The Gospel According to Erick Erickson

By | 2017-06-02T18:30:05+00:00 October 12, 2016|
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Where do we start with Erick Erickson? Is it the holier-than-thou hectoring, the bad theology, or his penchant for anathematizing other Christians? Erickson is one of the founders of RedState. He sold it in 2014 and left the company in 2015 and has been named one of the most influential conservatives in the country by the Daily Telegraph for a number years. Which helps explain why the conservative movement is in such sorry shape.

After selling Redstate, Erickson announced with much pomp in 2014 that he would be entering the seminary and, presumably, reducing his role in politics. If only he had kept his word. And who “announces” that they are going to seminary? To family and friends, sure, but a press release? “Take up your cross and follow me” is not generally followed by “Will do, but first let’s get with the PR team.”

Still, it was at least half true. He enrolled in Reformed Theological Seminary in Atlanta—and has been reminding everyone of it ever since—but he didn’t step back from politics. Erickson’s matriculation into seminary reminds me of the old joke about vegans: Do you know how to tell if someone is a vegan? Don’t worry, they’ll tell you.

Erickson likes to flaunt his Christian bona fides and use them to harangue his political opponents. Subtle he is not. He is quick to fire off hyperventilating blog posts calling out all and sundry for insufficient personal piety but is not nearly so fastidious when it comes to his own behavior. This is, after all, the same guy who tweeted that Supreme Court Justice David Souter is ““the only goat f****** child molester to ever serve on the Supreme Court.”

Erickson is representative of a certain type of Christian who conflates politics and religion, the role of government versus the role of Christ’s church. To be sure, one’s faith must guide one’s approach to politics as it must guide the rest of life, but understanding the distinction between the spirituality of the Church as separate and distinct from the role of civil government is critical. Misunderstanding the distinction denigrates the Church and poisons politics.

Since this election cycle began, Erickson has developed something of a cottage industry in decrying each and every one of Donald Trump’s sins real and imagined, public and private. It’s his own personal online inquisition. And business must be good because he has expanded into new markets, now taking it upon himself to chastise other evangelical Christian leaders for their support of Trump.

Political disagreement is fair enough, but Erickson criticizes them as Christians. In other words, he asserts—sometimes explicitly and sometimes implicitly—that political support for Donald Trump is incompatible with Christianity. That is a big claim that Erickson never bothers to prove.

No surprise that Erickson has worked himself up into a lather of (self) righteous indignation over Trump’s hot mic comments about women he has had, tried to have, and wanted to have. One does not need to be a defender of Trump’s comments (I’m not) to see more than a shade of hypocrisy in the overwrought seminarian and Twitter vulgarian who was so put out by the first presidential debate that he tweeted out his intention to drink himself numb. So much for “be not drunk with much wine” or “the peace of God that passes all understanding.” Instead, Erickson the Righteous will find peace in the bottle and then roll into seminary nursing a hangover and a self-righteous glow.

In one of his latest fatwas (he issues them faster than an ornery Saudi cleric on khat so it’s hard to keep up), Erickson takes to task prominent evangelicals like Ralph Reed, Eric Metaxas, and David Brody for supporting Donald Trump in light of revelations that he likes the ladies. (This is a euphemism for those of you tempted to leave a snarky comment that Trump more than just “likes the ladies.”) Erickson tries to give this an air of respectability by wrapping it up with some things he must have overheard at seminarysome bad theology here, a little misunderstood Westminster Shorter Catechism therebut it doesn’t wash.

Erickson writes, “Do these people not care about leading others to Christ? Are they so wrapped up in the day to day partisanship of Repubilcan [sic] vs. Democrat that they have abandoned Christ vs. the World. Shame on them.” [Emphasis added]

He asks if these Christianshis brothers in Christ“have abandoned Christ vs. the World?” This is, perhaps, the root of his error. Erickson suggests that there is a grudge match between the Church and the World and that the victor is decided, in part, through politics. But Christ tells us “In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” Christ has already won and Christians are already citizens of heaventhat battle does not play out in this election or in any other.

