Christian college students, high school students, and other young adults attend a rally during the Passion '06 conference in Nashville, Tenn., on Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2006. About 18,000 young people are in Nashville for the four-day event. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

Evangelicals Arriving At a Time For Choosing

Many up and coming evangelical leaders pride themselves on eschewing politics. They look on the religious right of the eighties and nineties with disdain and that generation’s near covetous relationship with access and power and the new evangelicals have decided to go the opposite direction.

For most of them, instead of finding some moderate balance, they have overcorrected in the opposite direction and are just as sinful in their pride of eschewing politics as their predecessors were for coveting earthly power at the expense of advancing the kingdom.

The newer evangelical leaders remind me of the good Baptist who had a sheriff’s deputy show up at his doorstep. “Sir,” said the deputy, “a flood is coming. You need to evacuate.”

“God will take care of me,” said the Baptist.

As the waters rose, a boat came by. “Sir,” said the boat captain,”we can rescue you.”

“God will rescue me,” said the Baptist.

Still higher the waters rose and the Baptist had to climb to his room. A helicopter lowered a lifeline and the pilot called down, “Hold on to the rope. We will save you.”

The Baptist pushed aside the rope and declared God would save him.

When he stood before the throne and bowed before the Lord, the Baptist asked his Savior why his Savior did not save him.

“I sent you a car, a boat, and a helicopter, what more would you have me do?” asked God.

Younger Christian evangelicals, so turned off by their predecessors’ covetous relationship with power and, in some cases, scared that they too might grow covetous of access and power, have withdrawn to their rooftops to pray and wait for God to rescue them, the unborn, marriage, and culture.

When they stand before the throne and ask their Savior why he did not save the unborn, protect the Christians in America from secular harassment, and turn culture toward him, their Savior will reply, “I gave you a constitutional republic, a stable political process, and candidates from which you could choose. What more would you have me do?”

In fact, many new evangelical leaders have hitched their wagon to Marco Rubio because he seems to be the evangelical who does not drag his faith into politics. They look at Ted Cruz and bristle with contempt because of his courting of the old guard who the new evangelicals think are outmoded and harmful to the kingdom’s cause.

These evangelicals are about to be confronted with a reality that three to four Supreme Court justices are on the line, Rubio is floundering, and if Trump wins South Carolina he could pick up enough momentum to sweep the primaries and gain the Republican nomination. From what we know already about Trump’s judicial thoughts, he views his pro-abortion activist sister as an ideal Supreme Court pick. Until recently, Trump declared himself fully pro-abortion and supported late term abortion. His change came upon meeting an accomplished person who had almost been aborted, suggesting he does not value life so much as accomplished life.

Each day that ticks by in South Carolina without Marco Rubio gaining ground is a day that Trump continues to dominate. Frankly, each day that Rubio gains ground and drags the race out in South Carolina and beyond is a day that Trump maintains his grip.

I know some of these new evangelical leaders who have decided that they will either have their ideal candidate or walk away altogether. They find Ted Cruz wholly unacceptable because, like Marco Rubio, he is a politician. But unlike Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz did what he had to do to win Iowa. That meant courting old school, 80’s style evangelical leaders.

A time for choosing is coming for these younger, hipper, skinny jeans wearing evangelicals in their Warby Parker glasses. Do they choose to use the constitutional processes and system they have at their disposal to advance the life agenda and work to protect religious liberty for all. Or do they walk away, overcorrecting for the sins of their evangelical forefathers, in turn committing their own sins?

Governor John Kasich is right in one respect. We will all stand before our Maker one day and He will ask us, not us asking Him, “What did you do for the least of these?”

I am afraid too many of these young evangelicals will respond, “Well, I tried to get Marco Rubio elected, Lord, but when it clearly wasn’t your will, I figured I better get out of the way and just let Trump have it.”

The very issue of life hangs in the balance. The next President will pick at least three justices to the Supreme Court. God has given evangelicals a stable constitutional system through which they can work to persuade and advance public policies to protect life. It sure will be a shame if they decide because their Christian is not on the ballot, they’ll sit on their hands instead of helping the other Christians who are committed to protecting a culture of life in America.

The result would be a President who picks men and women for lifetime appointments who abandon the last remnants of this nation’s culture of life.

The clock is ticking for evangelicals. Do they walk away, rally to Cruz, or ride it out to the bitter end with Rubio? It is time to choose. The next half-century of this nation and lives of millions of children hang in the balance.

Marco Rubio is a great guy, a friend, and the man most of my family intends to vote for. Evangelicals, including members of my family, are going to have to decide if they keep giving him the benefit of the doubt and encourage him on, or does doing so risk Trump getting the nomination. I cannot answer that for any of them, but they are going to have to answer it. I hope by March 1st, I will not have to choose between Rubio and Cruz because I call them both friends. But I am also mindful that only one of them has thus far won a state and Trump must be stopped. The ticking clock must be answered.

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Erick Erickson

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