He deserves our respect.
What we are not required to give him, however, is intellectual and spiritual carte blanche. In spite of his allegedly-conservative political views, he's vacant on the subject of the Christian faith and what it means to have a savior and a Gospel and a church. And if he would stay away from these subjects, he'd be far more admirable.
But he doesn't. Maybe he can't -- maybe like a moth compelled to throw itself into the flame of a candle, or maybe like a wolf who bleeds to death because he is licking a razor and tasting his own blood -- Hewitt always circles back to the subject of christianity (small "c" intentional).
And he comes back because he thinks that the ends of the church are the same as the ends of conservatism. It's because he sees the church as a moral improvement society -- something which only teaches the world something it couldn't learn on its own.
This is why Hugh Hewitt gets my goat: he sees the church as a means to a political end. I find his views in that respect reprehensible.
Which is why it surprised me a little to see that J. P. Moreland was on Hewitt's show recently advocating for the same clap-trap Hewitt is selling. I mean: J. P. Moreland. He's a respected apologist -- same class as William Lane Craig and Francis Beckwith, right?
I'll leave that part to the meta.
But on Hewitt, we can see Dr. Moreland saying stuff like this:
Being involved in politics is not unchristian. In fact, it’s a part of our calling as Christians. Why? Because we are supposed to do good to all people including the household of faith. And to do good to all people means establishing just laws and a just and a stable social order. And that’s the job of the state. It’s political. So the first thing a pastor should do and the Church should do is to enlist people like the dickens to be involved in the political process and vote. It is unconscionable that we have these rights, and that we have an obligation as disciples of Jesus to try to bring goodness and truth to society, that we don’t use all means available to promote just laws and a just and stable social order through the political process. And so voting is absolutely critical.Get that? The first thing we should be concerned about as Christians is inhabiting the political process.
The first thing. Seriously: that's the first thing the pulpits of our churches should be used for? But get this as a chaser:
This is important because the Evangelical does not want to place the state under Scripture. That would be to create a theocracy, and that has never been a good idea. What we want is we want to place the state under the natural moral law. Therefore, if an Evangelical is going to be for traditional marriage, and it’s going to be against gay marriage, it cannot use Scripture to argue that case in the public square. It can be preached from the pulpit that this is a Biblical view, but when it comes to political engagement, it is not our attempt to place the state under the Bible, but to place it under the natural moral law. So it would follow, then, that Christians need to learn how to provide independent arguments for traditional marriage that do not require premises from the Scriptures.Look: I can't make up stuff like this. I'd feel embarrassed if I attributed a statement like that to someone because it is surreal -- absurd in such a way that it makes sarcasm irrelevant.
Read the whole interview with Dr. Moreland for yourself, but don't be taken in by it. You know better. You know for a fact that Jesus did not die to make sure that the Republicans will control both houses of the Legislature, the Oval Office, and appoint only right-of-center judges to Supreme Court.
Paul knew it, anyway. Listen to what he said:
I thank him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful, appointing me to his service, though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world ...Now listen: Paul says this from a prison cell under a government based wholly on idolatry. If anyone ever had a chance to declare and proclaim and require a political solution to his plight, it was Paul. But he says this:
Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life. To the King of ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.The pontifications of Hugh Hewitt or J.P. Moreland or any of the dunces who agree with them that somehow "evangelicalism" has "died" because Barack Obama is our president are like the sounds of tin cans being kicked in the street by rough and homeless children. The sounds that come out of them are because they are part of the game and not because they have something to say. They get kicked, and it's "POP! CLACK-tee-CLACK-clack!" -- a small, insulted sound at which the children laugh.
And in case you cannot read my parable here, the children are the unbelievers. They have kicked Hewitt's can, and his complaint is really: because he played the game, he got kicked. Having more cans in the street is not going to stop the kickers from kicking: it is going to cause them to kick more cans.
Christians ought to be more than cans in the street getting kicked. Paul has indeed instructed us -- Christ has indeed instructed us, and God in all of Scripture has sufficiently and perfectly instructed us -- on what we are to do first. May He who calls us out of the world to pass through the world as if it were not our home also call us to preach the Gospel which is the only hope of men -- and not trade it for the noises of traducers like Hewitt who don't understand that they are the problem, not the Gospel.
And to be sure you know what I'm telling you personally to do here, be in the Lord's house with the Lord's people on the Lord's day this weekend -- start there. Call people there. The solutiuon that ought to be preached there should be the Gospel and not new law.