Listening In: Wayne Grudem

WARREN SMITH, HOST: I’m Warren Smith, and today you will be listening in on my conversation with author and theologian, Wayne Grudem. 

Wayne Grudem is one of the most significant theologians of our era. His books, including A Systematic Theology, the massive Politics According to the Bible, and his latest book, a 1,300 page tome called Christian Ethics, have been recognized by theologians for their depth of understanding on the topics they explore. They’ve also been embraced by pastors and laypeople for their accessibility. In addition, he was a member of a team that translated the Bible into the English Standard Version and was general editor of the bestselling ESV Study Bible, which was WORLD’s Book of the Year when it was published and has since gone on to sell more than a million copies.

This is not the first time Wayne Grudem has been on Listening In. I traveled to his home in Scottsdale, Arizona in 2016, soon after he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. We talked then at much greater length about the ESV Study Bible and about how learning he had Parkinson’s has affected his life and work. Today, we’ll talk more about the overall sweep of his career and about that new book I just mentioned, Christian Ethics.

We had this conversation at the recent meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society held in Denver, Colorado.

Wayne Grudem, first of all, welcome back to the program. We spoke a couple of years ago at your home in Scottsdale, Arizona about the ESV Study Bible, and I want to talk a little bit more about the ESV Study Bible before we end our time together, but I want to begin by talking about the reason we are here. We’re at the Evangelical Theological Society in Denver and you made a presentation on the Holy Spirit. What did you tell the group?

WAYNE GRUDEM, GUEST: Well, Warren and good to be with you. I read a paper and made a presentation called “What Does It Mean to be Led by the Spirit?” There are two places in the New Testament that talk about this: Romans 8:14—”For all who are led by the spirit of God are sons of God”—and Galatians 5:18—”If you are led by the spirit, you are not under the law.” And the question is, what does it mean to be led by the spirit? In the academic literature, there are two positions. One is it doesn’t include any situation, specific guidance, it just means inclining our will and our hearts to follow the moral teachings of Scripture and to be obedient to God, but no situation-specific information. And then the second view is that guidance by the Holy Spirit includes not only giving us an inclination to be obedient to God, but also situation-specific directional guidance in everyday life decisions. And I think that’s what most people mean by being led by the spirit. My conclusion and my argument in the paper was that the academic literature had neglected a very important factor and that is the meaning of the Greek word translated lead, which is “ago.”

And I found in the Greek translation of the Old Testament, the septuagint, 113 times where this verb, “ago” was used of leading by a personal agent and it was always situation-specific. It was God bringing the animals to Adam, God bringing Eve to Adam. It was Joseph saying to his brothers, bring your youngest brother to me, lead your youngest brother to me. That’s directional. It’s situation-specific. And other verses talking about God leading Israel through the wilderness. That’s situation-specific guidance in the wilderness, the pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night. In the New Testament, there were 53 examples where “ago” is used of leading by a personal agent and that begins with the story of Jesus being led by the spirit in the wilderness. And then there are other examples of leading by a personal agent that are all situation-specific, such as going to the village and find a colt and bring or lead it to me. That’s situation-specific guidance.

So, overwhelmingly this verb is used of guidance that is specific to the situation when it’s used of leading by personal agent. So my conclusion was that leading by the Holy Spirit means not only giving us an inclination to be obedient to God, but also providing a subjective sense of guidance in everyday decisions that we make.

SMITH: So when you say a subjective sense of guidance, you mean very specific instructions to do a particular thing.

GRUDEM: To accept an invitation to speak at this church or to turn it down, to accept an invitation from—in my own life—to accept an invitation to write an endorsement for a book or turn it down or in faculty meeting, when to speak again when I’ve already said something or when to be silent. I pray for guidance on those kind of things.

SMITH: What you’re saying, it seems to me, and I’m going to translate this into layman’s language here is that God cares about everything. God is sovereign over all and not just over some. Is that what you’re saying?