To that point, “car(ing) about leading others to Christ” and choosing the best candidate in a presidential election are not the same thing. One does not lead others to Christ by casting a vote in the 2016 American presidential election. One leads others to Christ by preaching the Gospel.

Does Erickson think he is leading others to Christ when he posts on his blog that Trump supporters “must be crying into their swastikas” because Trump “said something nice about Israel?” Or that “Trump voters have failed at life?” Shame on Erick Erickson for violating the ninth commandment. Bearing false witness against one’s neighbor is every bit as wrong as violating the seventh (adultery). What is more, a full understanding of the ninth commandment not only prohibits lies, false accusations, and defamation, but also imposes the positive obligation to promote the good name of our neighbors.

In his recent post he continues and falsely accuses fellow Christians of being in danger of losing their salvation by supporting Donald Trump. He writes of evangelicals such as Reed and Metaxas: “Backing Trump is not worth risking your witness. Defending the indefensible is not worth your integrity. And Trump in the White House is not worth your soul.”

In short, Erickson asserts that supporting Donald Trump imperils his Christian supporters’ souls that they can lose their salvation over their vote in this election. He is on dangerous ground himself here. Shame on him for attempting to bind the consciences of other believers over something other than the Gospel. Doing so is itself the mark of a false teacher or an incredibly immature Christian. And shame on him for reducing the Kingdom of God to the Kingdom of Man. I hope for Erickson’s sake it is immaturity and that his pastor or his professors at Reformed Theological Seminary provide wise counsel and good shepherding.

Peter reminds Christians that we are “strangers and exiles” in this land—this is Babylon not the New Jerusalem. Understanding that is critical to wisely dealing with the struggles of this world. With regard to politics, theologian David VanDrunen offers these sage words in his essential book, Living in God’s Two Kingdoms:

“Speaking of Christian political activity can also be misleading since Scripture only speaks at a general level about civil government and political responsibilities . . . Scripture says nothing specifically about the concrete decisions that Christians must make about voting, party affiliation, details of public policy, or political strategy. These are decisions of moral gravity, but they are not decisions that one Christian can impose upon the conscience of another Christian. Where Scripture is silent, there is no single Christian position. Each believer must seek to apply, with wisdom, biblical teaching that is relevant to political decisions. Certain political actions are clearly inconsistent with faith, but many possible approaches to voting, supporting parties, forming public policy, and political strategizing are potentially consistent with the Christian faith. In these areas believers enjoy Christian libertyand responsibilityto exercise their wisdom in ‘seek(ing) the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile…’ (Jer: 29:7)”

He never did get around to taking that break from politics. Now might be a good time for him to take a step back and focus on his studies and on his own witness.

About the Author:

Chris Buskirk
Chris is the Publisher and Editor of American Greatness and the host of The Seth & Chris Show. He was a Publius Fellow at the Claremont Institute. and received a Fellowship from the Earhart Foundation. Chris is a serial entrepreneur who has built and sold businesses in financial services and digital marketing. He is a frequent guest on NPR's Morning Edition. His writing has appeared in The Washington Post, The Hill, and elsewhere. Connect with Chris on Twitter at @TheChrisBuskirk
  • atlanta_guy_1

    Erickson is on 5-7 pm on basically the ONLY talk radio station in Atlanta with any kind of signal, so we are stuck with him here on the drive home. (And 3 hours of the likeable but un-listen-able Hermain Caine in the morning. Yea, it’s pretty bad.) Like Glenn Beck, I appreciated his good natured commentary and basic social conservationism, until Trump came on the scene. Then he, like Beck and some others, have gone into full melt-down, irrational, arguments, wrapped in morality or in Erickson’s case, his Bible knowledge. Thanks for the great break-down, smack-down, iron sharpening cheese analysis.

    • Epaminondas

      You need audiobooks for your drive. Go to Audible.com.

    • RDittmar

      Given what I know about Atlanta, I’m afraid that when you talk about 3 hours of Herman Cain in the morning you mean that you have listen to all 3 hours during your commute.

      • atlanta_guy_1

        Hah, indeed… brutal for sure.

