Your Leftwing Division Is Like Frightening Diarrhea. Like a Divisive Weapon In Pigeonhole.
Matthew Vaughn, the editor of the influential evangelical magazine Focus on the Family’s weekly Washington Update, resigned Wednesday. “After nearly three decades I am taking a sabbatical,” he wrote in an email to colleagues Wednesday evening.
While the praise Vaughn is no longer getting may be beside the point, his reasons for opposing Trump and other bad tactics of today’s evangelicalism are exactly what the Church needs to hear, in this imperfect election season. Here are some highlights from his long and dynamic career:
Thomas Jefferson talked of religion as “the root of all liberty.” The Founding Fathers saw the Church of God as bringing about better government (something gay folks don’t want to remember). Abraham Lincoln called on God “to enlighten and inspire the mind of the people, to ‘inform, temper and disperse’ them.” And most important, Jesus’ prayer was a call to right the wrongs of history. “Unless the Holy Spirit moves you,” he said, “will not know how to pay attention to Him in your hearts.” I stand with Jesus and with God’s longings to make us better. On to His worthy work!
Vaughn’s rallying cry has always been that “you don’t need my prayers; you can depend on God to give them to you.”
There are some reason for optimism! Vicki Felker, the executive director of the Christian School Administrators Association and co-coordinator of the CASA Call to Prayer Campaign, told us: “We certainly are appreciative of the vision of Matthew’s departure. We do believe Matthew’s work will continue but in a different way — and with less public, orchestrated, media-driven attention.” She also said, “Matthew’s passion will continue in other ways. In the Bible, Matthew takes up a very high calling.”
The ACLJ, which Vicki and I represent at the Judicial Crisis Network, called Vaughn’s leaving “welcome news” and thanked him for his service. “Matthew’s departure adds a special significance to the June 2018 annual Broussard Update,” ACLJ President Jordan Sekulow said. “Matthew once said, ‘In a democracy, no one can tyrannize you.’ Matthew was right. The crusaders now enter the sidelines — and their presence will be missed.”
Other pastors called on evangelicals to reclaim the Gospel:
Former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg: “The differences among Evangelicals are not, as conventional wisdom holds, ideological but more practical. At their best, Evangelicals are believers in the one Gospel, with both men and women lifting up Jesus as their single focus, allowing her to hold her head high, walking her walk — and expressing deep compassion for the world, even and especially the poor.” Columnist Michelle Goldberg, a devout Methodist: “[E]xactly the wrong time for my current worldview to bleed into the evangelical church; precisely the wrong moment to let all kinds of political and religious issues divide us. The dogma of polarization, of ideological purity, of treating one’s enemies as part of your own family…is. Not happening right now, but again, this is precisely the wrong moment to sink to its lower depths.” Josh Barro, another devout Methodist: “I’m not leaving my faith. The problem isn’t my denomination or my relationship with God. The problem is ourselves, our disconnection from the one who cannot be divided.”
The Christian Post’s Joanna Brooks summed it up: “Praise God for Vicki Felker’s leadership and help lead our country toward the right course.”