Christian leaders should understand the lesson of the Vietnam War & the decline of mainline churches
Christian philosopher and theologian Dr. William Lane Craig talked with Ben Shaprio on Shaprio’s weekly Sunday show. It was a great interview covering philosophy, theology, the life and resurrection of Jesus and contemporary American politics. The political view centered squarely on the issue of the decline of religion among Americans.
While this decline is not as pronounced (yet?) as it witnessed in Europe, it is worrisome to conservative thinkers like Shapiro. So, he asked Dr. Craig about the decline, and Dr. Craig provided an important answer. The American experience in the Vietnam War and the social-political division created a problem within America’s mainline churches.
Dr. Craig said people are leaving the “middle” and migrating to either evangelicalism or secularism as the moderate-type, old-line denominations “are collapsing.” Dr. Craig explains that people who don’t really believe in God, have concluded it isn’t worth getting up to pretend to worship God.
This decline left the Christian public influence on politics in decline, according to Dr. Craig. This is an excellent interview that spends more time on philosophy than politics. I highly recommend it for anyone interested in apologetics.
Theological liberalism & political liberalism appear to go together
An important point—theological liberalism and political liberalism tend to go together. The mainline churches embraced anti-war theology during the Vietnam Era, and it coincided with a mass exodus from these mainline churches. The anti-American, anti-war rhetoric was too much for patriotic Christians to stomach.
Researchers chronicle how the mainlines declined and conservative churches embracing the Religious Right grew, “Mainline Protestant denominations, however, did not fare as well. They went into decline, losing nearly one in six members between 1970 and 1985. In the same years, Evangelical churches grew by double-digit percentages. They welcomed Americans who had abandoned mainline denominations to protest the liberal views of clergy on many social issues, including the Vietnam War. These churches supported the religious right and its brand of conservative politics.”
The typical Christian instinctively knows that patriotism is not a sin. They sense a divine duty to their family, friends and fellow citizens. While our duty to Christ is highest, it does not eliminate our other earthly duties and obligations.
Christians in the US know that our liberty is a blessing from God. What God delivered in trust to us, should be, to the best of our abilities, preserved for our children. Most Southern Baptists believe this is through conservative policies and voting for conservative, pro-life politicians. The SBC Deep State should take heed. It must represent the views of the pew-sitting, average Southern Baptist or face the consequences.