Christianity Today, the evangelical magazine founded by the late Rev. Billy Graham triggered a national furore in the United States after it published an editorial calling for President Donald Trump's removal,
It described him as "a near perfect example of a human being who is morally lost and confused" and the editorial was also reported globally due to support Trump draws from evangelicals.
Exit polls in 2016 suggested that 80 percent of white evangelicals voted for Trump, The Washington Post reported.
A NPR-PBS NewsHour-Marist poll from earlier in December found 75 percent of white evangelical Christians approved of Trump, compared with 42 percent of U.S. adults overall.
The call by the magazine was carried in the national secular media and television channels, adding to the debate on the impeachment of the U.S. president in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Both the Post and The New York Times described the call as "surprising."
The latest edition of the CT magazine ran the headline, "Trump Should Be Removed from Office," with the strap, "It's time to say what we said 20 years ago when a president's character was revealed for what it was."
CT editor in chif Mark Galli wrote in the editorial, "Whether Mr. Trump should be removed from office by the Senate or by popular vote next election—that is a matter of prudential judgment.
"That he should be removed, we believe, is not a matter of partisan loyalties but loyalty to the Creator of the Ten Commandments."
Galli, who will retire from the magazine Jan. 3, wrote that the facts leading to Dec. 18's impeachment of Trump are unambiguous.
"The typical CT approach is to stay above the fray and allow Christians with different political convictions to make their arguments in the public square, to encourage all to pursue justice according to their convictions and treat their political opposition as charitably as possible," said the piece.
"We want CT to be a place that welcomes Christians from across the political spectrum and reminds everyone that politics is not the end and purpose of our being. We take pride in the fact, for instance, that politics does not dominate our homepage."
On Dec. 18, President Trump became the third president in U.S. history to be impeached.
"The president of the United States attempted to use his political power to coerce a foreign leader to harass and discredit one of the president's political opponents," Galli wrote. "That is not only a violation of the Constitution; more importantly, it is profoundly immoral."
The Post noted that the editorial didn't just call out Trump. It called out his devout Christian supporters.
A suggestion about a deceased war veteran and Democrat speaking from hell by the president, outraged some faith leaders, but his evangelical advisers are still defending him.
'REMEMBER WHO YOU ARE'
"To the many evangelicals who continue to support Mr. Trump in spite of his blackened moral record, we might say this: Remember who you are and whom you serve," Galli wrote. "Consider how your justification of Mr. Trump influences your witness to your Lord and Savior."
Trump tweeted from @realDonaldTrump, "A far left magazine, or very 'progressive,' as some would call it, which has been doing poorly and hasn't been involved with the Billy Graham family for many years, Christianity Today, knows nothing about reading a perfect transcript of a routine phone call and would rather....."
In another tweet Trump said, "No President has done more for the Evangelical community, and it's not even close. You'll not get anything from those Dems on stage. I won't be reading ET again!"
Galli said to the Post, "I was hoping I wouldn't have to do another editorial like this. I hate doing editorials like this," he said. "People are going to say mean, nasty things and say how much they hate me or hate the magazine, and I don't like that."
The editorial said evangelicals are playing with a "stacked deck of gross immorality and ethical incompetence," and predicted that "the whole game will come crashing down" if they continue to ignore what Galli described as Trump's moral failings.
"It will crash down on the reputation of evangelical religion and on the world's understanding of the gospel," he wrote. "And it will come crashing down on a nation of men and women whose welfare is also our concern."
Christianity Today magazine has published articles in the past that were critical of Trump, including a piece by former editor Andy Crouch just before the election. In July, the president of Christianity Today, Timothy Dalrymple, wrote an article calling out the silence among Christians in relation to Trump and racism.
"On the other hand, I sense a profound frustration among non-white Christian friends that their white brethren keep silent as the president aims ugly and demeaning statements at people of color," Dalrymple wrote. "These friends don't like what the silence of the white church is saying, and neither do we."
CT magazine is, however, not united about Galli's call to remove Trump, The New York Times reported. A member of Christianity Today's board of directors, the Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, released a 17-paragraph statement opposing impeachment after the House vote on Wednesday. The editorial, he said in an interview on Dec. 19, came as a surprise.