Christians Against Trumpism & Political Extremism (CATPE) is an organization founded by John Kingston and Joel Searby. Upon reading their statement titled “Our Statement,” one would summarize that they are attempting to take a centrist stance in their politics. They neither take a stance supporting Trump (as can be noted in the name of their organization) nor are they openly advocating for Christians to vote for Biden in that statement. However, their “News and Resources” page tells a different story, that they are on the same page as the rest of the Evangelical Intelligentsia.
In a recent tweet, John Piper stated “that he did not sign and would not sign” and that “his name is being used without his permission” as it relates to CAPTE.
Kingston is a former executive for a Fortune 500 company who now spends his time and money to correct the political steering of the church. Searby is a former Republican operative who headed a political consulting firm, resigned in 2016 (apparently not happy with Trump winning the presidency) and has redirected his efforts to support and run a campaign for an independent candidate, a person who never rose to any notoriety.
According to their “Our Story” page, Kingston and Searby:
As they surveyed the landscape, they noticed something both shocking and yet at the same time unsurprising. Five years into the rise of Trumpism and the acquiescence of the evangelical/historically orthodox Church in the spiritual darkness of the day, no one in such circles had organized to stand against the darkness of Trumpism and other political extremism.
John and Joel stepped into this space, gathering those already standing against that darkness, but with no place to call home. They aim to build a large community speaking into the darkness, united to launch into the next phase of re-imagining and re-grounding the church’s engagement in civic life.
They want the church to believe that they are a couple of White Knights who are going to save the Church from the ravages of that demonic despot President Trump. Their definition of Trumpism is people who use language to insult their opponents and mock them. They are endeavoring to rescue the church from the depths of darkness of Trumpism and position them in the enlightened centricity of their views. (I also want to note that they do not support the rioting, looting and violence of the Left.)
In their “Statement” they troll out the recent talking points of Big Eva Trump-haters. They claim that “One of the most fundamental principles of the Christian faith is that we’re better together, so we must pray for and declare our love for all Americans, no matter their political views.” Indeed, that is true, we are to pray for our fellow Americans for their salvation and show our love by preaching the gospel, but that is different arena from politics.
And there is also the usual twisting of understanding scripture. “Because the call to unity comes from Christ himself, we ardently seek it” doesn’t mean that we lower our standards of Christian orthodoxy, which is what would need to happen for any kind of unity. Those who oppose TGC, 9Marx, Russell Moore, and the ERLC would have to trash their convictions regarding abortion, socialism, communism, and a lot of other Leftist “isms” for that Unity. It is never the liberal thinkers who make compromises of their convictions.
So far, their words seem almost too altruistic. They are claiming that they have found the political middle ground on which the church can stand on. Then the reader checks their News and Resources page.
This page reveals their true political view. Their featured resources are Never-Trumpers David French and Mona Charen, and Michael Gerson of the Washington Post. A scroll down the posted articles on the website are from sources like The Atlantic, CNN, NYT, and this list goes on from politically left “news” sources. They are not the centrists that they claim to be.
Basically, their issue is that “Orange Man” is a big meanie with his insults and mocking. People like Kingston and Searby, self-appointed Christian leaders, do not appear to be good students of the bible. Elijah did not use accommodating speech. God often lamented through the prophets about the whoring of Israel after false Gods, and He was blunt. God did not soft-pedal His commentary on the spiritual state of Israel. Jesus Himself, whom Kingston and Searby claim taught unity, not only did He say that His teaching would be divisive but He did not hold back in His speech to the Pharisees of His day.
And neither should we hold back on our words to the Pharisees of our day.