    • Eric Johnson

      There is a more, how should we say, financial reason for that. Erickson has been bought off. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/60ea29254e6138f555e34e18ef8322a36a95cdc3f5be2168c2df25e91fe9c99f.jpg

      • atlanta_guy_1

        Well that’s interesting Dude….

  • And How to Get It

    How did this goof ball get anywhere? One look at him should be enough to judge this book by its cover…and he is certainly not on the cover of The Good Book…

  • Epaminondas

    That asshat has been a cuckservative from day one. Immature is a great way to describe him. When he was young, he was probably the hall monitor who took down names. Nobody likes a jerk like him.

    • Royce E. Van Blaricome

      Your personal ad hominem attacks that say nothing speak more to you than Erickson and your faux omniscience fails you. There are many you “like” him and he’s only a “jerk” to folks like you who have nothing with any substance to say.

      • Epaminondas

        I believe the word “cuckservative” describes Erickson perfectly and in detail. It probably describes you, as well.

        • Royce E. Van Blaricome

          How appropriate of you to use a neologistic epithet formed as a portmanteau of the word cuckold and the political designation conservative. Especially since it has become an increasingly popular pejorative label used within the conservative movement and among alt-right supporters.

          That said, while you do continue to show yourself very well for who you are, I believe Jesus said it much better with “But the things that proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and those defile the man.”

          • Epaminondas

            If Hillary wins, you dopes will deserve what you get.

          • Royce E. Van Blaricome

            If Hillary wins, you dopes will deserve what you get. U R the ones who will put her in office.

          • ls1813

            Ok Erick, we know it’s you…can’t take the heat huh? Well maybe you should stick to the seminary. By the way, what sick mother names her son Erick with a “ck”? Probably why you suffer from dementia…

          • Royce E. Van Blaricome

            Have you sought any professional help for your delusion? My name is Royce. But hey, thank you for showing everyone in black & white that the only way American will ever be great again is if all the spiritually-dead, wicked-hearted, evil-speaking cretins like yourself were to be cast in the Lake of Fire and silenced once and for all.

  • Recently the tables were turned, and Trump supporters were criticizing Erickson for not being Christian This provoked a Tweetstorm that ends here. It includes many of the points Mr. Buskirk addresses, like:

    “16/ Voting is the act of an American, not the act of a Christian. When the principles of both collide, the latter must govern.”
    “21/ It is okay to vote. It is even okay to vote for Trump. But to separate your faith from your vote is wrong.”
    “24/ If you are a Christian and want to vote for Trump, God bless you. But do not attack your brethren for abstaining.”
    “26/ To demand a Christian vote for anyone their conscience opposes is to sin.”

    Reasonable stuff. The problem, and I want to be fair but it’s hard, comes from the inconsistency and double standards and sanctimony.

    The very next morning he wrote an article titled Your Candidate Sucks> which he begins:

    I have been overrun with leftists showing me strange new respect for my opposition to Donald Trump. Not a day goes by that someone does not tweet something along the lines of “I can’t believe I’m agreeing with Erick Erickson.” But in their smugness over the Republicans’ candidate, we should pause to reflect that their candidate sucks too. “Yes We Cankles” is a poor substitute for “Yes We Can” and no amount of pulling her face back will make her look youthful and energetic.

    When he tweeted out the link and I read it I replied to him:

    .@EWErickson Cankles & face lifts may b good laugh lines but unbecoming of seminarian who tweetstorm night b4 abt Christian rhetoric Lk 17:3— Bo Grimes (@vcg3rd) October 4, 2016

    I doubt he read it, let alone the reference to Luke 17:3 about rebuking your brother, which begins with the command “So watch yourselves.”

    A post titled “Your Candidate Sucks” that leads with insults about her looks will get no traction, nor should it. Those who support Clinton will be confirmed in their conviction that people don’t like her because she’s a woman. Those who hate her will laugh along smugly. And the Republic will become more fractured, the elite writers will make money, and the people will continue to suffer.