GRUDEM: Yes, and he wants a personal relationship with us, which has been true of God’s relationship with people throughout the Bible. So I want to tell people, don’t rely on subjective guidance by the Holy Spirit alone. It can never rise to the moral obligation, the level of moral obligation that we attach the Scripture because Scripture is God’s infallible, inerrant word and it has no error in it. And we can be mistaken in our subjective perceptions of what God wants us to do or how the Holy Spirit is leading, but it still is a factor. So I listed several factors to consider in guidance. Certainly above all the teaching of the Bible, but then information about the circumstances, knowledge about yourself, advice from others, changed circumstances, what your conscience is telling you, what your heart is telling you, a sense in your own human spirit, and guidance from the Holy Spirit.

Now, those were nine factors, and in the paper that I presented, I added a 10th and that is listening to your wife. [laughs] Everybody laughed, but Margaret was in the audience in the fourth row and she appreciated that.

SMITH: Well, listening to other people that God in his sovereignty and his providence has placed in your life for whatever reason, in the case of a wife to be a companion, to be a source of wisdom, to be a helper in the work that God is calling you to do. It seems to me that listening to wise counsel is also biblical, right?

GRUDEM: Yes, of course. Listen to good friends. Listen to your pastor. Margaret and I are in a small group of 10 people and often we will seek advice from each other. And I pay attention to that.

SMITH: Well, Wayne Grudem, if I could be a little cheeky here, I guess, I would say this doesn’t seem like it’s graduate level Christian discipleship, right? I mean, you know, that the Bible is the infallible word of God and that we should pay attention to it. That the Holy Spirit is one person in the trinity and that we should believe it. I mean, this is not sort of like higher math, so to speak. And yet what I think you might be suggesting is that we forget this sometimes or that we have fail to pay attention to what the Scripture has hiding in plain sight for us.

GRUDEM: Or not only do we forget it, but sometimes there are people who write books telling you not to pay any attention to it. And so if the Holy Spirit communicates information to me that is information that says,  as recently happened, someone me to write an endorsement of a book, I turned it down and I kept having this sense in my heart or in my spirit of the Holy Spirit saying, no, you should write an endorsement for that book.

So I changed my mind and went back and wrote back an email to the person, said, “Send me the manuscript. Let me have a look at it.” Now, some people are nervous about that because—especially the people who are most nervous about the charismatic movement—because they think if the Holy Spirit imparts new information to you, that competes with Scripture. And my answer is no, it doesn’t. It never rises to the level of the authority of Scripture. We don’t threaten the closed canon, but we recognize that people can misuse it that way. And we warn against it. And there is a very influential book called Decision Making and the Will of God by Gary Friesen. He and I have corresponded quite a bit, but he discourages people from seeking or paying much attention to subjective guidance in the ordinary course of life. Just read the Bible and use wisdom to decide and I’m sort of coming in answer to that and saying, no, the Holy Spirit does guide us and the way Christians have understood guidance traditionally, historically is correct.

SMITH: Well, and there’s a sort of another species of people who are writing books that are saying things that are antithetical to what you just said, and I’m thinking of a pastor right here in Denver who wrote a book that’s said — or not a wrote a book, wrote an article that said it’s okay for Christians to watch pornography so long as it is “ethically sourced.” In other words, as long as it is the people that are engaged in that pornography have not been coerced. And I was thinking to myself whenever I read that, how in the world can you possibly reconcile that view with an understanding of Biblical morality?

GRUDEM: Right. I saw that headline also, Warren. It was deeply troubling because Jesus said, “Whoever looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart,” and the purpose of pornography is to get people to look at it with lustful intent for the purpose of having a sexual desires aroused by the pornography. That’s exactly what Jesus said not to do. So that pastor was a horribly mistaken and misleading people, sadly.

