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Christian Disagreement

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Jesus said:

“Do not judge so that you will not be judged.  For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you.  Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?  Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and behold, the log is in your own eye?  You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.

Which brings me to the E.J. Dionne piece, “Christian leaders call out the heresy of Trumpism.”  The op-ed is a promotion of a website/video, produced and populated by a very respectable list of left-leaning Evangelicals.  Some of the people that are featured in the video (say Tony Campolo and Ron Sider) are people I have read eagerly and that have deeply influenced me.  They believe, simply, that support of Trump is incompatible with Christian faith.  So definite are their pronouncements that I could not help but recall Mattthew 7 – the final of the three chapters of the Sermon on the Mount – quoted above.

Disclaimer – this statement does not name names, from Trump to anyone else.  However, it is clear who they are speaking about – abundantly clear.  It engages in widespread and common liberal tropes that make it plain where they are drawing lines and just who they are talking about.  Then there is the fact that Dionne names it plainly.

They accuse conservatives of divisiveness, yet leave no room for disagreement.  They “reject any doctrines or strategies that divide us,” and yet they imply that support of Trump is inherently racist.  They decry bigotry, and yet is not the presumption that support of Trump cannot in any fashion be reconciled with Christian faith bigoted?

It would be very easy to go through their statement and deal with it point-by-point, but under these circumstances it seems like a pointless exercise.  They offer no evidence for their claims, they simply assert them – and all those assertions are just ugly about people that disagree with them.  There is little point trying to deal with them substantively because they are simply declaring who is bad and who is good.  Is that not the same “crime” they are accusing conservatives of, just with a different target for their presumptions of bad?

If there is to be Christian unity on politics or theology or anything else – Heck, forget unity, just Christian fraternity – we have got to learn to temper our convictions with grace.  We have got to remember that we are all wrong somewhere, that we are all sinners.

They say they want to “Reclaim Jesus.”  I agree to that.  But I don’t think that starts by condemning, with labels and name-calling, fellow Christians that disagree with you.


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