Katelyn Beaty, a former editor of the self-styled “evangelical” publication Christianity Today, wrote a summary of a meeting at Wheaton College in Illinois about whether their movement should distance themselves from the present (2018) leader of the Republican Party. They couldn’t figure it out.
Maybe they should read the Barmen Declaration. It asks the question of whether the church should be a tool of the state, and answers No. That declaration has survived the ruinous events of the 20th century, and will survive the present episode too.
The practice of Christianity in the USA (all of it, not just by those who claim the word evangelical as their own) has lost sight of the meaning of the words Jesus chose to read from the scroll of Isaiah. (Luke 4:17-19)
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.
This “good news” is translated from the word euangelion. That’s the root meaning of the word evangelical. It has nothing to do with gun rights or buildings or committees or hierarchies or political rallies. It’s about opposing the systemic bigotry that is 21st century Christianity in the US. The trouble with Jesus’s path? It leads to the cross on its way to glory. Who can blame te churches for wanting to take a shortcut to glory? The cross is nasty and humiliating.
Christianity today is all about defending glory–power, privilege, and money–against those who want some for themselves.
Who can blame the growing majority of people who see no point in it?