SMITH: Well, that transitions us a little bit into your new book on Christian ethics. The book on Christian ethics is about pornography and nearly 100—it looks to me—other topics as well. Now, can you locate this book, Wayne Grudem, for me in the canon of your many books, including your Systematic Theology and Politics According to the Bible and on, and on and on. I mean, you’ve written dozens, probably scores of books at this point. Where does this fit into that canon of work?

GRUDEM: Well, I think of this new book, Christian Ethics, Warren, as a counterpart to my book Systematic Theology, and if Systematic Theology is the largest and most kingdom-impactful book I wrote, it came out in 1994, I’m hoping that this Christian Ethics book has a similar impact on the Christian world in encouraging people to be obedient to God and to live in obedience to scripture, to know what it is to live a life pleasing to God. Because ethics has to do with how to live. How to live in a way that’s fully pleasing to God, as Paul says in Colossians 1. So the ethical topics that we cover are things like lying and telling the truth, leadership in marriage, authority of civil government, capital punishment, war, self defense, all life issues, abortion, euthanasia, and then marriage issues such as birth control, reproductive technology, pornography, divorce, homosexuality, and then issues related to property and money such as prosperity—is that inherently an evil thing or is there some good in it?—wealth and poverty and personal stewardship of money—how do we know how much to spend on ourselves, how much to give away, how much to save—business ethics, care for the environment. Ethics covers all of the Christian life. How do we live the Christian life? And the approach in this book, Christian Ethics, is very similar to the approach in Systematic Theology. That is, I’m attempting to say what does the whole Bible say about this topic? In Systematic Theology, it was the atonement or justification or the trinity or the Deity of Christ, theological topics. Here we’re talking about abortion, euthanasia, end of life issues, divorce and remarriage, ethical issues. So it’s a similar approach but different topics.

SMITH: I’m wondering how you would respond to this, Wayne: I’ve heard it said that theology is obviously the study of God, but if I could take it away from sort of God language, the study of what is real and true. And the study of ethics is based on what is real and true, how should therefore we then live? Is that a fair way to describe theology and ethics and the relationship one to the other?

GRUDEM: Theology is certainly the study of what is true. Ethics is the study of what is right, what is morally right and wrong, and the ultimate source of ethics for us is the teaching of the Bible. But where does the teaching of the Bible come from? It comes from God’s moral character, so the anchor, the original source of ethics is the moral character of God. He’s a God who cannot lie. He’s a truth-telling God so he commands us not to bear false witness. He’s a god who creates and sustains life so he commands us not to murder. He’s a God who is faithful to his promises and commitments, and so he commands us to be faithful in marriage and not commit adultery. He’s a God who created us with the ability to be good stewards of property, and so he gave us the command you shall not steal, which protects ownership of property. So God’s commands ultimately flow from his own nature and his own being, and that anchors the Christian understanding of what should be. How we should act is anchored in a reality of the existence that is the moral character of God.

SMITH: I’d like to mention briefly another book that you’ve written over the many, many books that you’ve written that I think relates to these two, or at least Christian Ethics a little bit and that is your book Politics According to the Bible, which is a book that I keep literally on a little shelf right over my desk and refer to it frequently. And because of that, because I refer to it frequently, I know that many of the issues that are in Christian Ethics were also talked about, at least in part, in Politics According to the Bible. What’s the difference between those two and why did you feel like you needed, if you will, another bite at the apple in this book on some of those issues?

GRUDEM: Well, I intend Christian Ethics to be a textbook that can be used at the college level or the graduate level as a course covering the entire field of ethics and, of course, covering the entire field of ethics, I have to deal with capital punishment, I have to deal with civil government, I have to deal with probably laws regarding abortion, for instance. So there is some overlap, but this is dealing with it at the more fundamental level. What does the Bible teach rather than the politics book, talking about how do we apply it in policy. But there’s overlap. There’s overlap with some of the other things I’ve written about poverty and wealth, overlap with some of the things I’ve written about marriage and relationship between men and women. In a way that means that the Lord has been preparing me for my whole life to write this 1,290 page book, Christian Ethics. And it is the culmination of a lifetime of 41 years of teaching classes in ethics at the college and graduate school level.

