Donald Trump's Meeting With Evangelicals #ConversationwithTrump Merry Christmas!!!

You can follow along with Donald Trump’s meeting with evangelicals via Twitter by following #conversationwithtrump.
Here are some video tweets from E.W. Jackson:

Eric Metaxas and Ann Coulter Agree: #Nevertrumpers Don't Want Trump Because He is Too Common

Of all the rationalizations for Trump I have heard, the conversation between Eric Metaxas and Ann Coulter is the most scandaleux.
Today, Ann Coulter was on Metaxas’ show and the conversation got around to Donald Trump. Metaxas tripled down on his support for Trump. For her part, Coulter again referred to the 1965 immigration reform as the source of our current immigration problems. In the process, Metaxas told the audience his parents came from Greece in the 1950s. Lucky them. Prior to the 1965 immigration bill, immigration from Greece was restricted. The 1965 immigration reform demonized by Coulter expanded immigration from Greece as well as other eastern and southern European nations.
Trump, the Poor Man’s Rich Guy
At 32:56 into hour one with Ann Coulter, Metaxas talked about Trump’s appeal to working people. Metaxas told Coulter that Trump doesn’t seem like a plutocrat and is comfortable spending time on construction sites because that where he has spent most of his time. Coulter then said that Trump has always been like that. She said in 1988 Trump said he didn’t get along with “the fancy rich people.” The strangeness continued:

Metaxas: Trump is the classic nouveau riche in the sense that the elite want to sneer at people like that. And people like that are so disturbing to the cultural elites that the ideal that someone like this could be potentially president, it’s very upsetting. You see that on the left and on the right and again this is independent of policy stuff.
Coulter: You are absolutely 100% right about that. That’s a lot of what the “never trump” animus comes from.
Metaxas: Yeah
Coulter: …because it isn’t logical. Whenever people aren’t giving you logical arguments, I’m mean I’m not one to go around looking for motives, but they’re perfectly clear in this case with the sneering and the spluttering and the sighing. They aren’t trying to make a factual argument, it’s just, ‘he’s so déclassé’.
Metaxas: Right, right.

Of course. How could I have missed that in myself?
Probably, that is what is going on with the hundreds (and growing) of delegates who want to vote their conscience at the GOP convention. They feel so above the Donald.
What Metaxas said might be more accurate about Trump’s father, but not Trump. Trump had quite a significant head start on his current wealth. Given the lavish lifestyle Trump has lived, it seems impossible to believe that anyone has ever complained about having a “déclassé'” president. If anything, Trump has been part of the cultural elite class. He has bragged about using his money to buy politicians, including the attorney general of Florida.
I suspect Trump has spent time on construction sites. Probably though, he should have spent more time on them. According to past building contractors with the Trump organization, he hasn’t paid many of his construction contractors. In Atlantic City, Trump is known for failure to pay on time and full price. USA Today found hundreds of liens and lawsuits where prompt and full payment was an issue. While Trump hasn’t lost them all, he has lost plenty. According to USA Today’s, New Jersey’s Casino Control Commission records in 1990 demonstrate that at least 253 subcontractors weren’t paid in full or in a timely manner.
If anything is classic about the exchange on Metaxas’ show, it is an illustration of rationalization and confirmation bias.
Au contraire Metaxas and Coulter, the factual arguments have been made (many times, e.g. here). Neither of you like them. That is fine, but one of you is out hawking a book that claims America is screwed if we don’t return to virtue. So let’s drop the silly notion that Trump’s opponents are snooty old moneyed rich people who look down on Trump the rich common man.
To paraphrase Coulter, using French words is not an argument.

Evangelicals Meeting with Trump: Brothers and Sisters, What Else Do You Need to Know?

