Christian leaders remained bitterly divided over the sex assault accusations surrounding Judge Brett Kavanaugh, as President Donald Trump ordered a weeklong FBI investigation on Saturday.
"I've ordered the FBI to conduct a supplemental investigation to update Judge Kavanaugh's file," Trump said in a statement on Saturday. "As the Senate has requested, this update must be limited in scope and completed in less than one week."
The Senate Judiciary Committee heard on Thursday both from California professor Christine Blasey Ford, who accuses Kavanaugh of attempting to rape her at a house gathering back in 1982, as well as from the Supreme Court nominee, who insisted on his innocence.
Trump's order of an FBI investigation came after Arizona Senator Jeff Flake voted along party lines on Friday to advance Kavanaugh's nomination to the Senate floor, but only if a weeklong investigation was promised.
With both Ford and Kavanaugh delivering emotional testimonies, each vowing with 100 percent certainty that they are telling the truth, Christians, and much of the rest of America, have been divided as to who and what to believe.
Here are five reactions from prominent Christian leaders and organizations.
1. Robert Jeffress
Robert Jeffress, pastor of the First Baptist megachurch in Dallas, Texas, said that he has never seen conservative Christians "as angry as they are right now over this debacle."
"Look, they realize now, conservative Christians, that the left is willing to do whatever it takes to cram their liberal agenda down the throats of Americans including destroying the foundation of our legal system, the presumption of innocence. And make no mistake about it, the reason the left hates Kavanaugh is not because of his judicial philosophy," Jeffress said in an appearance on Fox News on Sunday.
"It's not because of what he may or may not have done to Dr. Ford. The Democrats don't care one thing about Dr. Ford. They are afraid that if he is confirmed as a Supreme Court justice, he may chip away at Roe v. Wade and diminish the number of babies being murdered every year in the womb through abortion. Conservative Christians see this," the Texas preacher added.
"They know this is not a battle between Republicans and Democrats, it's a battle between good and evil, between the kingdom of light and the kingdom of darkness, and that's why they're going to turn out in the 2018 midterms."
America magazine, published by the U.S. Jesuits, said in an editorial following Thursday's hearings that it is time for the Kavanaugh nomination to be withdrawn.
"Evaluating the credibility of these competing accounts is a question about which people of good will can and do disagree. The editors of this review have no special insight into who is telling the truth. If Dr. Blasey's allegation is true, the assault and Judge Kavanaugh's denial of it mean that he should not be seated on the U.S. Supreme Court," the magazine's editors wrote.
"But even if the credibility of the allegation has not been established beyond a reasonable doubt and even if further investigation is warranted to determine its validity or clear Judge Kavanaugh's name, we recognize that this nomination is no longer in the best interests of the country," they argued.
"While we previously endorsed the nomination of Judge Kavanaugh on the basis of his legal credentials and his reputation as a committed textualist, it is now clear that the nomination should be withdrawn."
The America editors clarified that "far more stringent standards of proof" would be needed if Kavanaugh's legal or moral responsibility in the alleged assault was being questioned.
They said that the nomination, however, has become not just a fight over policy issues, but also a "referendum on how to address allegations of sexual assault."
David and Jason Benham, the twin conservative Christian brothers who have authored books and led pro-life campaigns, warned that Christians are in danger of "falling prey to the spirit of the age."
"We've not said a lot about the Kavanaugh confirmation to date, as we've waited to hear all sides. One thing is for sure in the midst of this whole thing...the spirit behind 'exposing' his past (or anyone else's, for that matter) is simply for the purpose of destruction, not restoration," the brothers wrote on Facebook on Friday.
"As Christians, we CANNOT fall prey to the spirit of the age. Anytime sin is exposed (in this case it's an accusation) we are called by God to seek restoration - to provide a redemptive way forward by breaking sinful patterns in someone's life, not to destroy them and leave them bloody in a ditch. What we are watching from the radical left is detestable. It wreaks only of destruction and doesn't have a sniff of restorative redemption. This is where believers must stand up and speak. (How many of us are thankful for God's redemptive work in our own lives!)," they added.
The Benhams claimed that there is "an agenda from the radical left to remove God's word and His standards from every vestige of society."
They said that the Bible teaches people not to be drunk, to treat women honorably and purely, and to shun bad company.
"All three of these are ignored in so many contexts today because they are supposedly 'bigoted' standards of an 'oppressive' religion. Yet when the left's political purposes can be served they'll demand these same standards be upheld by those they are targeting," they wrote.
"At the end of the day, whether he is confirmed or not (God knows), what we watched yesterday was a historic defense of a man who represents and stewards many of the ideals this country was built upon. The left-wing machine saw him as hurdle toward their 'progress' of totalitarian secularism - so they sought to destroy him... as a husband, as a father, and as a man. His speech was a stinging rebuke to that machine," the brothers added.
"When he said his daughters prayed for Dr. Ford before bed we were touched in our hearts. What a picture of God's grace — and child training — in the midst of a left-wing feeding frenzy on his life!"
4. Jim Wallis, Jenna Barnett
Jim Wallis, president and founder of Christian social justice organization Sojourners, along with Jenna Barnett, Women and Girls Campaign coordinator, said that many victims can identify with Ford's account.
"On Thursday Dr. Christine Blasey Ford recounted her experience of sexual assault before a committee comprising mostly older white men. Women and other victims of abuse held their collective breath. The details were familiar. The resulting trauma — anxiety, fear of flying, claustrophobia — resonated. Survivors listened — and they recalled their worst experiences," Wallis and Barnett wrote on Thursday following the hearing.
"How will the church step up? We all want our churches to be a safe space for survivors to be heard and to heal. But a recent survey shows us that while 90 percent of pastors encounter domestic and sexual violence through their work, only 50 percent believe they have sufficient training to address it. We want to change that," they added.
While they did not directly offer an opinion on whether Kavanaugh should be confirmed, they insisted that every pastor "should be equipped to address domestic and sexual violence in their ministry."
"People of faith and pastors need to step up to let survivors in their communities know they are heard, they are believed, and they are supported."
5. Franklin Graham
Franklin Graham, CEO and president of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, centered his criticism on the way Thursday's hearing went.
"Yesterday's hearing was an embarrassment. It was definitely not one of America's better days. Let's pray that our country will do better than this. Judge Brett Kavanaugh said this has ruined his reputation and devastated his family," Graham posted on Facebook on Friday.
"Unfortunately, I'm afraid that is exactly what the minority leadership wanted to do. That's just a shame. The Bible says, 'A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches...' (Proverbs 22:1).
"Pray today for the Kavanaughs, Dr. Ford, and members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, that this process will come to a conclusion soon."