SMITH: Wayne Grudem, if I could shift gears on you just a little bit or actually bringing us back around full circle to the reason we are here at the Evangelical Theological Society in Denver is that you got quite an honor this morning. And a book that essentially honors your work of a lifetime was unveiled, presented to you. Can you talk about that and what that meant to you?

GRUDEM: Well, it was a surprise and a joy for me to find out that Crossway Books was publishing a book of essays in my honor, which they presented me with this morning. It’s 19 chapters plus a couple of introductory chapters called Scripture and the People of God with essays written by friends of mine in the academic world throughout — people who have been friends for the last 40 or more years. 

SMITH: Well friends, but also people who are very distinguished in the theological and academic world as well. I see, for example, John Frame’s name in here, who many of many people know John Frame’s Systematic Theology, Leland Ryken, who I know many folks will know as well. C.J. Mahaney, Ray Ortlund, John Piper, Owen Strachan, who is near and dear to my heart because he wrote a biography of Chuck Colson. And of course I now work at the Colson Center for Christian Worldview. So I mean these were friends, but these are also men who are distinguished in their own right and are basically saying that what they know, at least in part, they learned from you.

GRUDEM: It’s been mutually edifying friendship in many of those cases Warren. Yes, the book was edited by John Hughes who was with me at Westminster Seminary, well, we graduated in 1973 from Westminster in Philadelphia and we were together in doctoral work in Cambridge in England, ’73 to ’76, so John knows quite a bit of background. Then, Jeff Perswell who was my teaching assistant at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and is in charge of pastoral training for Sovereign Grace Churches and John Dell who is a faculty colleague of mine at Phoenix Seminary and who knows something of my life for 17 years now at Phoenix Seminary. So they contributed, but also at the presentation, it was interesting. Oh, I think seven or eight people spoke, including two of my sons, Elliot and Alexander, telling some stories about my early life or their early life as with me as father. And Vern Poythress. Vern is a professor at Westminster Seminary. He and I have known each other since we were together at Harvard, 1966, 67. And so he could tell some of the background to my life that my children didn’t even know.

SMITH: Well, that’s remarkable. And Vern, of course, has had some associations with WORLD Magazine over the years as well. He and he and Marvin co-edited a series of books together for Crossway back years ago. Marvin Olasky, the editor and chief at WORLD. And he occasionally has written for WORLD Magazine.

GRUDEM: I’ll tell you a story about Vern. When I was finishing my freshman year at Harvard, 1967, spring of ’67, I had been memorizing Bible verses in the King James Version and it was difficult to translate the thee and thou into you and woulds and couldst into would and could. I needed to get a modern translation. I wanted to reliable one. Well, Vern was a first year PhD student in math at Harvard and everybody respected him in the Christian fellowship because of his immense knowledge of the Bible. So I said, Vern, what version of the Bible should I buy? And he said, Revised Standard Version. Well that was 1967. We ended up being on the translation committee together for the English Standard Version. The ESV, which was based on the Revised Standard Version, which he and I both memorized in for years, and that, of course, the ESV came out in 2001, but the roots of it go back to 1967, to that conversation I had with a graduate student whom I highly respected, Vern Poythress.

SMITH: Well, that’s a remarkable story. And since you brought it up, I did want to at least briefly mentioned the ESV Study Bible, which, I think what came out in 2008, 2009, somewhere in that. And we talked about it in that conversation that I had with you at your home in Scottsdale. So I don’t want to sort of rehearse that conversation over and over again except to say that that Bible continues to have a huge impact and the million words of commentary that when with it is also having a great impact on the world as well. A surprise to you?

GRUDEM: One point four million words of commentary.

SMITH: Well, forgive me, I short changed you by 400,000 words. I’m sorry about that. Wow, that’s remarkable. And I’m assuming that when you engage in a project that mammoth, you hope people will read it. Did you have any idea that it would turn out the way it did?

