on September 23, 2019. (Photo: State Department/Ron Przysucha)
Harvest pastor Greg Laurie and Liberty University president Jerry Falwell are among the nearly 200 evangelical leaders to have signed an open letter condemning Christianity Today magazine's editorial backing the impeachment of Donald Trump.
The letter to Timothy Dalrymple, president of the popular US evangelical magazine, said that the editorial "offensively questioned the spiritual integrity and Christian witness of tens-of-millions of believers who take seriously their civic and moral obligations."
The letter was also critical of editor-in-chief Mark Galli for describing evangelical Trump supporters as "far right".
Speaking to CNN in response to the backlash against his editorial, Galli said that evangelicals upset about it were not readers of the magazine and were "Christians on the far right, evangelicals on the far right, so they're going to be as dismissive of the magazine as President Trump has shown to be."
In the open letter, the evangelical leaders say that their views were "offensively dismissed" by Galli.
"We are, in fact, not 'far-right' evangelicals as characterized by the author," the letter states.
"Rather, we are Bible-believing Christians and patriotic Americans who are simply grateful that our president has sought our advice as his administration has advanced policies that protect the unborn, promote religious freedom, reform our criminal justice system, contribute to strong working families through paid family leave, protect the freedom of conscience, prioritize parental rights, and ensure that our foreign policy aligns with our values while making our world safer, including through our support of the State of Israel.
"We are not theocrats and we recognize that our imperfect political system is a reflection of the fallen world within which we live, reliant upon the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, which is freely given to sinner and saint, alike.
"We are proud to be numbered among those in history who, like Jesus, have been pretentiously accused of having too much grace for tax collectors and sinners, and we take deeply our personal responsibility to render unto Caesar what is Caesar's — our public service."
Galli is due to retire as editor-in-chief at Christianity Today magazine in January.
In an interview with The Washington Post on Friday, Galli said that he supported some of Trump's policies, including his choice of judges and his strong anti-abortion position.
But his editorial angered Trump, who called it "far left" and "very 'progressive'" in a series of angry tweets.
He accused Christianity Today magazine, which was founded by the late Billy Graham, of preferring to "have a Radical Left nonbeliever, who wants to take your religion & your guns, than Donald Trump as your President [sic]".
"No President has done more for the Evangelical community, and it's not even close. You'll not get anything from those Dems on stage," he said.
Other signatories of the letter include Bethel worship leader Jenn Johnson and Trump's spiritual adviser Paula White.