A Sad Chapter in the History of Evangelicalism in America

In a recent post on Facebook and Twitter I mentioned that this chapter in the history of evangelicalism in American will not be pretty. Here’s a preview of how that chapter will likely be written in years to come:
  • In January of 2016, Jerry Falwell, Jr. endorses Trump and promises to deliver Evangelicals for him in January in exchange for Trump’s lawyer helping cover up the issue with the “pool boy.” https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-politics-falwell-exclusive/exclusive-trump-fixer-cohen-says-he-helped-falwell-handle-racy-photos-idUSKCN1SD2JG
  • More details of this ^ have come out today in this story (which I am frankly ashamed even to share the link to). https://www.reuters.com/investigates/special-report/usa-falwell-relationship/
  • In June of 2016, Falwell introduces Trump to a group of 1,000 Evangelical/Conservative leaders. Read the story about the event now (especially Falwell’s comments) in light of what we have learned about the basis of this endorsement. https://time.com/4375975/donald-trump-evangelical-conservative-leaders-meeting/
  • Trump, of course, goes on to win the nomination and eventually the presidency buoyed by the Evangelical vote.
  • Trump continues to receive cover from same Evangelical leaders amidst all manner of corruption and failures in leadership (while occasionally throwing bones to Evangelicals for their continued support).
  • Trump is endorsed and supported by Evangelical leaders for a second term with some leaders saying things like you aren’t a true Christian if you don’t vote for Trump or all true Christians will vote for Trump.
  • Pastors who don’t wholeheartedly endorse Trump or allow for the Christian conscience to be shaped differently in the upcoming election are accused of being Marxists, socialists, liberals, lack courage (BTW, you’re crazy if you don’t think this takes courage to say. BTW2, this is what many African-American Christians have dealt with for decades and it is pathetic that they have been treated as sub-par Christians by the wider white evangelical world because many of them vote differently for what should be completely understandable reasons.).
This isn’t about politics for me. I am non-partisan and a registered Independent. I love and minister to both Republicans and Democrats and have dear friends in each group. But I am devastated for the witness of Christ’s church. The watching world sees and understands all of the above while many in the church remain blind to it. I am not trying to provide cover for Biden or the Democratic party. There are major problems with them also from a Christian perspective. But contrary to popular opinion, most Christians are not being tempted to endorse Biden as the only Christian choice. That is being said about Trump. My job as a Christian pastor is to courageously tell the church what they need to hear. The Prophet Isaiah was told by God to “Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins.” (Isaiah 58:1). Peter said, “For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God:” (1 Peter 4:17). God have mercy on us for being so easily played!
I truly respect those who are moved by their consciences informed by Scripture to vote for the Republican nominee because they genuinely believe his policies are best for America, especially those who sincerely have the goal of protecting the lives of the unborn. But I also respect those who see the immense moral problems with this President and choose to vote a different way. And I respect those who don’t believe the presidency has much impact on the issue of abortion anyway, but has tremendous impact in other areas that impact people’s lives everyday and they are compelled by their Christian conviction to vote differently.
Please don’t tell me that you can read the above history and not at least admit that this upcoming presidential election is complicated for Christians. (Factor in the way that race has been used in politics and it becomes exponentially more complicated. Ignorance may be bliss, but it is certainly not blessed in this case.)
Please don’t tell me (or others) that I’m not a faithful pastor for not telling people they must vote for a particular candidate in this election. I believe that I am actually being a faithful pastor by preaching God’s Word verse-by-verse and helping people to think from a biblical worldview, not by legalistically binding their conscience.
Please don’t tell me (or others) that all true Christians will vote for a particular candidate.
Please don’t tell me (or others) that courage is only standing for what your crowd wants you to say. Trust me, “my crowd,” doesn’t want to hear this. It takes courage everytime I post about politics in a non-partisan way and certainly whenever I post about race. Everytime there is backlash, which is deeply disturbing because of what it reveals about the idols of the hearts of some. I am deeply grieved, sad, disappointed, angry, and, honestly, sick to my stomach over this.
Wake up, “sheeple” (I hate using that term pejoratively because it is a beautiful description of God’s people, but since others use it and it actually applies in this situation in the way that it is now used in the vernacular, I will use it this one time.)! You’re being played. Don’t blindly follow any political party and don’t blindly demonize any political party. Don’t allow your conscience to be shaped more by CNN, FOXNEWS, MSNBC, OAN, or talk radio than by Scripture.
Vote according to your consciences guided by Scripture, but don’t think that there is one Christian candidate or one Christian way to vote.
There are two major political parties in this nation, each with deep problems from a Christian worldview. There are certain areas where both parties reflect Christian values and certain areas where they don’t. There are good people (still!) in both parties that are working for change within and without. Think as a Christian and make the best choice you can according to your conscience.
In the words of Martin Luther, “Here I stand; I can do no other. God help me.” Kyrie eleison.

4 comments

  1. I didn’t know about most of the “stuff” you posted in this article. As a Christian, thinking, adult, I don’t believe J JR., “delivered” more than a handful of votes for Trump.

    Yes, I voted for Trump but only because he was the least worse choice on the final day. The same is true this time around. J Jr. has nothing to do with my vote. I’m much more concerned that a lawyer for the FBI would rewrite a text message from the CIA. Then the lawyer sent the fraudulent email to a secret Federal Court, as positive honest, proof of the need to investigate the current President. I could only find one national TV Evening news program who mentioned it when this FBI lawyer plead guilty to this fraud. The one report lasted 26 seconds!

    Last time, I was a “never Trumper.” I had 23 possible candidates ahead of him. This time is different. For anyone who is paying attention, witnessed the attempted coup of the current President, and it was put into motion by the former President and Vice President!

    I’m sorry J Jr is too much like Solomon (brilliant but incredibly flawed). He also followed in his father’s footsteps but he too, apparently, became blinded by the lights. It’s a sad chapter, but the J Jr book isn’t finished. I hope not. I believe in Salvation, Redemption, and Regeneration! I hope you do too.

    But don’t let your disdain for J Jr to confuse you in the ballot box. If you knew as much about most of our founding fathers as you think you know about our current selection of candidates, you might have gone back to King George. But if you know about King George or King James, for that matter, you would realize no one is worthy of our praise. Except for Jesus.

    The rest of us are utterly unworthy followers, who have been granted Amazing Grace.

    Pass it on!

  2. In this article, you state, “There are certain areas where both parties reflect Christian values.” Can you name just two Christian value from the Democrats?

    1. Concern for poor. Emphasis on equal treatment for people of color. You can disagree about methodology or whether Republicans do also, but for many Christian Democrats they are compelled from biblical teaching to have concern for these things.

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