Fraidy Cat Evangelicals

There is a Liberal strain of Evangelicalism that gets a lot of favorable coverage in Leftist Mass Media.   They are both political liberals and theological liberals.   The thing that makes them popular with Big Media is the way their spokespersons use credentials as “Christians” to bash American Christianity.   In particular, these are the liberal Evangelicals who are Democrats who oppose President Trump, and they oppose Christians who support President Trump.   So we are at the intersection of religion and politics and the culture war.   Lamestream media promote Leftist Christians as a way to drive a wedge between President Trump and his base.

I am writing to address one particular thing that gets said by liberal “Christians.”   I saw it recently on several Leftist blogs, where they were riffing on coverage of the release of a new book.   It did not generate much in the way of media coverage, primarily because Big Media was chasing Mueller investigation squirrels and Charlottesville anniversary racism squirrels.   However, I thought it worth addressing because we have seen it before and we will see it again.

Fear

The topic was “Fear.”   It was said that 81 percent of ‘Evangelical Voters’ had been motivated to vote for Donald Trump by fear.

Well, I agree, but, I strongly disagree with the things that were said.   Some of the things that were said are that the Evangelicals who support President Trump are “mean” “selfish” “racist;” you know, all the usual Leftist blather.   But stick with me and eventually I will get around to a theological point.

The book this time is Believe Me: The Evangelical Road to Donald Trump, by John Fea, who is a liberal Evangelical and a history professor.   Last month The Atlantic ran a long feature by Fea.   Near the top, the professor gets to spiritual issues:

Moses told the Israelites to “Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will work for you today.” The Hebrew God told Job: “At the destruction and famine you shall laugh, and shall not fear the beasts of the earth.” The Psalmist wrote: “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff they comfort me.”

The Gospel of John teaches Christians that “there is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.” St. Luke writes: “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”

Despite all these scriptural passages, it is still possible to write an entire history of American evangelicalism as the story of a people failing miserably at overcoming fear with hope, trust, and faith in their God. But it is also possible to find evangelicals, drawing deeply from Christian theological resources, who sought to forge an alternative history.

Fea then launches into a diatribe, reviewing historical points to trash American Evangelicals of the 17th, 18th, 19th and 20th centuries.   He grinds the ax of how American Evangelicals were fearful anti-intellectual xenophobic racists.   After too many words, he wrapped that up with remarks about racist fear of Obama, and homophobic opposition to SSM.   He pivots to current times with this:

After a recent lecture on Trump and his evangelical supporters, a woman approached me at the lectern and identified herself as an evangelical who voted for Trump. “I am part of the 81 percent,” she said, “but what choice did I have?” I have heard something similar many times from evangelicals who voted for Trump.

He gives a brief review of the Hillary campaign, and then brings out the big trope:

Ironically, some evangelicals have found a savior. They sought after Trump, he answered them, and he delivered them from all their fears.

But other evangelical options are available. Evangelicals are people of hope, not fear. The practice of Christian hope points us to a life beyond this world, but it also requires us to act in such a way that models God’s coming kingdom. The Kingdom of God is characterized by the love of enemies, the welcoming of strangers, the belief in the human dignity of all people, a humble and self-sacrificial posture toward public life, and a trust in the sovereign God of the universe. Fear is a natural human response to social change, but evangelicals betray their deepest spiritual convictions when they choose to dwell in it.

This is a conflation of fears.   Throughout this essay he does what we have seen so often before.   He is mixing up spiritual fear with worldly fear.

Spiritual fear is fear of eternity.   In death there are two directions for your soul to take.   Eternal rest with Jesus, or else eternity in the place that is without God.   Christians can look forward to eternity in the full confidence that the spiritual debt they owe has been paid in full because they have been adopted into the family of God.   There is hope in the blood of Jesus there, and no spiritual fear.

Worldly fear is the fear of bad outcomes in this life.   For most white American Christians this does not mean fear of bad guys in the neighborhood.   That may be a real fear for some, but, politically, that is a law-and-order, justice system issue.   There was a great deal of fearmongering over this issue, but little of the Trump vote in 2016 was manifested as votes for personal safety.

Rather, these votes were for a secure future for children and grandchildren.   The fear was that America would descend into chaos.   First, in rough neighborhoods in blue cities that foolishly degrade and impede their own police forces.   But, later, nationally, as our overextended economy collapses into a new Depression.   These are thoroughly worldly fears.   They are genuine fears, and they are not much related to spiritual matters.

