We have kept this under wraps all summer and now its official.
Rev. Jonathan David Faulkner
Since founding God’s Heart for those as a part of 10:31 Life Ministries back in 2012 it has been a labor of love. What started as a personal blog has morphed into a social, historical and theological commentary site having a record year thanks to loyal leaders. It is amazing what God does when you just obey Him, and this has been as much a journey in Obedience to YHWH as it has that labor of love I mentioned earlier. I have endeavored to use this platform for the kingdom, to use my influence to tear down and give positive critiques rather than the negativity that is so prevalent in our culture. When I have addressed someone directly I have endeavored to address their ideas, rather than attacking the people themselves, a policy we developed in the 10:31 days as we faced down groups like Westboro Baptist Church and later Joshua Feuerstein. One of our most popular articles this year, “The Scandal of Carl R. Trueman’s Mind.” Is a critique of Christian Populism, and now it has garnered scholarly attention in the form of finding itself included in a primary source collection on the response to Mark Galli’s CT Editorial from December 2019 put together by James A. Beverly and Annette Johnson entitled Evangelical Civil War: Mark Galli, Christianity Today and Donald Trump. Which is now available in paperback and digitally in the Kindle Store. Let me reiterate that I have great respect for Carl Trueman, his book on Historiography Histories and Fallacies was essential to my formation was a Historian and Scholar and I greatly enjoyed his monograph “The Real Scandal of the Evangelical Mind” as a pastor. The issue I take with Trueman in my piece is the idea that we should not question Populist Christianity, a position I see as dangerous to historical, biblical and orthodox Christian faith. It is extremely humbling to be included in this work, and do not take the opportunity for granted.
While this website has decided to stay above the muck and mire of attacking the president, again, a policy we brought over from 10:31 to never attack any human being, but seek reconciliation where we can and attacking ideas when they are opposed to scripture by using factual, verifiable information and biblical testimony that is not spun in any one direction. This honest approach is the long road, and the more difficult one to take, but it is one I personally have strong convictions of maintaining. I approved of this article being used in this project because as a historian I recognize the value of works like this for future generations of Historians. I once lamented on Twitter that future Historians will have a hard time sorting through all the data being produced to get to truth of a historical event, and Beverly has provided us with a collection of primary sources with little editorializing all in one place.
The piece is well balanced, including people from the left, middle and right of the political spectrum. The editors stated goal in the introduction: “As editors we thought it prudent to keep our views out of the collection. If we came out for or against the editorial, then readers might think we are pre-judging what others think. We worked hard to track down views from across the political spectrum, without including obscene or others kind of material not worthy of civil discussion.” This approach has served them well. The book includes the original Mark Galli Editorial, President Trump and Franklin Graham’s Twitter replies, responses by John Fea, Albert Mohler, James Dobson, John Daly, Peter J. Liethart, Phil Vischer, Jerry Falwell Jr. Eric Mataxes, Thomas Kidd, Beth Moore, Carl Trueman (who I responded to), David French, Nancy French and many journalists, podcasters and newscasters who, as mentioned, are found along the entire political spectrum.
As a website devoted to Ecclesiastical Unity I understand some readers, in fact, some in my own congregation might be hesitant to see my name associated with the idea of an “Evangelical Civil War.” Another large section of my readers will inevitable question why I would want my name associated in any way with President Trump. This is the price of being a hard line Centrist (I do not believe in the squishy middle) where to one third of your friends lean right, one third lean left and one third think just like you. There is value in viewpoint diversity, something else I value as the writer and editor of this site. The fact of the matter is that we can either ignore what is happening and let the wound get worse, or we can address the divisions and infighting head on and work towards healing. Again, the editors note: “However, denial or avoidance of the intense disagreements is unhelpful and so this volume seeks to lay out the important arguments at the heart of the Galli controversy. Thankfully, on the positive side, the intense disputes are proof that evangelicals care about the Gospel and its social, political, and moral implications. This volume is proof that Evangelical Christians are not a Monolith.” The point here is not to take a pro-Trump or anti-Trump stand. I have made my thoughts and feelings about where I stand on that in the past and have no need of rehashing them here. The point of being involved in and promoting this project is out of respect for ideas and civil discussion. We have to learn how to disagree without being disagreeable and this work, presented without a slant one way or the other, is a means to having civil discussion without the emotional spin and misinformation that makes up the 24 hour news cycle.
If you are following the history of events in Christianity during the last year, then you will enjoy this piece. I highly recommend using the kindle edition as some of the pieces are excerpts and some link to videos, but on the whole, I recommend adding this to your library.
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Rev. Jonathan David Faulkner is a Graduate of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary holding Masters in Divinity and Church History, a Pastor, Musician and Writer. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Christian Education & Administration with a concentration in Urban Ministry. He lives with his wife and daughter in Northern Iowa and seeks to be a part of the project of reconciliation in the local and international church. He is currently serving as the Pastor of First Congregational Church of Buffalo Center