Jamie Dean – Witnessing to the next Pete Buttigieg

MARY REICHARD, HOST: Today is Thursday, March 5th. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Mary Reichard.

NICK EICHER, HOST: And I’m Nick Eicher. Not long ago there was a dizzying number of Democrats running for president. A whopping 24 candidates have dropped out of the race, leaving just four. 

One of those recently departed candidates made an impression on WORLD National Editor Jamie Dean. She has some thoughts.

JAMIE DEAN, COMMENTATOR: It’s been a big week in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination. After Joe Biden’s string of victories, other contenders started dropping out. One of those was Pete Buttigieg, the 38-year-old former mayor of South Bend, Indiana.

Buttigieg rose from political obscurity less than a year ago to win the Iowa caucuses a few weeks ago. 

His appeal is understandable: Buttigieg is smart, calm, and articulate. He also gained attention for becoming the first openly gay presidential candidate to raise big money and win big contests. 

It was notable that the first openly gay frontrunner was also the most openly religious. Buttigieg often discussed his ideas about Christianity. Those ideas apparently began forming as he studied at Oxford University. Back in South Bend, he started attending the Cathedral of St. James. 

Buttigieg had not publicly announced he was gay, but he had found a church that did not teach homosexuality is unbiblical. He settled into a pew and embraced the false doctrine that the Scriptures are inconsistent internally and—quote—“you’ve got to decide what sense to make of it.”

So if Buttigieg is out of the race, why am I still thinking about this?

I think it’s because I can’t help but wonder what might have happened if Buttigieg had encountered a different kind of church. One that welcomed him with kindness, but also taught him the truth with sincerity and love. 

I’ve wondered the same thing about Hillary Clinton. During the 2016 presidential race, I learned more about her religious background and discovered she grew up in the United Methodist Church. She was very active in a traditional congregation.

But the church had hired a youth pastor who heavily influenced Clinton’s thinking. Don Jones introduced the youth group to the civil rights movement, but also to existentialist philosophy and radical thinkers like Saul Alinsky. Jones gave the teenaged Clinton a subscription to Motive—a now-defunct publication that ran a mock obituary of God. He remained a spiritual adviser to Clinton for decades. 

What if the formative pastoral influence on Clinton’s thinking had been a Biblically orthodox minister who taught her about the importance of serving others—but also about the inerrancy of Scripture and the centrality of repentance and faith in Christ?

We know God is sovereign, and we don’t have to get hung up on what ifs. His plans are unfolding just as He ordained. 

But that shouldn’t stop us from considering: Might we have an impressionable Hillary Clinton or a searching Pete Buttigieg in our pews? Let’s assume that we do. And let’s pray God helps us to hold fast to Biblical truth in a world that finds it objectionable—for His glory and for the good of their souls.

And let’s do that with joy, too. We can hold out the gospel as a reflection of God’s goodness and an invitation into the life of Christ. In a world saturated with political squabbles and personal uncertainty, what could be better news? 

I’m Jamie Dean.

(AP Photo/Matt Rourke) In this Feb. 24, 2020 file photo, Democratic presidential candidate former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg speaks during a campaign event in North Charleston, S.C. 

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.

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