Is Political Activism Idolatry? or Is Timothy Keller a Hypocrite?

Political wrangling is something to be celebrated. It is a feature of a free society. It is an exchange of ideas that surely have consequences. Think of the number of American babies slaughtered by their mothers since 1973. No one would deny that Roe vs. Wade has had no less than 40 million consequences in the name of women’s rights. Should Christians be talking, debating, and protesting against such inequalities and social injustices as these? Indeed, they should.

As one surveys the political landscape, today, many Christians have been more animated in their disdain for opposing political party policy. While the peaceful protesters on the Left caused $2 billion dollars of damage during the summer of 2020, the suggestion of a stolen election woke some voters on the right to conduct their own protests.

Lightning rods in these clashes, from the right and the left, were the presidential candidates themselves. Two men stood against one another, with platforms for policy that inflamed the passions of the opposing party constituency. Most people watched the American cities burn from the comfort of their easy chair. Again, most people watched protesters infiltrate the capitol building on January 6, 2021. Most armchair activists chuckled at the shenanigans of costumed people standing at lecterns and sitting in chairs for photo opportunities. The scene was silly, but a few people died here and there and that is never good publicity for anyone’s cause, whether it is Portland, Seattle, Minneapolis, Louisville, Atlanta, Washington D.C. or any other Democrat city.

Christian pastors in the United States were only awakened by the Capitol Hill protests. Suddenly, a flurry of articles appeared from famous clergy. They were targeting and denouncing Christian nationalism. Somehow these men of God pounced on an ideology much bigger than the protest of alleged election fraud. They were seemingly spurred on by a man in a large fur hat with horns and painted face (who later demanded organic food in jail…sorry, that doesn’t sound Republican or Christian to me). Just days earlier a Democrat from Missouri stood at the same lectern and blasphemed the living God, to open the 117th U.S. Congress.

Suddenly, everyone had an opinion about the “capitol riot.” This included the likes of pastors, most of whom enjoyed becoming television preachers for the first time in 2020 via livestreams because of the Chinese Covid-19 Virus. There were other more notable pastors, who cut to the quick against Christian nationalism. Famous New York City Presbyterian pastor Timothy Keller called political activism, “idolatry.” Before we proceed further, it should be noted that Tim Keller and John Piper of Minneapolis (Democrat city at the center of the 2020 riots) both dissuaded Christians from voting for Donald J. Trump in the November 2020 elections.

Pastor Keller and Pastor Piper both participated in political activism in 2020. We must credit them for remaining consistent, in denouncing the President’s re-election bid and now Christian nationalism, after the capitol riot. President Trump advocated both Christianity and nationalism (slogan: Make America Great Again), while he campaigned and while he was in office. As a Presbyterian, Donald J. Trump stood in bold contrast and opposition to Presbyterian pastor Timothy Keller.

The difference is that President Trump did not call Pastor Keller an idolater, for the pastor not wanting a Christian ethos for America. In essence, the crux of the matter is the separation of church and state. The irony of the two New York Presbyterians is that the politician wanted a more Christian America and the pastor, who denounced Christian nationalism, called that “idolatry.”

It is easy to question Donald J. Trump’s Christianity, but no one wants to question Tim Keller’s Christianity. While Keller accuses Christians of idolatry, for participating in the very political activism he engaged in (hypocrisy), President Trump encouraged Christians to have more freedom in expressing their faith. The irony here is befuddling. The number of pastors echoing Keller is significant.

Democrats removed God from their political platform during President Barack Hussein Obama’s administration in 2012. We remember that Obama’s pastor from Chicago, Jeremiah Wright, famously preached, “God damn America.” This is significant because it shows the course of both Democrat and Republican Christian views of America, while mutually claiming affiliation to Jesus Christ, the King of all nations. Republicans want more Jesus for America, and Democrats want less Jesus for America…ask any baker in America to affirm that truth.

Christians in America have a legacy from both the Bible and the founders of our nation. Those men were very religious in their splintered Christian traditions. They fought Christian Britain to gain independence, in one bloody battle after another. In the American Civil War, Christians fought the bloodiest war in our nation’s history. Are Tim Keller or John Piper willing to publicly denounce American soldiers who fought for independence, an end to slavery, or for states’ rights…as idolaters?

It is imperative to understand the interwoven reality of America and Christianity. The alternative is godless secularism, which is easily visible in the one-party Communist nations, today. If Keller and Piper and the whole slew of their fellow pastors prefer a Christ-less America, then we should take very careful note of these men. That is not going to happen in my non-famous, non-mega pastor opinion. Civil War would first ensue, and Keller and Piper would be on the wrong side of history, even as they are in denouncing a Christian America as idolatrous.

As for my fellow Christians in the nation we call “America,” let me be one voice who encourages you to not listen to Timothy Keller, John Piper, Russell Moore or any other “Christian” leader who dissuades you from speaking up and out against the unrighteousness and evil in our nation. You are not an idolater, nor are you a traitor.

David Norczyk

Spokane Valley, Washington

January 16, 2021

Some random theologian out West somewhere, Christian writer, preacher