Evangelicals Divided: A Movement Fractured, Part 2

By Marsha West

Screen Shot 2016-04-08 at 3.43.15 PMIn part one I examined the term “evangelical” and laid out what true evangelicals believe and why they believe it.  Admittedly the movement has evolved largely because of pragmatism – whatever works.  Pragmatism has resulted in the Gospel of Jesus Christ that’s set forth in the scriptures being watered down and a false gospel with its Christless Christianity being spread far and wide.  In our postmodern world it is rapidly becoming something other than what Jesus himself declared in Matthew 28:16-20.

What the true Gospel has been replaced with is the social gospel, i.e. theological liberalism.  Why did it change?  Because the liberal agenda cannot be accomplished without change.

Follow your heart

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? ~ Jeremiah 17:9

Liberals are all about feeling good about themselves.  As such they’ve got an unquenchable desire to do “good works” to make themselves feel good. To the liberal, or post-evangelical aka emergent, it matters not what the Bible says; what matters most is how they feel about things.  I mean, it’s all about self-esteem, right?  So it’s not surprising that feelings trump even the God-breathed words in Scripture.  It matters not that the Holy Spirit inspired the writers of the Bible because what He said in the old days has become irrelevant.

Liberals believe they’ve come to a new understanding of what the Bible does and doesn’t reveal so it’s incumbent upon them to bring that dusty ol’ book out of the stone age and see to it that it blends nicely with our enlightened culture.  To that end, post-evangelical/emergents have taken it upon themselves to apply a new meaning to anything in the scriptures that might offend someone’s sensibilities.  After all, the post-evangelical/emergent’s political and social agenda takes priority over everything else, even if it means they have to modify the writings of men who actually observed and reported on events that took place several thousand years ago – the eye witness accounts!

The thinking goes that if the Bible says something that doesn’t make me feel good about myself or hurts my feelings, then I am entitled to completely ignore it.  Or… I can twist the intended meaning until it says what I want it to say.

People who do this have a very low view of Scripture.  Moreover, they have no understanding of sin and the holiness of God.

Too Many Cooks Spoil The Stew

Also responsible for what theologian Michael Horton called “theological ambiguity” in evangelicalism is a witch’s brew of syncretism stew.  As I stated in the first installment, one of the main ingredients in this concoction is discernment disintegration.  A good way to ruin any recipe is to allow a lot of cooks to add their own ingredients to the pot because the stew becomes unpalatable!  In the case of the Bible, the recipe is already perfect!

Before I move on, it’s important for readers to understand that the truth of the Gospel is inherently offensive to the unsaved. To try to make it palatable to those who are dead in their sins requires completely changing the message.  But wait!  That is exactly what post-evangelical/emergents are bent on doing.  I repeat. They have no understanding of sin and the holiness of God.  “Sin is desperately wicked,” says Todd Pruitt.  “It is mutiny against God. It is a rejection of his Lordship and love. Therefore sin and its consequences must never be trivialized (Gen 3; Rom 1:18ff, 6:23).”

2016 Presidential Campaign

Donald TrumpIn our current presidential election cycle we hear the term evangelical used daily.  An example of this use comes when pundits talk about the self-proclaimed evangelical, deal maker and billionaire, Donald Trump. It’s said that he’s garnering significant support from “evangelicals.”  I’m not going to spend a lot of time on all the distasteful things Donald Trump has said and done during the campaign.  But I do need to point out a few for the purpose of showing that his moral values aren’t in sync with the values of conservative evangelicals.

It’s no secret that Trump has had serial marriages, that he betrayed his first wife (the mother of three of his children) and then dumped her and married his mistress, a marriage that lasted six years. He’s also been frank about bedding other men’s wives.  There’s talk of questionable business dealings and his comment that Planned Parenthood, which has profited off the murder and dismemberment of innocent womb babies, does “good work,” which is odd for a man who declares himself to be pro-life.  In regards to the “marriage” of Elton John and David Furnish he chirped, “If two people dig each other, they dig each other. I’m very happy for them.”  He admits that he’s “always been greedy” and we all know he has a foul mouth.  During debates he verbally assaults his opponents, saying such childish things as “You’re ugly and your mother dresses you funny,” and “Liar, liar, pants on fire.”  Well, those weren’t his exact words – but close enough.

Now, if Donald Trump is a born again (regenerate) Christian, he’ll understand that his past behavior is sinful and that the sins he committed were against God — ultimately every sin is against God. (Psalm 51:4)  Therefore, he must humble himself and plead for forgiveness.  “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.” (1 John 1:9,10)  This is the mark of a truly regenerate person.

