In a stunning statement, Wayne Grudem–Research Professor of Theology and Biblical Studies at Phoenix Seminary, former professor at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, and co-founder of the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood–pledged his wholehearted support of Donald Trump. “[M]y conscience, and my considered moral judgment tell me that I must vote for Donald Trump as the candidate who is most likely to do the most good for the United States of America.”
Indeed, he showed us the glowing world that a Trump presidency would create: Obamacare repealed (or at least work in that direction), energy policies promoted that will lower costs and create thousands of jobs, the utter defeat of ISIS, the US established as a strong nation no longer pushed around by “China and Russia and Iran,” secure U.S. borders, a strong U.S. military, poverty reduced, taxes reduced, abortion outlawed, religious liberty defended, and even order restored to bathrooms. Surely if a man can successfully run strip clubs, he can successfully run the United States of America.
I am going to let others discuss the reality of this Golden Trump World, as well as the significant ethical problems with Professor Grudem proffering his support of Trump. Indeed, John Mark. N. Reynolds just did this beautifully at Eidos, for those of you interested. I also have already discussed what I think of Donald Trump’s views toward women in my first ever anxious bench post—The Measure of a Woman: Donald Trump and St. Margaret’s Dragon.
What I want to talk about is why Wayne Grudem made such an outlandish and damaging public statement supporting Donald Trump. Of course, I can’t know for certain. But I very much worry that at least some of it has to do with his beliefs about women.
Professor Grudem believes that God determined men for leadership roles and women for support roles.
As he stated in a 2006 interview, “a woman who serves as a pastor, preaching to both men and women, is disobeying the word of God. There are always negative consequences to that. First there will be an erosion of trust in the Bible and obedience to the Bible…Also there will be an erosion of male leadership in the family because the modeling of female leadership in the pastorate will be reflected in a lessening of male leadership in the home. There will be a resulting increase in gender identity confusion among boys and girls growing up in the church. I also think that anyone who lives in a pattern of constant disobedience to the word of God–if a woman does this, she is opening herself up to the danger of the withdrawal of God’s hand of protection and blessing on her life.”
Professor Grudem also believes, as I recently discussed on this blog, that women’s subordination is mirrored in the Trinity–the eternal subordination of God the Son to God the Father (for those of you new to this argument–this historically has been a fringe belief which falls into the broader heresy of Arianism). In other words, patriarchy is divinely ordained.
Professor Grudem also edited the landmark book Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood with John Piper. An essay in the book, written by John Piper but certainly with the knowledge and approval of Wayne Grudem, articulates how women’s subordinate roles in the church extend (according to their argument) into social roles. “Some roles would involve kinds of leadership and expectations of authority and forms of strength as to make it unfitting for a woman to fill the role…To the degree that a woman’s influence over a man is personal and directive it will generally offend a man’s good, God-given sense of responsibility and leadership, and thus controvert God’s created order.” John Piper then suggests that a female boss with a male secretary, a woman in military combat who commands men, or a female umpire in professional baseball are all examples of jobs in which women “controvert God’s created order.” Women, in other words, should not hold positions of “personal and directive” authority over men both inside and outside the church.
Which leaves me with my point about why I think Professor Grudem is supporting Trump. His understanding of the world simply has no room for female leadership (at least not a world that receives God’s blessings). If a female preacher leads her congregation into destruction, as Professor Grudem has suggested, what would a female president do? Wouldn’t she also “controvert God’s created order” and “increase gender identity confusion” among American boys and girls?
I sensed desperation in Professor Grudem’s defense of Trump–desperation to try and convince his fellow Christians that Trump must be the best option for Christians. The only other option is a woman, and surely–according to Professor Grudem’s understanding of the world–that would not, could not, be God’s best for America.