GRUDEM: Well, the Lord has certainly blessed it and it’s in quite a bit of recognition. Warren, we’re thankful, too, that it’s been translated into a number of foreign languages and more underway because we were hoping that it would be a useful resource. For instance, for pastors who may only have one or two books in their library, a Bible and two or three other books. If this is the only book they have, it should be a resource that’ll help them find an introduction and background to the books, answers to objections that people might raise to things the Bible teaches, and a discussion of how various themes trace through the entire Bible. Well, that’s what the ESV Study Bible was intended for and we’re thankful that God seems to be blessing it in people’s lives.

SMITH: Wayne Grudem, when they honored you today at the Evangelical Theological Society, a number of people spoke and they allowed you a few minutes of response and you talked about some verses that have been meaningful and formative in your life. Can you say what they were?

GRUDEM: Yes, Warren. Very briefly, I talked about eight verses that have been central in my life. The first one, Proverbs 19:14, “House and wealth are inherited from fathers, but a prudent wife is from the Lord.” And that word translated “prudent,” the Hebrew word “sacco” means insightful, discerning, wise, perceptive, and that certainly characterizes as my wonderful wife Margaret. We’ve been married 49 years. The next verse, Psalm 127:3, “Children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb, a reward.” The Lord gave to Margaret and me, three sons, Elliot, Oliver, and Alexander and wonderfully they were all able to be here today in Denver when this book of essays was presented in my honor and I was so thankful for that.

Proverbs 30:5 is the third verse, “Every word of God proves true.” Every word of God proves true. In the summer between high school and college in 1966, I pondered what I was going to believe for the rest of my life and was I going to believe what my parents and my church taught me or something else. And at that point I consciously decided that I knew the Bible was the word of God and so I would believe what I’d been taught at home in church, if it agreed with the Bible and I’d reject it if it didn’t agree with the Bible. And in the 52 years since that decision, the conviction that every word of God proves true has been at the very foundation of my entire life.

The fourth verse is “Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.” I remember from at least early elementary school from first, second, third grade, I have loved the sense of God’s presence that came to me when I would pray, when I would sing hymns and often in church. This joy or delight in God’s presence has been a deep source of joy for my entire life.

The fifth one is I Corinthians 14:12, “Strive to excel in building up the church.” Warren, as I know my own heart, I don’t think my work has been motivated by a desire to show that I’m a great scholar, but rather a desire to excel in building up the church, I Corinthians 14:12. Again and again the things I’ve written or the organizations I’ve been involved in have come about because I saw a need in the church as a whole that I thought I could try to meet.

The sixth verse Paul says in Acts 20:26-27, he’s speaking to the elders of the church at Ephesus. He says, “Therefore, I testify to you this day that I’m innocent of the blood of all, for I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God.” That verse has been powerfully effective in my life. I want to be able to say, at the end of my life, as the apostle Paul said, I didn’t shrink from declaring the whole counsel of God. I didn’t hold back from teaching faithfully everything the Bible says, even about topics that are unpopular or that will make people disagree with me or be mad at me. I want to be faithful to all of God’s word.

The seventh verse, “Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required.” Luke 12:48. The Lord has entrusted much to me. He’s entrusted me with many gifts, many opportunities and many wonderful friends. And now as I’m 70 years old, I’m looking back on my life. I don’t know how many years of the Lord has for me to continue to write and teach, but looking back on my life, I don’t know if the Lord will call me faithful on the last day or tell me I could’ve and should’ve done more for him and his kingdom.

And then the last verse, II Samuel 7:18, “The King David went in and sat before the Lord and said, who am I, oh Lord God, and what is my house that you have brought me thus far?” I often feel that way. Who am I, oh Lord, that you have brought me this far? Praise be to God. 

SMITH: Well, Wayne Grudem, that was obviously very emotional for you to share that, and it’s in part I think because you have had so many great opportunities. Is that fair to fair to say?