I will admit, I am very disappointed with evangelical so-called leaders who are going to meet with Donald Trump tomorrow. I just can’t imagine what else they need to hear from Trump. His statements and actions aren’t subtle and he has subjected us to them for over a year.
At the top of the disappointment list is Eric Metaxas who just released a book calling for public virtue to help save the nation. He also has declared Donald Trump the only hope for the nation. Today’s Washington Post previews the meeting with quotes from several evangelicals including a lengthy interview of Metaxas.  According to the Post reporter, Metaxas wants “a glimpse of Trump’s soul.”
But really, Eric Metaxas, what else do you need to see?
Trump has said he doesn’t ask forgiveness (Metaxas already knows that), judged a judge on his heritage, said he plans to deport 11 million people, he sadistically mocked a disabled reporter (fact checked here), he said war crimes and torture should be permitted, he claimed service members should engage in war crimes and torture to follow his orders, he has limited the freedom of the press while giving press credentials to white supremacists, ridiculed John McCain for being a prisoner of war, and he has mocked women, his opponents and anybody else who gets in his way. We had to deal with nicknames like “Lying Ted” and “Little Marco” during the primaries. Tattooed on Donald Trump’s soul is the phrase: “Win at all costs.” I haven’t even covered the falsehoods and business dealings. Just spend some time reading through Trump University sales manuals. Honesty and respect for customers are not high on the list of virtues.
Instead of speaking truth to power, I think many of my evangelical brethren just want to be close to power. However, at least one evangelical who got an invitation isn’t going — Robert George — and his response to it is worth reading.

I respectfully decline. I have been a severe critic of Mr. Trump and there is nothing he could say at a meeting in which he is courting conservatives that would alter my low opinion of him. I trust that I do not need to go into detail about the words and actions that have caused me to form that opinion. Perhaps the only politician in America of whom I have an even lower opinion is Hillary Clinton, so I certainly understand why some are urging us to hold our noses and support for Mr. Trump. But I fear that he will, in the end, bring disgrace upon those individuals and organizations who publicly embrace him. For those of us who believe in limited government, the Rule of Law, flourishing institutions of civil society, and traditional Judeo-Christian moral principles, and who believe that our leaders must be persons of integrity and good character, this election is presenting a horrible choice. May God help us.

Like George, I don’t think there is anything Trump could say in a meeting that could undo what he has already done and said. Here’s hoping that these evangelicals will become the leaders they are portrayed to be and respond to Trump on principle not pragmatism after their meeting tomorrow.

Mark Driscoll Files Motion to Dismiss Racketeering Lawsuit

DriscollBuildingClaiming he has not been served, Mark Driscoll filed a motion to dismiss the racketeering lawsuit against him and former Mars Hill executive pastor Sutton Turner brought by former members of Mars Hill Church in Seattle. Two couples from the church allege misuse of funds.
Like Turner’s motion to dismiss, Driscoll appeals to rules of procedure requiring service of a lawsuit in 90 days. The essential claim of the motion is that the Jacobsens and Kildeas have abandoned the suit.
Driscoll claims his whereabouts are well known.
After Turner filed his motion, I asked attorney Brian Fahling for a comment with no reply.
Driscoll plans to launch his new church The Trinity Church in Scottsdale on August 7.
 

Eric Metaxas Doubles Down on Claim That Donald Trump is Our Only Hope

In an interview about his new book with John Zmirak  for the online publication, The Stream, Eric Metaxas doubled down on his support for Donald Trump. After much talk implying that evangelical Christianity is the only foundation for virtue, he claims Trump is “our only hope.”

John: This current election is deeply dissatisfying to many Christian voters. How would you answer those who see Hillary Clinton as a grave threat, but fear that Trump lacks the virtue (much less the religion) to lead a free people? Even if he’s the lesser of two evils, is his rise a symptom of our fading virtue and faith?
Eric: Yes, Donald Trump’s rise is certainly a symptom of our fading virtue and faith, but ironically he may well be our only hope for finding our way back to bolder expressions of them. The eerie waxworks automaton formerly known as Hillary Rodham Clinton will no doubt double down on President Obama’s two-term repulsion to Constitutional government, in which unutterably sad case we simply wouldn’t ever be able to claw our way back up the abyss into which we shall have been thrust. If two more anti-Constitutionalist judges are shoehorned onto the Supreme Court we will have a Constitutional crisis — actually a cataclysm — in which the last Justices of that hoary institution will take that thing once described by a Constitutionalist Executive as the “government of the people, by the people, for the people” and place it into a coffin gaily decorated with smiley face and rainbow stickers.

It is uncanny to me that Metaxas puts his trust in one man and a deeply flawed man at that.
I say again that his book is pointless if at the end of the day Trump is our best hope.* In fact, based on his reasoning for supporting Trump, he really doesn’t believe in the value of virtue and faith. He fully trusts in a conservative majority on the Supreme Court. If we can get that, then all is well. If we can’t, then who cares about a virtuous people, the cataclysm cometh.
In response to Metaxas’ Trump endorsement, some folks expressed disbelief and disappointment on Twitter.


