What You Need to Know About 'Franklin Graham and the High Cost of the Lost Evangelical Witness'

Vice President Mike Pence, President Donald Trump and Franklin Graham with the Graham family
Vice President Mike Pence, President Donald Trump and Franklin Graham with the Graham family (REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein)
David French authored a piece in National Review titled "Franklin Graham and the High Cost of the Lost Evangelical Witness." In it, he seeks to demonstrate that "Graham's willingness to abandon Christian principles when it's politically expedient has cost the church dearly."

This is the same David French whom anti-Trumper Bill Kristol in 2016 was trying to recruit to run as an independent for the presidency. Had such a catastrophically misguided effort come to fruition, it would have taken away votes from then-Republican nominee Donald J. Trump and so effectively cleared the way for a Hillary Clinton presidency.

Never-Trumper absolutists keep plodding along in this fashion toward 2020.

Jesus was neither on the ballot in 2016, nor will He be in 2020. Like all of us, President Donald Trump should take spiritual counsel from Solomon: "Let another man praise you, and not your own mouth; a stranger, and not your own lips" (Prov. 27:2).

"Self-praise is unfitting because it destroys one's relationship with God and people. The Lord detests the proud, and society dislikes and discounts the boaster. Instead of exalting the boaster, self-praise diminishes one's status and suggests that one is proud, feels undervalued, and is socially insecure" (Bruce K. Waltke, Proverbs commentary).

Jewish Hebrew scholar Michael V. Fox added: "Modesty is a tactical as well as moral virtue, for others are more likely to speak of a person's virtues and accomplishments if he himself is silent on them, and 'He whose spirit is humble will hold honor' [Proverbs] 29:23." (Proverbs commentary)

President Trump has shown in the dismal Russian collusion flop a distinguishing feature of his personal nature that Christians should take to heart. "It is when a man is hemmed in and trapped by adverse circumstances that his powers of endurance are stretched and an estimate of his toughness and stamina can be made ... an all-around grittiness and sinewy determination that includes physical endurance, but also embraces mental toughness" (William McKane, Proverbs commentary).

And courage!

Let's examine candidate Trump's campaign promises of 2016:

• Defend religious liberty.
• Stand for the unborn.
• Defund Planned Parenthood. [Blocked by House.]
• Build a Wall on Southern Border.
• Appoint conservative jurists to the Supreme Court and federal appeals courts.
• Reinstate the Mexico City Policy [block U.S. federal funding of abortion].
• Rescind the Johnson Amendment [alias the pastor muzzle act].
• Recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and move the American Embassy to the Holy City.

Before Donald J. Trump's swearing-in in January 2017, former Speaker Newt Gingrich spoke the now almost prophetic words: "I just hope that Trump doesn't lose his nerve." Gingrich identified both the direct threat posed to Donald Trump by the 'deep state' as well as the long-term threat to sustainable freedom in America. The 'deep state' has yet to be dealt with.

When we look at Jim Daly and his Focus on the Family's punctuation of David French's deep-seated ill will towards Trump, we have to ask ourselves what possibly could be behind Daly's spotlighting of a negative Trump piece in April 2019, just 18 months before the election? The answer must be to inject the leaven of the Pharisees, in an attempt to suppress evangelical voter turnout on Election Day, Nov. 3, 2020.

Does Mr. Daly realize the consequences of shrinking 2020 evangelical voter turnout by 3-5%? If not, let's make it clear: conservative Christian governors, members of Congress, state representatives and state senators, city council members, Christians running competitive races for school board and other local races will lose by a percentage point or two, thus enabling liberals to impose their values and write in stone a culture devoid of God.

Christian leaders will have to take their political game and skills to a whole new level if America is to survive. Not only do we Christians as of now not 'do politics', we also have a negligible influence on the intellectual, educational, economic, and vocational cultural mountains of influence in America.

A little history: In 1991, Focus on the Family left California with 400 of its finest employees and moved to Colorado Springs. Colorado conservatives imprudently came to believe that Focus was home to political master minds, and by subscribing to their self-professed political judgment skills watched their state go from red to blue. With zero influence in the public square, Mr. Daly, just last year, stood by as his state elected the nation's first openly gay governor.

The good news is that God is sovereign. As we begin the political machinations for 2020, we call to mind our own prediction the night before Election Day 2016, "There is no way in the world, politically, that Donald J. Trump can be elected president."

We would do well to heed A.W. Pink's advice:

Beloved reader, apply now this principle to your own individual life. Are you anxiously exercised over God's delay? He has some wise purpose for it. He had with Abram, and He has with you. From 75, his age when he left Haran—to 100, when Isaac was born—was a long time to wait, but the sequel evidenced the Lord's wisdom. God has more than one reason for His delays. Often it is to test the faith of His children, to develop their patience, to bring them to the end of themselves. His delays are in order that when He does act His delivering power may be more plainly evident, that what He does may be more deeply appreciated, and that in consequence He may be more illustriously glorified (Pink, Gleanings in Genesis).

We can be sure that He won't let us down. Thankfully, Gideons and Rahabs are beginning to stand.

David Lane is the founder of American Renewal Project.

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