Author and seminary president Albert Mohler says President Trump is to blame for Wednesday’s protests that resulted in a mob storming the U.S. Capitol.
Mohler also is urging Christians about the danger of following a “cult of personality.”
“What we saw in Washington, what we heard from the president of the United States, not just yesterday, but in recent days is an attempt to subvert the very constitutional order that he took an oath of office to defend,” Mohler, a theologian and the president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., said on Thursday’s edition of The Briefing, a daily podcast.
Mohler last year made headlines when he said he had changed his mind about Trump and would vote for him in 2020 after not supporting him in 2016. In October , Mohler called Trump “the most effective and consequential pro-life president of the modern age.”
But after Wednesday’s mob violence, Mohler criticized Trump.
“What we are seeing in Washington now is the refutation of our American commitment, a form of unleashed anarchy which is the enemy of ordered liberty, and President Trump is responsible now for unleashing mayhem,” Mohler tweeted. “Pray that God will rescue [us] from this.”
What we are seeing in Washington now is the refutation of our American commitment, a form of unleashed anarchy which is the enemy of ordered liberty, and President Trump is responsible now for unleashing mayhem. Pray that God will rescue is from this.— Albert Mohler (@albertmohler) January 6, 2021
Other Christian leaders who support Trump also spoke out.
“Disobeying and assaulting police is a sin whether it’s done by Antifa or angry Republicans,” tweeted Robert Jeffress, pastor of First Baptist Church in Dallas.
Disobeying and assaulting police is a sin whether it’s done by Antifa or angry Republicans.— Dr. Robert Jeffress (@robertjeffress) January 6, 2021
Evangelist Franklin Graham urged Christians to support the next administration.
“The division in our country is as great as any time since the Civil War. I am calling on Christians to unite our hearts together in prayer for President-elect @JoeBiden and Vice President-elect @KamalaHarris, and for the leadership in both parties,” Graham tweeted.
The division in our country is as great as any time since the Civil War. I am calling on Christians to unite our hearts together in prayer for President-elect @JoeBiden and Vice President-elect @KamalaHarris, and for the leadership in both parties.— Franklin Graham (@Franklin_Graham) January 7, 2021
Mohler urged Christians to base their politics on “policy and principles” and not a “cult of personality.”
“A cult of personality reveals itself by the fact that the person, rather than the principles and policy, becomes the issue, and in this case, the person becomes what can only be described as a cult,” Mohler said on The Briefing. “... So many of those who were there as protestors explicitly said that they were there in the name of Donald Trump. It was Trump that was the name on the banners. They were not making the argument about trying to perpetuate certain political principles or even policies or platforms. No, it was about continuing a person in office and in power.”
The “greatest danger to the American experiment,” Mohler said, “is a cult of personality.”
Political parties, Mohler said, “exist to extend political principles and arguments over time, not a cult of personality.”
“The American experiment in ordered liberty is inherently threatened by a cult of personality. And we saw the results of that yesterday,” Mohler said. “... Throughout human history, even recent human history, we have seen political cults of personality on the right and on the left. But we have to recognize they are equally disastrous either on the left or the right. … It comes down to that definitional question: For what does this movement exist? What does it stand for? If there is a name at the center of that answer, then that's where you have the big problem.”
Mohler acknowledged his support for Trump during the election.
“I voted for Donald Trump for president of the United States. I encouraged others to vote for him, too. Based upon the binary choice we faced on November 3rd, I believed then that that was the right action to take, and going back to November 3rd, I would do the same thing again,” he said. “And that's because I do not follow a cult of personality. I am committed as a Christian to certain moral principles, to certain political principles that I believe are derived from biblical Christianity.”
Mohler called it a “testimony to the resilience of our constitutional order” that Congress met again, the same day of the violence. But Mohler also said Trump has refused to participate in the electoral process the way the Founders intended.
“If you enter the electoral process saying that it is impossible that you can lose the election, then you are actually not running as an electoral candidate at all,” Mohler said. “You're just claiming and grasping for power. If you do run for office, you accept the constitutional order and the rules of the electoral system. Donald Trump has indicated that he was not willing to accept those rules.”
Photo courtesy: Albert Mohler Facebook
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.