GRUDEM: You know, Warren, once I saw a survey, I think it was in the London Times, what are the greatest universities in the world? And number one was Harvard. Number two was Cambridge, according to that survey. And I thought the Lord has allowed me the privilege of going to both of them and continuing to believe every word of Scripture in spite of an academic atmosphere that didn’t always believe that or didn’t ever believe that while I was there. So I’m thankful to God and I’m just conscious of the stewardship obligation that comes with those opportunities. And I sincerely want to be faithful. I hope I have been faithful, but I wait till the last day and the Lord will make it known.

SMITH: Wayne Grudem, I want to transition in our conversations a bit to talk about Donald Trump because if I’m not mistaken, the last time you and I were together face to face was in 2016 in Trump Tower, meeting with Donald Trump. He had called a group of evangelicals together to I think ostensibly to be — or rather he lured us there with the notion that he was going to listen to us. They did a lot of talking that day. I’m not sure how much listening they did, but some. And now that we’re two years farther along, the midterm election immediately behind us, two years of the Trump presidency as a record on which to judge, what are your thoughts about this president, a president that you supported during that campaign?

GRUDEM: Yes, supported with qualifications because I was concerned about his apparent marital unfaithfulness. But, Warren, you and I have talked. I wrote a book called Politics According to the Bible that was published in 2010 before I even had any idea that Donald Trump would have any role at all in the 2016 election. And in thatPolitics According to the Bible book, I dealt with about 60 political issues and I did support Trump in the end, not first choice, second choice, not third choice, but because he was the Republican nominee and his policies seemed more consistent with biblical values than Hillary Clinton’s.

Now we are two years into the Trump presidency and I find that on issue after issue, the actions he has taken have been consistent with the positions I argued for in Politics According to the Bible. I started to make a list of how many things he’s done that I’m so happy about and so pleased that he is following biblical teachings on how government should function, at least in my understanding. Truly helping the poor: well, the tax cuts have led to jobs and the unemployment rate for people without high school education and for African Americans and for Hispanic Americans, they have jobs, more jobs than have ever been or ever been the case. And helping the poor with jobs is truly helping the poor. Protecting the unborn with a number of policies. The Mexico City policy, for instance, in terms of no government funding going to countries that approve abortion. Appointing judges who will interpret and apply the laws, not make new laws. Securing the border, which I think is a biblical value, and I did write an article in about that. Protecting freedom of religion and conscience — 

SMITH: Wayne, let me interrupt that list just for a minute because, first of all, let’s stipulate for the record that there had been many, many accomplishments. I guess I would want to gently push back on any list—that list or any other list—by asking two questions. One is, are these not accomplishments that might have come to pass with any Republican president? And number two, there’s been a cost to having this particular Republican president, in terms of the coarseness of civil discourse and the erosion of the Republican and the conservative brand. Do either of those concerns factor into your thinking in this?

GRUDEM: Well, Warren, I asked a friend the other day if Mike Pence, our vice president, had been president for these last two years and had done the things that Trump has done, what would you think of his presidency? Well, he’d think it’s the greatest presidency for years, for generations. So if we look at his actions, I think that I, as a Christian and conservative, can be very thankful for Donald Trump’s presidency. And I voted for him. I’m glad I voted for him. I’m glad he’s president. Do I regret that he calls people names sometimes? Yes, but I put that in a minor category compared to the policies of defeating Islamic State and befriending Israel and defeating Islamic terrorists and protecting the environment, using the environment wisely, strengthening the military. Many other things I could go on and on this list. Now, we could say, well, wouldn’t it be so if there were any other Republican president? Sure, but we don’t have another Republican president. We have this one.

SMITH: Well, what about the potential, does it concern you that there might be such a backlash to this president, that all of the good that you’ve itemized will become not only undone but will be prevented from ever, or at least for many years, being reinstituted because folks are just going to say, there’s no way I’m ever going to vote for a conservative or Republican again?