    Erickson, sadly, confirms what Michael Tracey wrote today in The American Conservative

    The real “deplorables” generally aren’t the people whom Hillary denounced as wholly “irredeemable,” or at whom economically secure commentators fulminate on a regular basis. More obviously “deplorable” are Hillary’s fellow financial, political, economic, and military elites who wrecked the economy, got us mired in endless unwinnable foreign wars, and erected a virtually impenetrable cultural barrier between everyday Americans trying to live fruitful lives and their pretentious, well-heeled superiors ensconced in select coastal enclaves. It is thanks to the actions of this “basket of deplorables” that we’re in the situation we’re in, where an oaf like Trump is perilously close to seizing the presidency.

  • jack dobson

    Grotesque figures such as Erickson are total frauds. He has claimed his faith and pro-life views are paramount yet he happily supports Hillary Clinton, who would stack the USSC with political apparatchiks who would enshrine full-birth abortion as a fundamental right yet find public prayer is a violation of others’ First Amendment freedoms. There would be no religious liberty if Erickson’s chosen candidate prevailed.

    Among the public services Trump has performed is he has divorced the Churchians from the masses of evangelicals who are true to their faith, and he has exposed people such as Erickson as faux Christians and all-round phonies.

  • Jesus said the times prior to his return would be characterized by false prophets claiming to preach in his name. Erickson is one.

    • Royce E. Van Blaricome

      Do you have any idea what you just did? You just stepped into the shoes of a prophet. Personally, I don’t see any evidence for your claim to be true. In fact, from almost everything I’ve seen from Erickson, it is more likely that you are the false prophet!!

      This much I do know. God has not seen fit to share His omniscience with you or anyone else. So now that you have stepped into the shoes of a prophet and claim to speak for God, it’s time for you to pony up. State your evidence or stand condemned yourself.

      For you to say such a thing only goes to show that you have NO fear of the Lord before your eyes. Anytime anyone frivolously claims to speak for God they should be trembling in fear.

      You would also do well to see what God has to say about those who make false claims and bear false witness against His Children. Again, the very thought oughtta cause you to tremble!!

  • Brother John the Deplorable

    For my money, the names Erick Erickson and Blenn Geck are, for all practical purposes, interchangeable at this point. The sanctimony, the conflation of religion and politics, the hyper-inflated sense of one’s own importance to the future of the nation, the effort expended against the GOP instead of the real enemies —- if I wanted this BS, I could just watch MSNBC and read Slate.

    Since I don’t know where else to relate this tale, I was banned at RS a year or two ago by some apparent muscle-headed moderator bragging about his jump record for suggesting that the Armed Forces (a) aren’t actually defending our freedoms, because (b) all levels of government are presenting a threat orders of magnitude greater than the likes of ISIS, and because of (a) and (b), (c) the Armed Forces of the United States are being done a tremendous disservice through misuse and lack of support.

    I, of course, refused to recant, and I don’t know if this particular potato-head was just illiterate or just afflicted with ‘roid rage, but that was the last time I went to Red State.

    • Eric Johnson

      It is rather simple. Erickson’s Resurgent website was paid a large amount of money to run anti Trump “advertising.”

      Glenn Beck’s business partner David Barton is the chairman of a Ted Cruz Super PAC.

      These people are frauds.

      • Brother John the Deplorable

        I think, if your words are true, then I think those two have some confessing to do. I don’t presume to speak for the Almighty, but that seems like a degree of dishonesty with which he would not be pleased.

  • Severn

    By his own admission, Erickson would be a Democrat if only they were anti-abortion. I think that says all that need be said about his “conservatism”.

    As for his Christianity, he represents the dark side of all religions, the side that tends towards smugness, towards holier-than-thouness, towards priggish self-righteousness.

    • jack dobson

      Erickson is a total fraud, obviously. He couldn’t support Hillary Clinton and her abortion justices and be “pro-life.” He probably owns stock in abortion centers given his track record.

  • Royce E. Van Blaricome

    “Holier than though” – the oh so often touted mantra against someone by those who wish to cling to their sin.

    • JClarke

      Supporting Donald Trump for President of the United States is clinging to sin?

      • Royce E. Van Blaricome

        I didn’t say that but to answer your question…possibly. Could be. If the shoe fits.