*If You Can Keep It is also plagued by historical errors which I pointed out here, here and here.

Eric Metaxas: We Need Virtue in Our Leaders and We Must Vote for Donald Trump

Thanks to Kathryn Jean Lopez at National Review for asking Eric Metaxas how he reconciles his call for public virtue with his support for Donald Trump. It still doesn’t make sense to me but at least the contradiction is exposed and obvious.
I addressed Metaxas’ alarmism in a post earlier today. In today’s NR post, Lopez asked Metaxas if leaders need to display virtue. Metaxas said “generally, yes.” Then Lopez brings the money to the table:

KJL: Does that automatically suggest one cannot vote for one Donald J. Trump?
METAXAS: Not only can we vote for Trump, we must vote for Trump, because with all of his foibles, peccadilloes, and metaphorical warts, he is nonetheless the last best hope of keeping America from sliding into oblivion, the tank, the abyss, the dustbin of history, if you will. If you want to know how bad things are in America, and how far we have gone, read the previous sentence aloud over and over.

Donald Trump is our “last best hope?!” He will keep us from the abyss? These sentences don’t tell me how bad things are in America but they do indicate the seriousness of Metaxas’ apocalyptic fever.
If the answer to America’s problems is in his new book, where in his book does he recommend anti-virtue? He argues against himself. He says we are at the abyss and to fix this, we must recapture faith which leads to virtue which leads to freedom. However, he then argues Republicans should acquiesce to Donald Trump’s nomination which brings us someone who:

  • praises Putin and thinks a friendly meeting with Kim Jong-un is a good idea
  • advocates torture for combatants and death to civilian families
  • declares a judge to be unfair because of his heritage
  • wants to deport 11 million people
  • limits the freedom of the press
  • singles out an entire religion for discrimination
  • rationalizes Trump University, other business misadventures too numerous to mention, and his obvious lack of preparation to be president

In the interview, Metaxas claims that Hillary is so bad that the nation will not survive her. To me, this shows a stunning lack of historical perspective. Hillary is not blameless by any means but there is no comparison which places Trump in the category of America’s last best hope.
If Trump is America’s last best hope, then Metaxas needs to withdraw his book because there is absolutely nothing in it we need. 
Instead, we need GOP delegates to have a Bonhoeffer moment at the convention. They are not bound to vote for the worst choice. I recently saw Thomas Jefferson quoted in a Weekly Standard article on this very point. In 1810, Jefferson answered a question posed by John Colvin about deviating from observance of the law:

A strict observance of the written law is doubtless one of the high duties of a good citizen, but it is not the highest. The laws of necessity, of self-preservation, of saving our country when in danger, are of higher obligation. To lose our country by a scrupulous adherence to the written law, would be to lose the law itself, with life, liberty, property and all those who are enjoying them with us; thus absurdly sacrificing the ends to the means.

Sure, it would be a long shot to contest the primary results, but it would not be impossible. In this case, doesn’t virtue demand it? Trump is not now the nominee. What would Bonhoeffer do? Give up? Give in?
 

Eric Metaxas: Things in America Are as Bad as During the Revolution and the Civil War

Promoting his new book, If You Can Keep It, Eric Metaxas told National Review’s Kathryn Jean Lopez that things are pretty bad right now.

America is in an existential crisis no less serious than the one we faced in the Civil War. Or the crisis before that, when our nation came into being in the Revolution. For the first time in a century and a half we are facing the imminent vanquishing of the republic, except there is no John Bull or Johnny Reb to fight against. We are being hollowed out silently from within by termites — and a hollow, brightly painted shell called “America” will soon exist where America once stood.

