I believe evangelical Christians would be wise to recover the lost trait of meekness during the upcoming political elections. Yes, there is a place for healthy discourse in the public square. Yes, there is a place for healthy dialogue across the political spectrum. Yet the modest question I raise to my fellow evangelicals is this: is social media the place where those ideals organically happen in a manner that adorns the gospel of Jesus Christ above all things in a winsome way to a watching world?
“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” (Matthew 5:5)
Evangelicalism is a house divided politically in 2020. The last few weeks have seen major evangelical volleys back and forth over the political divide.
The brouhaha started with Christianity Today’s editor-in-chief Mark Galli’s editorial “Trump Should be Removed from Office” and continued to gain steam with the follow-up piece from CT’s President/CEO Timothy Dalrymple’s “The Flag in the Whirlwind”. The most recent high-level evangelical rebuttal was penned by evangelical theologian and ethicist Wayne Grudem “Trump Should Not be Removed from Office”. All call themselves evangelicals. All are highly respected. CT has been the flagship evangelical periodical since 1956, being founded by Billy Graham, and Grudem is responsible for Systematic Theology, one of the most popular single-volume systematic theology textbooks assigned in seminaries and bible colleges over the last 25 years. There is probably not an evangelical pastor in America who has not read Christianity Today or heard of Wayne Grudem.
I have no reason to exacerbate the divisiveness. My voice is not a national voice. My concern is pastoral and local: to shepherd the people under my care and make sure our corporate witness to Jesus Christ in our community is stronger in 2020 despite the divisiveness of our political landscape. To that end, let me make a modest proposal and advocate for a seemingly forgotten Christian attribute.
I believe the Christ-centered trait evangelicals most need in the political arena (and on social media) in 2020 is meekness. Let me explain.
A Helpful 17th Century Definition
In the 17th century, Matthew Henry wrote a little book called A Discourse on Meekness and Quietness of Spirit. The puritan writer argued that the old term meekness (mansuetus in Latin) was often associated with the process of taming wild beasts of burden and curbing the aggressiveness of a wild, bucking stallion. By curbing a naturally aggressive nature, meekness could actually characterize a formerly aggressive horse.