  • Royce E. Van Blaricome

    “To be sure, one’s faith must guide one’s approach to politics as it must guide the rest of life…” So that’s what faith is to you? A guide? That’s what God’s Word is to you – a guide? Something to just be considered. Take it or leave it? Better read Matt. 7:21-23. Jesus IS Lord and He is Lord of your politics or not at all. God’s commands are NOT suggestions.

  • Royce E. Van Blaricome

    If Buskirk truly believes “that battle does not play out in this election or in any other”, then Erickson isn’t the only one with bad theology and he’s conflated the War having already been won with the numerous battles that will continue until Jesus comes and puts all His enemies under His foot.

  • Royce E. Van Blaricome

    “Shame on Erick Erickson for violating the ninth commandment. Bearing false witness against one’s neighbor is every bit as wrong as violating the seventh (adultery). What is more, a full understanding of the ninth commandment not only prohibits lies, false accusations, and defamation, but also imposes the positive obligation to promote the good name of our neighbors.”

    Uh, Mr. Buskirk, ya might’ve taken a little look at Matt. 7:1-5 before writing that bit. That is what Jesus would call a Giant Sequoia Tree sticking outta your eye socket!!

  • Royce E. Van Blaricome

    Btw, Mr. Buskirk, before you decided to broadcast this article to the world, did you obey Matt. 18 and go to your Brother first? Did you follow that up with 2 or more witnesses?

    • Kyle Flaig

      Mr. Buskirk, did you go to the writer of this column first, following that up with 2 or rmore witnesses before writing your scathing post?

  • Royce E. Van Blaricome

    “In short, Erickson asserts that supporting Donald Trump imperils his Christian supporters’ souls —that they can lose their salvation over their vote in this election. He is on dangerous ground himself here. Shame on him for attempting to bind the consciences of other believers over something other than the Gospel. Doing so is itself the mark of a false teacher or an incredibly immature Christian.”

    There’s that Sequoia Tree Again. How is it that you didn’t see you’re guilty of the same thing you accuse Erickson of? A little earlier you talked about bearing false witness and then you do it here! You criticize Erickson for tying salvation to their vote and then you insinuate the same by saying “he is on dangerous ground there”. Where’s your shame in shaming others for doing the same? Did you stamp a big “false teacher” on your forehead? Who’s the immature Christian? Would a mature Christian write this article with such obvious hypocrisy?

  • Royce E. Van Blaricome

    “Scripture says nothing specifically about the concrete decisions that Christians must make about voting, party affiliation, details of public policy, or political strategy.”

    So 2nd Tim. 3:16 is a lie? Scripture isn’t really God’s Word and the final authority for which one is to govern their life? And Erickson is the false teacher and immature Christian?!

    Sorry, but the God I serve who actually said ALL Scripture is God-breathed and GOOD for instruction meant ALL. And I just happen to believe He’s a little smarter than you and politics didn’t take Him by surprise so He has instructed Christians on how to vote.

  • BurkeanMama

    I am not a Christian at all so perhaps I have no right to speak to this. But I find it difficult to believe that being a good Christian means supporting Hillary Clinton’s rise to the Presidency.

  • polmom

    I’m in Atlanta and have watched the rapid descent of Eric. He’s been waging war against Trump since last summer when Trump was supposed to appear at a RedState sponsored event that I was to attend. Eric rescinded the invitation that morning claiming Trump referred to Megan’s period. It’s been downhill ever since. Eric’s twitter feed is just ferociously anti-Trump everyday and quite vile. I’ve given up on both him and Michael Medved.

  • Scott Carroll

    If there is a more pompous, condescending, smugly certain, intellectually incurious pundit on the right, I am not aware of him.

  • James Francisco

    Clearing away his rhetoric and your disdain, when one drills down to the basics, he does have a point. For a christian minister to preach against adultery, fornication, and all other manner of corruption and sin, and then to turn around and say ” Donald Trump is a good man and I support him,” or “Hillary Clinton is a good woman and I support her,” smacks of hypocrisy especially considering that they are close to, if not the most venal and corrupt candidates to run for president of the United States. These so-called men of God have thoroughly compromised any moral authority that they may have had. They are now no better than political hacks.