Former Bush Aide Speaks About Our Call to Obedience Not Success

Tim Goeglein give the final lecture in the Presidential Lecture Series at The King's College. || Photo Credits: Brent Buterbaugh

Tim Goeglein give the final lecture in the Presidential Lecture Series at The King's College. || Photo Credits: Brent Buterbaugh


“A cloistered life is inherently antithetical to our calling as Christians” said King’s Senior Fellow, Tim Goeglein at the Presidential Lecture Series on Thursday.

Goeglein currently serves as the Vice President of External Relations at Focus on the Family, and previously served as the special assistant to President George W. Bush from 2001 until 2008 when it was revealed that he had plagiarized several opinion articles for his hometown newspaper. He’s since written a book about his experiences and failures entitled The Man in the Middle: An Inside Account of Faith and Politics in the George W. Bush Era.

Addressing the students of King’s, Goeglein quoted John 17, recalling Christ’s prayer that God would not take his followers out of the world, but that he would “keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.”

This verse is often reduced to the popular phrase, “In the world but not of it,” and Goeglein argued that it possesses great contemporary significance.

“We are a particular people,” he said, “Christians must be actively engaged in culture and politics because remaining apolitical and apathetic perpetuates the injustice of our world.”

Pointing to recent court cases and legislative hearings, Goeglein argued that “those who follow Jesus Christ are increasingly finding themselves out of step with their neighbors.”

The Senate hearing for judicial nominee Amy Coney Barrett appeared to resonate deeply with Goeglein because her fitness for the role was brought into question by mere virtue of her Christian faith. This indicates that “there are certain people who are very eager to get Christians to withdraw from culture.” Goeglein used this example to make the case that it’s very important, “to have the confidence as a Christian to stand in the public square and proclaim that faith and science can go together.” To do otherwise in his view, is to “negate the hope of Jesus Christ.”

It’s tempting—especially given the metrics by which the culture measures success and the ambitious goals of strategic impact put forth by The King’s College—to get caught up in the results that Christians are able to achieve. But Goeglein encouraged the student body and faculty concluding, “our role as Christians is not to be successful but to be obedient.”

Freshman Lydia Marlin (ten Boom) said that she thought that Goeglein’s assessment of the state of American Christianity was “optimistic and hopeful about the ways in which Christians can have an impact—yet he was also realistic about the ramifications of an anti-Christian culture.”

The event marked the conclusion of the Presidential Lecture series for the academic year and it will return for the fall semester.