Cal Thomas, a noted evangelical author, was one of the speakers. His talk was one of the most wretched things I have ever seen. He made a joke about John Tower in a massage parlor, a joke about how it is taking Ted Kennedy longer these days to get his pants on after a sexual assault, a joke about how Paul Weyrich was a test-tube baby -- sperm from Jabba the Hut and egg from Molly Yard, and so forth. He was in a self-destruct mode -- he just went on and on. I sat in disbelief for a while. There, on the tube, was a national defender of traditional values, trampling all over those values to get a laugh.
Evangelicals should recognize that our minimalistic, generic, lowest-common- denominator Christianity is ill-equipped for the battle we face. We either keep our rootless piety and lose, or we lose our piety for the sake of winning. It is time for us to return to the older paths. We must return to a full-orbed classical Protestant worldview -- we need a piety with dirt under the fingernails, not dirt under the tongue. The Reformation provides the historical example of a Christianity which is capable of overcoming without being compromised in the process.
The rootless piety of pietism has to be secluded in order to be safe -- it must be monastic. In any conflict with the enemy, we may either retreat or capitulate. Cal Thomas has capitulated. In principle, he has shown to the world his spiritual rootlessness. Consequently, he is fighting the right people, but he fights fire with fire, dirt with dirt, malice with malice.
Others, in order to keep this from happening to them, have sounded retreat. After doing brief battle with pornographers and abortionists, they have gone back into their isolated evangelical ghettoes.
We desperately need controversialists who will challenge those who hate God, but we need men like Samuel Rutherford, men who combined a warm love for the Lord Jesus and uncompromising loyalty to the Lord Christ. In contrast, modern generic evangelicalism in politics cannot avoid compromise. It is time we stop going into battle without our armor.