Max Lucado is all mixed up, “just like the people who killed Christ,” according to James Patrick Riley. According to Riley, if one actually believes in Biblical standards, that person is being pharisaical. Seriously.
And I would ask you to look to your Bibles again. God uses some pretty gritty characters to work His glorious and sovereign will. Jacob was a trickster who lied to his father. Abraham had wives and concubines. Samson kept a harlot. Solomon had hundreds of concubines. Peter betrayed Christ. Saul of Tarsus, was a murderous wretch.
You actually know all about that, but when you see a flawed man, in the flesh, you act just like a stoning torch mob, and you won’t even admit it.
Jesus knew all about this dismissive, self-righteous character of ours. He knew our nature. He knew there’s a Pharisee spirit in us that takes pride in being faithful to our wives, even as our horn-dog spirit wrestles with Donald Trump’s beauty pageants. Are we righteous, or just jealous? When the harlot adorns Jesus’ feet with precious ointment, are we accusing or praising God for forgiveness?
Riley is right that God used “some pretty gritty characters to work His glorious and sovereign will.”
What Riley ignores is that it was God’s sovereign will. God never asked HIs people to collaborate in the grittiness and sin. If God wants Trump to be President, God can do it without asking his people to endorse Trump.
Likewise, Riley chastises Lucado for closing “his eyes to another ‘Christian,’ Barack Obama, who stands foursquare for he slaughter of millions of unborn babies.” Does anyone think Lucado closed his eyes to that? Or any other evangelical Christian? In fact, one of the primary reasons guys like Lucado have felt compelled to speak out now is because of the evangelicals selling their souls to Trump and claiming Trump is a Christian hero who is God’s chosen.
But there is another point that Riley misses. Look at his list:
Jacob, Abraham, Samson, Solomon, Peter, Saul of Tarsus all have something in common that Trump does not have. They all had moments of repentance where they asked God for forgiveness. Trump has actually gone on record saying he has never had to ask God for forgiveness.
So here’s the thing, if it is pharisaical to read 1 Corinthians 5:11-12:
11 But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one. 12 For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? 13 God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.”
and decide Christians should not support an unrepentant man who has openly bragged about his sexual immorality, greed, and swindling, then so be it.
But it might also be that James Patrick Riley and his ilk are like those who fell away because they went off to have their itching ears scratched.
3 For the time is coming when people will not endure sound[a] teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, 4 and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.
The mere fact that someone would accuse Max Lucado and other Christians of being pharisaical because of a political vote is a big indication that James Patrick Riley and the like have their theology scrambled. They are looking for a savior in this world instead of looking to the savior coming from the next. Immorality is not determined by support of a political party.