About four years ago Al Mohler, president of Southern Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, made it clear he could not support a Donald Trump candidacy because of his complete lack of Christian character. He said, “If I were to support, much less endorse Donald Trump for president, I would actually have to go back and apologize to former President Bill Clinton.”
Mohler has recently reversed his political opinion and has said he will be voting for Trump in 2020. Mohler explained his reversal because Trump fulfilled his promise to appoint conservative Supreme Court Justices, his consistent support of religious liberty and pro-life stand on abortion. This surprised some and mystified others. It was a little of both for me.
When it comes to President Trump people generally fall into one of three categories; they are either Always Trump, Sometimes Trump, or Never Trump. Until recently Mohler seemed to have pitched his tent in the Never Trump camp, but tents are portable.
I am with Ben Shapiro in the Sometimes Trump camp. Sometimes he has done things I agree with and sometimes he hasn’t, but for me that would be true for every president that has served since Jimmy Carter which was the first presidential election I was old enough to vote in.
I do not think any Christian takes joy in pointing out President Trump’s hypocrisy, but you cannot at once be an unrepentant adulterer and a Christian. One cannot claim to be a follower of Christ and be needlessly cruel and hateful towards those who disagree with you. Trump has been and continues to be a narcissist. To say otherwise for political reasons misleads others about what it means to be a Christian.
Here is what mystified me, Al had said character was an “essential” component of leadership and that disqualified Bill Clinton from being president. Trump’s lack of Christian character has not changed, but Al’s opinion as to it being essential for leadership has.
The Psalmist David when writing about the attributes of a righteous man said, “O Lord, who may abide in Your tent? Who may dwell on Your holy hill? He who walks with integrity … He swears to his own hurt and does not change,” Psalm 15:1-2, 4.
I do not think Mohler has went so far as to change his mind about Trump’s character, but he has definitely changed his mind about it being essential. Some have posited that Al has set his sights on becoming the next president of the Southern Baptist Convention, considered a steady subset of American evangelical support of Trump. Al’s endorsement of Trump is seen as self-serving his own agenda.
I refrain from making that kind of judgment; the motives that lie in a man’s heart are not something anyone can see. I do not know why Al changed his mind. What I do know is, if he is a man of character, he needs to give Bill Clinton a call. He just may be waiting for his apology.