The infamy of Evangelical politics

Evangelicals should be ashamed of themselves. That is the theme of national newspaper articles, Christianity Today blog posts or most of the major evangelical think tanks like the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention (ERLC) and The Gospel Coalition (TGC). Well, not all evangelicals should be ashamed. The infamy is reserved for conservative evangelicals. And it is further restricted to conservative evangelicals who actually vote their beliefs. In other words, only Christians who vote Republican are under condemnation from major media and elite religious institutions.

It is clear to see that some “evangelical” Christians prefer the world over their brothers. This was printed in the Washington Post and attributed to a Fuller Theological Seminary student, “Reports that 80 percent of  white evangelicals voted for [Trump], that’s an offensive statistic for me and something I feel obligated to apologize for. I don’t want to be connected to that.” (Link)

To whom does this student feel an obligation to apologize? The sad answer is the World. The sinful, unregenerate world.

He feels no obligation to understand nor defend his brothers-in-Christ. Instead, he feels obligated to virtue signal to the world by speaking against his brothers who hold different political opinions than the lost. This is unfortunate.

The Apostles commanded Christians to exhibit a special love and respect to one another. “Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honor preferring one another,” (Romans 12:10). C.E.B. Cranfield explained the word Philadelphia used in this verse, “The word-group, φιλοστοργεῖν, φιλοστοργία, φιλόστοργος, though represented only here in the NT, was in quite frequent use both in earlier and in contemporary Greek, to denote tender affection, particularly family affection.”[1]

The second part of the verse, “in honor preferring one another,” is important too. Cranfield explained the context of this instruction flows out of the “theological ethics” taught in the chapter, particularly, Romans 12:1-2: “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”

Don’t be conformed to the world. That seems like good advice for Christians.

However, there appears to be a trend where evangelical elites embrace the ideas and values of the Coastal Ruling Class and besmirch the beliefs of their brothers in Red States. A disturbing example comes from Christianity Today blog post where conservative Christian voters were called many names including: “a ‘fringe’ evangelical who ‘sold your soul,’ ‘changed your view of ethics,’ and worked for the destruction (not ‘salvation’) of Evangelicalism.” (See Dr. Gagnon’s excellent analysis of this slander directed at Christian conservatives.)

But why do Christians feel entitled to attack other Christians?

Shouldn’t politics be an area of reasonable disagreement not ad hominem among brothers?

Chrysostom explained in his Homilies on Romans, “You should love one another because you are brothers and have been born from the same spiritual womb.”[2]

Unfortunately, a deep divide has erupted within evangelicalism. Too often our elites, seminaries and publications embrace a progressive political view and in turn attack conservative Red State Christians for being on the “wrong side of Jesus.” Such rhetoric is disgusting, unchristian and ultimately harmful to the Gospel.

Conservative Christians, it is time to stop supporting these progressive thinkers and form our own, truly evangelical and conservative institutions.

[1] Cranfield, C. E. B. (2004). A critical and exegetical commentary on the Epistle to the Romans (p. 632). London; New York: T&T Clark International.

[2] Bray, G. (Ed.). (1998). Romans (Revised) (p. 304). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.