Steve Turley, a conservative Christian academic and author, takes on evangelical critics of Donald Trump in today’s version of his “Turley Talks” podcast. Turley argues that Trump is not only playing a “redemptive” role in protecting the Christian church, but is also “an indispensable part” of the “trajectory” that will eventually bring us a “morally upstanding evangelical” like Mike Pence as president.
Turley sees the current state of the world as a struggle between globalized secularism and the forces of nationalism, traditionalism and faith. Here’s how his podcast starts:
Are we seeing the revitalization of Christian civilization? All over the world there’s been a massive blowback against the anti-cultural processes of globalization and its secular aristocracy, and it’s just beginning. I’m Dr. Steve Turley, and I believe that the secular world is at its brink, and a new conservative age is rising.
Turley has written positively about the globalization of the Religious Right movement and the partnership between the U.S. and global Religious Right that has blocked “anti-traditionalist measures” at the United Nations. He wrote last month, “The growth of nationalist populism throughout the world indicates that in many respects, the political influence of the Religious Right is just beginning.”
In his new podcast, Turley says evangelicals who criticize Trump for his “obvious moral failings”—and who say evangelical leaders like those who prayed over Trump in the Oval Office this week are guilty of hypocrisy—are wrongly looking at Trump through an “individualist” lens rather than a “holist” approach that considers a person in the context of their age. In that context, he says, Trump is “exercising his redemptive role as a civil magistrate” by “pledging and indeed practicing the protection of Christians and the Christian church.”
“In Christian theology,” says Turley, “this is the fundamental role of the state—the protection and preservation of the Christian faith.” He goes on, “This is the whole means by which the state is redeemed, the means by which the state is incorporated in the transformative life, death and resurrection of Christ.”
Citing Newt Gingrich to buttress his argument, Turley argues that Trump is someone who understands that “a resurgent civic nationalism is indispensable to the preservation of Christian-inspired Western civilization,” adding, “That is somebody I want as president. I’ll take someone like that as president over and against a morally approved choir-boy secularized globalist any day.”
Of course, he notes, there’s a third option:
We can have the morally upstanding evangelical who also understands the globalist/nationalist dialectic as the governing political paradigm of our age. Yes, I understand and I believe we’re going to see that person. I most certainly believe we’re already seeing that person emerge in the form of Mike Pence. And so that’s what’s going to proceed from this trajectory. But Donald Trump has been an indispensable part of this trajectory.