Russell T. Vought is President Trump’s nominee to be assistant budget director.
In a Senate Budget Committee meeting Wednesday, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders aimed a hostile line of questioning at Deputy Director of the White House Office of Management and Budget nominee Russell Vought.
Vought, a graduate of Wheaton College, wrote a defense of the school last year for The Resurgent after many attacked the school for its discipline of a professor who said that Christians and Muslims worship the same God. In the piece, he wrote, “Muslims do not simply have a deficient theology. They do not know God because they have rejected Jesus Christ, his Son, and they stand condemned.” ChristianHeadlines
Senator Sanders Grills Nominee
“I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man comes to the Father but by me.”
It was Christ who spoke to those who rejected him saying that they do not know the Father. Senator Sanders, responding to Vought’s article and argument said that it was “indefensible. It is hateful. It is Islamaphobic. And it is an insult to over a billion Muslims throughout the world.”
Vought in response to Senator Sanders said, “I’m a Christian and I believe in a Christian set of principles.”
He defended his post by explaining that it was his effort as a Christian to identify with the Christian beliefs of his alma mater, but Senator Sanders kept coming back again and again and again. At what point he asked Vought,
“Do you believe that people in the Muslim religion stand condemned?”
Vought answered, “Again, Senator, I’m a Christian, and I wrote that piece…”
The Senator interjected, “I understand that. I don’t know how many Muslims there are in America. … Are you suggesting that all of those people stand condemned? What about Jews? They stand condemned too?”
Vought again began to explain where his convictions are grounded in historic Christianity when the Senator simply said, “I understand that you are a Christian!”
Actually, it would be an understatement to say that the Senator merely raised his voice. As the Huffington Post reported, he shouted. The Senator said,
“There are other people of different religions in this country and around the world. In your judgment, do you think that people who are not Christians are going to be condemned?”…
Senator Sanders concluded his remarks, quite agitated remarks, yesterday by saying that Vought “is not someone who is what this country is supposed to be about.” AlbertMohler
Alternatives Of What Is Going On
Now let’s look at this and ask ourselves what the alternatives are here. Well there’s one alternative that comes down to the fact that Senator Bernie Sanders, an agnostic individual of Jewish background, really doesn’t have much of an idea of what biblical Christianity is and might be actually absolutely shocked to find out that orthodox Christianity holds to the exclusivity of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Furthermore, thinking along the lines of this alternative, it might be that Senator Sanders knows very, very little about Jesus Christ and would have absolutely no knowledge of the fact that Christ himself claimed that very exclusivity.
There’s another alternative, and that is that Senator Sanders was basically not so much theologically offended as he was seizing a political opportunity. It’s a bit odd to say the very least that here you have an agnostic Senator from Vermont who all of a sudden shows up with an article that was published on a website defending Wheaton College in a controversy from back in 2016. I don’t think that this is a website that Senator Sanders frequents or was likely merely to have come across. We’re talking about the fact that someone on his staff no doubt set him up in order to have this exchange with Russell Vought.
But the important thing for us to recognize is that regardless of those alternatives, here you had Bernie Sanders directly addressing the exclusivity of the Gospel and rejecting it, but not just rejecting a very clear theological teaching that is essential in central to historic Christianity, but going on to reject a candidate—that is to say a nominee for a presidentially appointed position—simply on the basis of the fact that he had the temerity to write an article defending his alma mater and in so doing to defend that historic Christian doctrine. According to Senator Bernie Sanders, that kind of belief is simply out of bounds. Again to quote the senator, he said anyone who holds those beliefs “is really not someone who is what this country is supposed to be about.” AlbertMohler
Russell Moore, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention
In response to Sanders, Moore said:
“Senator Sanders’ comments are breathtakingly audacious and shockingly ignorant—both of the Constitution and of basic Christian doctrine. Even if one were to excuse Senator Sanders for not realizing that all Christians of every age have insisted that faith in Jesus Christ is the only pathway to salvation, it is inconceivable that Senator Sanders would cite religious beliefs as disqualifying an individual for public office in defiance of the United States Constitution. No religious test shall ever be required of those seeking public office. While no one expects Senator Sanders to be a theologian, we should expect far more from an elected official who has taken an oath to support and defend the Constitution.” erlc