Can he really mean that?
There is strong disagreement among citizens about issues like abortion, gay marriage and gun control, but war has not broken out. Even with the harsh political season, we are hardly at the point of civil war.
I went to church last Sunday. I plan to go again this Sunday. No government thugs came anywhere close to my house of worship. I have exercised the same freedoms this week in my small town that I have all my life. All over the nation, lots of people exercised their freedom to do things I disapprove of but those actions did not stop me from doing what I believe to be right.
I don’t think things are as good as they could be. I think extremism on the left and right is a problem and the polarization of the society has increased. I believe the far left and far right should be held responsible for this. I could go on about this.
Currently, I worry that the GOP nominee Metaxas plans to vote for — Donald Trump — is eroding civility and virtue. I worry that his candidacy is a cancer on the GOP and political process. If anything, Metaxas is complaining about how bad things are but he supports a person who is helping to lead us there.
I think reminders to live virtuously are valuable. Human nature being what it is, I believe we need to be reminded of our values so his appeal to us to live virtuously is fine as far as it goes. However, Metaxas’ pitch is eroded by doomsday fear mongering, the historical errors in the book. and his advocacy for a presidential candidate that simply can’t be emulated in the manner he advocates in his book.
 

Sutton Turner Files Motion to Dismiss RICO Lawsuit Against Him and Mark Driscoll

Yesterday, Sutton Turner filed a motion to dismiss the RICO lawsuit naming Mark Driscoll and him as defendants. He said he was never served and asked the court to dismiss the suit.

I. RELIEF REQUESTED
Defendant John Sutton Turner requests an order dismissing all of Plaintiffs’ claims against him for failure to effectuate service of process on him within the 90-day period prescribed under FRCP 4(m).  Plaintiffs filed their complaint on February 29, 2016, and to date, have failed to serve Mr. Turner, nor have they made any diligent efforts to do so.  Their claims against Mr. Turner should be dismissed.

Today, Turner published a blog post explaining his side of the matter. He concludes by saying:

There has been significant media coverage on this lawsuit, causing irreparable harm to my reputation and business career. I am only sharing this in order to get my side of the story out there, and hope that it is helpful for anyone still seeking answers about Mars Hill Church and the false accusation levied against me.

I have reached out to the attorney for the Jacobsens and Kildeas and hope to have a comment to add shortly.

Eric Metaxas and Ann Coulter Agree: Donald Trump Must Be Elected

Ann Coulter dropped by the Eric Metaxas Show to rant about third world immigrants and promote Donald Trump. By and large, Metaxas agreed with her.

You can listen to the entire broadcast at Soundcloud and on Coulter’s You Tube account. The segment with Coulter begins at 10:44.  Rather than provide a transcript, I will just describe the segment. If Eric Metaxas endorsing both Ann Coulter and Donald Trump is something that is of interest to you, then you will want to hear it for yourself.

While bordering on being incoherent, I think Coulter tried to sell an analogy from Nazis to Muslims in her opening statements. She noted that we did allow Germans to come into the country in WWII but we got technology out of the deal. She wondered what we are getting out of current Muslim immigration. Metaxas seemed a little befuddled and asked Coulter to clarify her statements. She then said that the Orlando shooter Omar Mateen was not an American (even though he was born in New York) because his parents came from Afghanistan.

She then blamed the presence of non-European immigrants on Teddy Kennedy. Specifically, she referred to immigration reform supported by Kennedy (The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965). Previously, immigration from Africa, Asia, and eastern Europe was restricted in favor of immigration from western Europe. This law changed the quotas to allow the entrance of immigrants who Coulter disparagingly referred to as “hoards of the third world.”

According to Coulter, the Democrats had political reasons for wanting to change the immigration laws:

The Democrats looked around the country, they realized they couldn’t get Americans to vote for them, so they decided to bring in hoards of the third world, and the third world, as you beautifully described in your opening, have very different ideas than those of us who came from the Magna Carta, the glorious revolution, the Declaration of Independence. That’s our culture. They have a different culture that has a different view of human life but it helps the Democrats at the ballot box.

She said the bill cut off immigration from western Europe, the people who “traditionally populated this country.” She denied the proposition that the U.S. is a nation of immigrants but told Metaxas that we have been overrun with “cheap labor” from the third world who hate the country.

Who Favored the 1965 Immigration Reform?
In fact, a higher percentage of Republicans than Democrats in Congress voted for the 1965 immigration bill. Most of the opposition to the bill came from southern Democrats who did not want to upset the ethnic profile of the nation. Coulter has to revise history to provide fuel for her ranting. Later in the broadcast, she again blamed Teddy Kennedy for a bill that more Republicans than Democrats in 1965 supported. There was a time when the GOP was the party of Lincoln.

Metaxas then took the conversation in the direction of support for Trump. Coulter claimed that Trump is the only hope to address the immigration problem. Metaxas agreed. He said the flaws in Trump are outweighed by the fact that he may get to name conservative judges. Metaxas said we might go off a cliff and die if someone besides Trump is elected.

