginning that I was writing to you in my capacity as a minister of Jesus Christ. Part of the propaganda spread by the evil one has been to get the people to laugh off expressions like that. It can easily be made to seem risible, like Belushi in The Blues Brothers saying that they are “on a mission from God.” But just like in the Bible, we still have political rulers who are evil, political rulers who are good, and political rulers who are good but who have not removed the high places. A prophetic word needs to be spoken to all of them—whether rebuke, encouragement, or admonition.
And this prophetic word never comes from anybody with respectable credentials. In that sense I certainly qualify—I am a nobody in north Idaho with Internet access. But I am also a minister of Christ, and I am writing to you in His name.
So in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, here is the admonition. You know better. I know that you know better. I watched you interviewed about Bradley Manning, and admired how you made a point of referring to him as Private Manning over and over again, doing so in order to avoid honoring him with the name of Chelsea or the pronoun her. That was well done. You were walking carefully, but without compromise. What you were doing was obvious, but not obnoxious or provocative.
But you have now begun to do the one thing that you may not do. You may not defend corruption. You may be around it—in fact, you must be around it. This is what God has called you to. But you may not, as Jesus reigns, start strewing aromatic flowers over the cesspool. You may not start talking as though tolerance of sexual perversion were diversity. You must not act as though believing Christians really are homophobic and need to get over their “prejudice.” That narrative is the central lie—Seneca Falls, Selma, Stonewall—and the language you used in the interview with Stephanopoulos was a badly handled accommodation to that narrative. But the narrative is false, and further, you know that it is false. Return to an honest and winsome statement of your own convictions.
When this kind of thing comes up again—as it will, probably next week—you need to have an honest response ready. This response needs to be respectful of the president, but it must not maneuver you into calling good evil and evil good (Is 5:20).
I really believe that you want to help make America great again. But mainstreaming sexual deviance is not the way that happens. That is how we become one with Nineveh and Tyre. John Adams once said that our Constitution presupposes a moral and religious people, and that it is wholly unfit for any other. This testimony is true.
We will continue to pray for you.
Cordially in Christ,