Following the backlash from the Trump/America worship service in which he and his church participated last Saturday, Dr. Robert Jeffress of First Baptist Dallas responded with the accusation that those who objected to this display of nation-worship were “evangelical gnats who are looking for any excuse to nibble at the president.” Strange language choice aside (I, for one, am not looking to “nibble” at anyone), it seems Jeffress is either missing or does not want to see the real problem here.
The issue with what Jeffress and FBD did is not a Trump issue (although Trump, being a particularly immoral and defiant breed of president, certainly doesn’t endear himself). The issue is worship. Jeffress and the FBD choir and orchestra took what is reserved for God alone (the assembling together to sing praises) and instead redirected them to the country and its leader. The gathering of a church choir (and its pastor to boot) to most Americans represents the idea of Christian worship. What kind of message does it send when the choir starts singing the gospel of MAGA instead of the gospel of Christ? Furthermore, the song is registered with CCLI, which means it is now available and authorized for licensed churches to use in their worship services. While I don’t know if FBD did or plans to use it in their church, I’m sure somebody will.
If Dr. Jeffress categorizes those who are opposed to false and misplaced worship as “evangelical gnats,” he needs to realize that also means he’s going to have to classify these guys as “gnats” as well:
Jeffress and others like him need to realize that this is not just harmless patriotism they are playing around with. In the Bible, people died for re-appropriating that reserved for God to others and for polluting the worship of God with foreign things.
As for me, I would rather stand on the side of the heroes of the faith who believed only in the true worship of the true God and refused to deviate from it than to go with the flow of evangelical political idolatry. If that makes me an “evangelical gnat,” I’ll wear the title gladly. ♦