Then, after complaining about California, they talk about the wisdom of having bar patrons carry guns to prevent mass shootings. From there, the conversation covered the usual pros and cons (mostly cons) of gun control. On one hand, Coulter minimized the harm guns might do but then said one gun in a bar might have saved the day.

The segment closed with Metaxas and Coulter lamenting how badly Trump is being treated in the press. What a shame that a free press reports the facts about Mr. Trump. Coulter and Metaxas have special criticism for Mitt Romney since Romney has led the #nevertrump charge. They seem to agree that Romney has some psychological problem (e.g., pathological envy?) which sets him against Trump. I think Romney is shocked that so many people who should know better are supporting Trump.

Metaxas and the Bonhoeffer Card
During part of the first ten minutes, Metaxas gave tribute to Dietrich Bonhoeffer. This is ironic to me in that he then pivoted to his guest Ann Coulter and their mutual support for Donald Trump. For me, following Bonhoeffer’s example means rejecting a Trump nomination. The GOP delegates would emulate Bonhoeffer if they worked to nominate another candidate to run against Clinton. When it comes to Metaxas, I agree with this fellow:

Robert Morris Says The King's University is Fully Accredited

On June 4, Robert Morris told his congregation that The King’s University is “fully accredited.” Watch:

The entire message is here. Start at 2:22 to get the segment above.
(Transcript)

A few weeks ago, we recognized graduates, and I wanted to say something then but I just forgot, but about three weeks ago we had the Kings University graduation commencement, and if you, woo, there’s a student.
And so if you don’t know, the King’s University was began, begun in 1996, by Dr. Jack Hayford, who’s one of our Apostolic Elders. And about seven or eight years ago, I became the Chairman of the Board of that university. And then, about four years ago, three to four, about three years ago, we transitioned the main campus from California to here.
In essence, we as Gateway Church now, are taking the mantle, or the stewardship, of that university from Dr. Hayford to continue it. We have over 700 students, and just few and it’s all the way from Associate, Bachelors, Masters, all the way to Doctorate level, but just three weeks ago at our commencement we graduated 105 students from the university.  So, I’m grateful.
It’s a fully accredited university. If you’ve got someone, a child that just graduated from high school, and you want to keep ’em around for a year before they go somewhere else, then, I’d like for you to just consider the King’s University, and get that foundation, a Biblical teaching, and then they could go on to some other university if they’re going to pursue another degree. So, anyway I wanted to mention it to ya.

TKU is not regionally accredited and doesn’t claim to be on the school website. Regional accreditation is the standard required for the easy transfer of credits between other regionally accredited schools (e.g., publicly funded universities, private liberal arts colleges). Even then, it is ultimately up to the school whether or not all credits transfer. When Morris advises parents that the school is “fully accredited” and “the first year” can be completed at TKU, he is overselling the school. Although other non-accredited schools might take TKU’s credits, I doubt very many regionally accredited schools would do it. At the least, prospective students and parents should find out what other schools accept TKU credits.
If pressed, I suspect Morris would refer to the articulation agreements promoted by TKU and accreditation by two organizations which specialize in Bible colleges. The articulation agreements are with other small Bible colleges. The accreditation bodies also focus on Bible and ministry training schools:

The King’s University is accredited by the Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools (TRACS) (15935 Forest Road, Forest, Virginia, 24551, 804.525.9539) at the Category IV level (through the first professional doctorate level) and by the Commission on Accreditation of the Association for Biblical Higher Education (ABHE) (5850 T.G. Lee Boulevard, Orlando, Florida 32822, 407.207.0808). Both the Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools and the Association of Biblical Higher Education are members of the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).

TRACS and ABHE are both listed as national accrediting associations on the Department of Education’s website and as such provide some benefit to prospective students moving around in the world of ministry and Bible training. However, being accredited by a regional group would allow those credits to transfer to other regionally accredited schools.
TKU’s relationship with TRACS has been in flux. Last year, TKU voted to terminate the relationship with TRACS but then backed away and maintained their membership. Without offering any judgment about the quality of education available at TKU, I can still offer a advisory to parents and students considering the school. If one is considering a transfer to a regionally accredited school after TKU, I suggest consulting the destination school first to find out if the TKU credits will transfer.