Further to the worldly fears of Evangelical Voters, we feared that the Democrat Party will transform America in an ugly way that will dismantle our free exercise of our traditionalist Christian religion.   We remembered that Hillary said that traditionalist religion “will have to change.”   She was running to become the theologian in chief.

Evangelical Vote for a Sinner

We preferred to vote for a flawed man with the baggage of a past history of sexual sins.   He was pledging to preserve religious liberty.   Our concern was not for our salvation, but for the ability of our grandchildren to live openly as Christians.   They may be saved by the blood of Jesus, but they may find themselves enjoying their spiritual freedom from the confines of a gulag.

It is Democrats who have made Christian business owners in blue states into second-class citizens.   It is Democrats who have threatened Christian colleges and high schools with a loss of accreditation.   It is Democrats who have forced the promotion of sin and forced our children to celebrate sexual sin in public schools.   It is Democrats who have said that traditionalist Christians should not be allowed to hold public office.   It is Democrats who have demonized any personality who has publicly lobbied for limits on abortion.   It is Democrats who promote euthanasia.   It is Democrats who pressed federal meddling into state and local bathrooms.   It is Democrats who deny real data-based science about the climate.   It is Democrats who deny the science of embryology as they promote abortion.   It is Democrats who corrupted the social sciences and humanities with anti-Western and anti-Christian activism.

So, yes, we fear the Party of Death.   They are anti-police, anti-law, anti-justice, anti-religious, anti-Christian and anti-American.   They are the Party that booed God.

We did not elect Donald Trump because we see him as some kind of spiritual savior.   We elected Donald Trump to postpone the day when the Left triumphs and dismantles Western Civilization.   That will be a dark day for everyone, not just for Christians.   Our concerns that led us to vote for Donald Trump were temporal, not eternal.

But they are very real and valid concerns.   Though they are not spiritual fears, the fears are well-founded.   That does not make us “fearful;” it means we have grave concerns that we express as “fears.”   There is a big difference.

Conflating theological concerns with worldly concerns is a deliberate attack on weak-minded Christians, intended to sew confusion and doubt among believers.   They impute to our support for our flawed champion a support of his past sins.   They called us “immoral” for voting for “immoral Trump.”

They are not being honest, which is their habit.   Leftists have always been liars.

Trust Jesus, and trust your instincts.   You knew you could not vote for Hillary.   However much they harangue you with President Trump’s personal faults, just remember that we are not putting our faith in President Trump for spiritual guidance.   The trust we place in President Trump is strictly worldly.   And he has proved to be surprisingly worthy of our trust, far exceeding our expectations.   President Trump should be rewarded with our full support.   He has worked hard to deliver on his campaign promises, rewarding our votes with a political delivery that is unlike anything we have seen in our lifetimes.

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15 thoughts on “Fraidy Cat Evangelicals”

  1. liberal Evangelical history professor John Fea was pumping his new book Believe Me: The Evangelical Road To Donald Trump   

    https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2018/06/a-history-of-evangelical-fear/563558/

    an interview with J. Fea  

    https://www.fromthedesk.org/10-questions-john-fea/

    This UPI article by Laura Premack evidently did not get very wide circulation.   https://www.upi.com/Top_News/Voices/2018/07/11/Donald-Trumps-evangelical-supporters-the-wrong-kind-of-hope/2161531309757/

    It is sort of surprising that Ms. Premack’s rant did not get picked up by more media outlets, considering the way it delivered the same old blather for the Left:

    For many [Evangelical voters], it is as much about  white entitlement  as it is about Jesus. “Evangelical”  can serve as cover  for sexism, racism, nativism, Islamophobia and homophobia. God is their excuse for hate.

    Yes; you saw me mention John Fea and his book at a post three weeks ago:

    https://www.ratburger.org/index.php/2018/08/07/media-v-evangelicals-2018-part-7/ 

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  2. The Gospel of John teaches Christians that “there is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.” St. Luke writes: “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”

    Bad quote, Bubba. The Gospel of John does not say that. If the guy had that in his book he doesn’t know his stuff.

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  3. 10 Cents:
    The Gospel of John teaches Christians that “there is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.” St. Luke writes: “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”

    Bad quote, Bubba. The Gospel of John does not say that. If the guy had that in his book he doesn’t know his stuff.

    He is a Leftist history professor who touts himself as an Evangelical.

    If it didn’t come from Zinn or Spong, he cannot be held responsible for knowing it.

