As Donald Trump apparently continues down the road to the Republican nomination for president, one of the most troubling aspects I see with his campaign is the support he continues to garner from the evangelical community. How can they support a man who doesn’t appear to align with the values and beliefs they claim to hold dear?
Perhaps it’s as Inigo Montoya told Vizzini in the movie The Princess Bride after the Sicilian boss repeatedly used the word “inconceivable.” In other words, when it comes to those who repeatedly use the word “evangelical”…
Evangelical used to simply be another word for saying born-again Christian. However, in a Newsmax.com story on this apparent contradiction, we learn that evangelicals aren’t really all that evangelical after all; according to Stephen Prothero, religion professor at Boston College:
“Today, when born-again Christians hold up posters at rallies that read, ‘Thank you, Lord Jesus, for President Trump,’ when they say they are sick of false promises from supposedly pious presidents on abortion or gay marriage and just want a strong man in the White House who can stop illegal immigration or keep us safe or just ‘smash things,’ what are they saying? They are saying that their political identity has trumped their religious identity. They are saying that they are conservatives first and Christians second.”
Prothero’s words shouldn’t be considered all that controversial, considering that today’s so-called evangelicals increasingly support same-sex marriage and a woman’s right to choose to murder her unborn baby as long as it is done before the baby can feel the pain of having his body ripped apart.
On these few issues alone, it is clear that Professor Prothero is correct in his conclusion.
As I wrote in Cheap grace, Nazi Germany, and the future of America, much of the today’s evangelicalism is the result of a growing acceptance of what Dietrich Bonhoeffer called Cheap Grace; the belief that little is required by Christians after they are born-again:
“Cheap grace means the justification of sin without the justification of the sinner. Grace alone does everything they say, and so everything can remain as it was before. ‘All for sin could not atone.’ Well, then, let the Christian live like the rest of the world, let him model himself on the world’s standards in every sphere of life, and not presumptuously aspire to live a different life under grace from his old life under sin….
Cheap grace is the grace we bestow on ourselves. Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, Communion without confession…. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate.”
And as far as how this is affecting the current political climate, an article I wrote just after the same-sex marriage ruling, Jesus never taught tolerance, quotes Charles G. Finney as he puts the blame squarely where it belongs:
If immorality prevails in the land, the fault is ours in a great degree.
If there is a decay of conscience, the pulpit is responsible for it.
If the public press lacks moral discrimination, the pulpit is responsible for it.
If the church is degenerate and worldly, the pulpit is responsible for it.
If the world loses its interest in religion, the pulpit is responsible for it.
If Satan rules in our halls of legislation, the pulpit is responsible for it.
If our politics become so corrupt that the very foundations of our government are ready to fall away, the pulpit is responsible for it.
Let us not ignore this fact, my dear brethren; but let us lay it to heart, and be thoroughly awake to our responsibility in respect to the morals of this nation.
It looks like today’s evangelicals have allowed their faith to be “Trumped” by their politics.
David Leach is the owner and publisher of The Strident Conservative, your source for news and opinion that’s politically-incorrect and always “right.”
His daily commentary is nationally syndicated via Salem Radio Network.