GRUDEM: Well, Warren, there’s always a possibility. We can speculate on what might happen in the future. I understand that. The question is we have a president who is instituting policies that I agree with. Is he perfect? No. Does he have flaws? Yes. The erosion of civility in discourse, I mean, that was Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton who said if they go low, we go low, or we kick them or encouraging — I mean it’s Democrats, and not Republicans, who are shouting and driving Ted Cruz out of a restaurant and driving Mitch McConnell out of a restaurant, driving the Secretary of Homeland Security out of a restaurant. It’s the far left liberals who are shouting outside Tucker Carlson’s house and trying to break down his door and terrifying his wife so she has to call the police. Conservatives aren’t doing that on the political spectrum. And it worries me that there is from the left, a threat to erosion of freedom of speech as well as freedom of religion as we see in the Masterpiece Cake Shop and other similar related threats where the Republicans aren’t saying to the other side, you shouldn’t have the opportunity to say what you think and express your views.

But the liberals are saying to the conservatives, we don’t think you have a right even to express your thought. Well, that’s destroying one of the fundamental protections we have: freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, freedom of religion that are essential to our country. That worries me.

SMITH: So given all of that, what would be wrong with saying we will support the president when we can and criticize him when we must—this president or any other president?

GRUDEM: Of course, I don’t have any problem with that. But, Warren, I think if your team wins the Super Bowl and all you talk about the next day is the interceptions that your quarterback threw—he threw three of them but still won—is that the right thing to do? And I think there’s a tendency among Republicans to focus on the negatives so incessantly that they forget the hundreds of really good things, pro-life, pro-religious freedom, pro-Christian values that have been done by this administration. So I come back to this: I’m thankful Trump as president. I’m thankful that I voted for him. Is he perfect? No. Do I think he has flaws? Yes, but I’m not going to focus on those. I’m kind of struggling with what to say here because evaluating Donald Trump as president is complicated. It is not a simple question and people have different judgments and my good friends have different judgments from me. I think we should be able to talk with each other and reason with each other. For some reason, he is the president that God has given us. There is no authority except from God. I do not thinkGod has given us Trump as a judgment. I think he’s given us Trump as, in large measure, a blessing to the country, but he has flaws and we have to recognize those and I don’t mean to minimize them.

SMITH: Wayne Grudem, when we spoke in your home in Scottsdale a few years ago, it was just days or maybe just a few weeks after you had made a public announcement that you had Parkinson’s disease. You look great to me today. Very healthy. How are you doing?

GRUDEM: Have you had your glasses checked lately? Thank you, Warren. I feel well. I have Parkinson’s disease, I’m on some medication. It’s not the strongest medication, not dopamine. It’s milder. It’s been helpful. I’m trying to exercise regularly—many, many days a week, which apparently is a big help. And my doctor says every patient is different with Parkinson’s, but as far as I’m concerned, she said it’s progressing very slowly. In some people progresses slowly and with me, it’s progressing apparently very slowly for which I’m thankful. And, Warren, here at the ETS meeting—Evangelical Theological Society meeting—as well as other places where I go, people come up to me and say, we pray for you regularly, and so there are thousands of people who are praying that God will restrain the Parkinson’s and give me strength to continue to teach and write for another several years. And so I’m thankful for that.

In terms of symptoms, I have a tremor that comes and goes into my left hand. I have to be careful to articulate my words lest I slur them and handwriting is a little more difficult than it used to be—taking notes with a pen. But those are minor inconveniences. Those are not major disabilities and that’s about the extent of the symptoms. And so I’m thankful to God for that.

SMITH: Wayne Grudem, thanks for being on the program.

GRUDEM: Thank you, Warren. Good to be with you.


WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

Like this story?

To hear a lot more like it, subscribe to The World and Everything in It via iTunes, Overcast, Stitcher, or Pocket Casts.







Pocket Casts

(Requires a fee)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.