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  4. In fact, the leaders of liberal Evangelicalism have become so theologically liberal that I do not think they are still Christian. Many of them are quite candid when they acknowledge that they have “emerged beyond Jesus.” In my opinion, if you are a Universalist, then you are no longer Christian. At the very least, Universalism is heterodox, very near to outright heretical, Christianity. In many cases it is clearly not Christianity, but the proponents enjoy tossing around the Name of Jesus. I think they are guilty of using the Name in vain, in addition to other grave sins.

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  5. MJBubba:

    In fact, the leaders of liberal Evangelicalism have become so theologically liberal that I do not think they are still Christian. Many of them are quite candid when they acknowledge that they have “emerged beyond Jesus.” In my opinion, if you are a Universalist, then you are no longer Christian. At the very least, Universalism is heterodox, very near to outright heretical, Christianity. In many cases it is clearly not Christianity, but the proponents enjoy tossing around the Name of Jesus. I think they are guilty of using the Name in vain, in addition to other grave sins.

    This has always been the case. Wolves with sheepskins, right?

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  6. 10 Cents:

    jeannebodine:
    Hmmm, so John Fea is a nom de plume of David French.

    That’s cruel, JB. 🙂

    I thought it was funny.   I could have written nearly the same post using a couple of old columns by D. French.   French’s religion is probably not so far Left as Fea’s, but French has used his pulpit to preach about how Trump voters are immoral.

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  7. I find very few, if any, Leftists are actual Christians, no matter what they call themselves. When you examine what they actually believe, they worship the state in the place of God as the source of their hope and provision, and their tenets are usually Marxism wrapped in religious language.

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  8. MJBubba:

    10 Cents:

    jeannebodine:
    Hmmm, so John Fea is a nom de plume of David French.

    That’s cruel, JB. 🙂

    I thought it was funny.   I could have written nearly the same post using a couple of old columns by D. French.   French’s religion is probably not so far Left as Fea’s, but French has used his pulpit to preach about how Trump voters are immoral.

    Well French knows a lot about immorality so maybe we should listen. 😉

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  9. The Sinistral Bassist:
    I find very few, if any, Leftists are actual Christians, no matter what they call themselves. When you examine what they actually believe, they worship the state in the place of God as the source of their hope and provision, and their tenets are usually Marxism wrapped in religious language.

    RushBabe has said it, “A person is a liberal first then the other thing.”

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  10. A friend of mine back in the late 80s that was a graduate student at Fordham University, a Catholic university, explained many professors there were non-believers. My intuition is that the corruption of the news media, started with the corruption of Ivy League, Catholic, and other university administration, then the professors they hired, and finally the students that were taught, and now “university graduates” that work for the legacy media.

    The bright spot is many, many Americans like myself have ZERO respect for these institutions, and see affiliation with them as a negative attribute.

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  11. Joe Conservative:
    A friend of mine back in the late 80s that was a graduate student at Fordham University, a Catholic university, explained many professors there were non-believers. My intuition is that the corruption of the news media, started with the corruption of Ivy League, Catholic, and other university administration, then the professors they hired, and finally the students that were taught, and now “university graduates” that work for the legacy media.

    The bright spot is many, many Americans like myself have ZERO respect for these institutions, and see affiliation with them as a negative attribute.

    They are the Enemy of the People.

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  12. Yes there is worldly fear and spiritually based fear.

    I spent seven years as a Buddhist, and once when the Dalai Lama was in San Francisco, his exchange with local Buddhists was on the radio.

    As Buddhists we were admonished to be accepting and show compassion to all.

    So when a student asked the Holy Man this question “If I was out at night and a huge monster came from the shadows and saw me, what should I do?” the Dalai Lama’s answer of “Run away as fast as you can” cracked everyone up.

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  13. 10 Cents:

    MJBubba:

    In fact, the leaders of liberal Evangelicalism have become so theologically liberal that I do not think they are still Christian. Many of them are quite candid when they acknowledge that they have “emerged beyond Jesus.” In my opinion, if you are a Universalist, then you are no longer Christian. At the very least, Universalism is heterodox, very near to outright heretical, Christianity. In many cases it is clearly not Christianity, but the proponents enjoy tossing around the Name of Jesus. I think they are guilty of using the Name in vain, in addition to other grave sins.

    This has always been the case. Wolves with sheepskins, right?

    The Universalist Church I attended briefly was clearly a social club that offered brief moments of meditation. It also offers virtue signalling for its faithful.

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