Back in June, I wrote an article describing how today’s American religious leaders were equal to Nazi Germany religious leaders and how the cheap grace gospel they preach contributed to the rise of Donald Trump in 2016. Today, thanks to a new study conducted by George Barna’s Cultural Research Center of Arizona Christian University, we’re learning that cheap grace evangelicals are making immorality and socialism a part of their “Christian” faith.
I first identified the similarities that exist between American religious leaders and Nazi Germany religious leaders during the 2016 campaign. I reached this conclusion after reading the biography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer written by Eric Metaxas. In the forward written by Timothy J. Keller, we learn:
It’s impossible to understand . . . without becoming acquainted with the shocking capitulation of the German church to Hitler in the 1930s. How could the “church of Luther” . . . ever come to such a place? The answer is that the true gospel, summed up by Bonhoeffer as “costly grace,” had been lost. On the one hand, the church had become marked by formalism. That meant going to church and hearing that God just loves and forgives everyone, so it doesn’t really matter much how you live. Bonhoeffer called this “cheap grace.” On the other hand, there was legalism, or salvation by law and good works. Legalism meant that God loves you because you have pulled yourself together and are trying to live a good, disciplined life.
Both of these impulses made it possible for Hitler to come to power. (emphasis mine)
There’s little doubt in my mind that the spiritual condition of today’s evangelical church closely resembles the church of 1930s Germany. And immorality and socialism are the result.
The church in 1930s Germany was a house divided, with one side preaching an “anything goes” abuse of God’s grace, and the other side preaching that salvation was based on the law and good works. The adoption of these false gospels created the vacuum eventually filled by Adolf Hitler.
Church “leaders” on both sides may have seen things in Hitler that bothered them, but nothing that bothered them enough to risk losing their comfortable existence.
In 2016, the “cheap grace” evangelical leaders I refer to as the Fellowship of the Pharisees supported Donald Trump much like the 1930s church supported Hitler, and as a reward for the servitude, they have been given seats at Trump’s table where they fight for the crumbs of power he offers. The Fellowship often mentions there are things about Trump’s behavior and policies that bother them, but not bothered enough to risk losing their seat.
Unfortunately, the parallels continue in 2020. Even after seeing every warning about Trump’s unethical and immoral behavior come to pass, today’s false prophets continue to give him their unconditional support, destroying faith and America in the process.
Four years after sounding the warning to the cheap grace evangelical community, I’m sad to report that faith and America have indeed been destroyed.
The study released on Tuesday as part of the Cultural Research Center (CRC) of Arizona Christian University’s American Worldview Inventory 2020 survey shows just how far today’s evangelicals have fallen. In the words of George Barna:
The most startling realization regarding the theological reformation in progress is how many people from evangelical churches are adopting unbiblical beliefs. What makes that trend so significant is that evangelical churches, by definition, teach that the Bible is the authoritative word of God that teaches not only salvation by grace alone but also an array of life principles that are meant to drive one’s thoughts and actions.
Some of the unbiblical beliefs are: (emphasis mine)
- Evangelicals are embracing secularism: A majority (52%) of evangelicals reject absolute moral truth; 61% do not read the Bible on a daily basis; 75% believe that people are basically good. The study found that one-third to one-half of evangelicals in the survey embrace a variety of beliefs and behaviors counter to biblical teaching and longstanding Evangelical beliefs.
- Pentecostals and charismatics take secularization a step further: Two-thirds (69%) reject absolute moral truth; 54% are unwilling to define human life as sacred, with half claiming the Bible is ambiguous in its teaching about abortion; and 69% say they prefer socialism to capitalism. A full 45% did not qualify as born-again Christians.
- Mainline Protestants are the most secular of the four faith families: Sixty percent (60%) of mainline Protestants’ beliefs directly conflict with biblical teaching. Three key values define this group: truth and morality are relative; life has no inherent value or purpose, so individuals should pursue personal happiness or satisfaction; and traditional religious practices are no longer seen as central or essential to their Christian faith. Only 41% of mainline Protestants are born again.
- Catholics are increasingly secular and permissive: Catholics’ beliefs are surprisingly similar to those of mainline Protestants, but considerably different from that of evangelical and charismatic Protestants. They are most likely to believe in salvation through works or living a good life, and least likely (28%) to be born again. Today’s Catholics are more permissive than other groups, being most likely to accept sexual relations outside of marriage, lying, speeding, and refusal to repay a loan as morally acceptable behaviors.
Concerning Catholics, by the way, I wrote earlier this week about how Pope Francis is preaching Marxist ideology as a key tenet of Catholicism; spreading socialism as he attacks private property rights and calls for global wealth redistribution.
In Bonhoeffer’s day, Germany fell victim to the rise of the National Socialist German Workers Party (Nazi Party), losing their right to life and liberty. The cheap grace message of a passive church created the environment that made that possible.
In America today, we are also witnessing an increase in governmental policies and practices that embrace a form of socialism. And just as it was then, the church is largely responsible. And yet, cheap grace evangelicals proclaim that “true believers” will support Trump in the election to protect Christian values — even as the GOP promotes nationalism’s socialist ideology disguised as conservatism.
Catholics and Protestants of every stripe have replaced the Gospel of Jesus Christ for a cheap grace counterfeit — spreading socialism and immorality while systematically destroying faith . . . and as a result, America.
David Leach is the owner of the Strident Conservative. He holds people of every political stripe accountable for their failure to uphold conservative values, and he promotes those values instead of political parties.