When he was asked if he had ever repented of his sins his response was, “I’m not sure I have, I just go and try and do a better job from there. I don’t think so. I think I if I do something wrong I think I just try and make it right. I don’t bring God into that picture. I don’t.”  This is Donald Trump’s worldview, straight from the horse’s mouth.  His view is works based, I don’t need God, I can do it myself.  “I Am.”

Sin And Repentance…Not So Much

Trump’s not alone.  A whole host of professing evangelicals share his worldview.  As for sin, they either don’t grasp the meaning of sin and why it’s necessary to repent…or they figure they’ll repeat a certain sin so why bother?  I suggest that not having a genuine desire to eliminate sin from one’s life and a strong need to repent when one does sin, shows a blatant disregard for how God looks at sin.

I know, I know, he who is without sin cast the first stone.  Relax.  I’m not condemning Donald Trump or anyone else to hell.  Only God can make that determination.  I get that.  So why do I bring up Trump’s past?  As a reminder to my brethren that he has done many things that offend God. Everyone has.  But Donald Trump is a professing Christian who has sin in his life and there’s been no repentance.  What’s keeping him from doing that?

Well, he says he hasn’t done anything that requires repentance, even though the Bible says “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) During an interview he admitted that he can’t remember ever asking God for forgiveness or needing to.  Is this the mindset of an evangelical Christian? According to the definition of a true evangelical, it’s not.

Donald Trump is what I would call a good deed doer.  People who do good deeds think they’re all in with God (high five!) and they don’t feel the need to repent.  Why should they when a loving God—and He’s that—overlooks their sins because of all the good they do.   Good deed doers believe their generosity will cover any past, present, or future sins they commit.  They view God as a big smiley face in the sky.

But I digress.

Character Counts

Following are just a few reasons evangelicals ignore Donald Trump’s peccadilloes:

  • He’s the only candidate that can beat Hillary Clinton.
  • The Religious Right aka Christian Right lost battle after battle in the fight to reclaim America for Christ and now they want a tough guy to fight for them.
  • They want to punish a traitorous GOP establishment by electing an outsider.
  • They’re not electing a pastor in chief, they’re electing a commander in chief. (Securing the border and having a strong military is more important than a man’s character?)
  • He’s seen as a modern day Cyrus, the pagan king who freed the Jews from 70 years of captivity and allowed them to return to Israel – and they prospered.

Let’s face facts.  Any so-called evangelical who’s not concerned with a person’s moral character is at best a nominal Christian and at worst a false convert.  This should come as no surprise as liberals, wolves, and wingnuts have managed to grab the reins of the evangelical movement and corrupt it from within.  Thus, syncretism stew.  The result of the cultural shift in this country is that true evangelicals can no longer take comfort in knowing that there are millions of people that share their values.  Why? Because chances are it is no longer the case and even if it was it would be impossible to know.

On a more positive note, we can take comfort in the fact that God is on the throne.  The Bible tells us that our omnipotent sovereign God removes kings and sets up kings. (Daniel 2:21, Rom 13:1) There has never been a ruler on Planet Earth that God did not establish. No Bible believing Christian would entertain the idea that the Lord gasped and said, “No way!” when Nero became Emperor.

The Bible clearly teaches the criteria for choosing a leader:

Choose for your tribes wise, understanding, and experienced men, and I will appoint them as your heads. (emphasis added) (Deuteronomy 1:13)

When Voting

Baby in the womb Keep in mind that it is wiser to vote for a candidate who’s committed to ridding America of some of the evils we face than to stay home because the person falls short in some areas.  One evil we face is the murder of the unborn. We know that Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, who at this juncture have the best chance of winning the nomination, are pro-life. On the other hand, Hillary Clinton, who will probably become the Democratic nominee, will never protect the life of the unborn.  Both Trump and Cruz have promised to protect the unborn.  Most assuredly many more babies will die if there is another Democrat in the White House.  Okay, take a deep breath…it is my opinion that voting for the lesser of the two evils is not a compromise. Listen to what apologist Greg Koukl of Stand to Reason says on this weighty subject in “When Compromising Is Not a Compromise”:

The possible question we’re faced with is this: If we were forced to choose between feeling or looking virtuous but having no actual effect, or appearing ignoble but accomplishing some good, which path should we take? When we must choose one or the other, are we obliged by God to make a moral statement or to have a moral impact?

Goodness requires more than making a moral statement. Rather, it requires having a moral impact. Jesus condemned Jews who abused the practice of Corban (Mark 7:11), a pledge to God that appeared righteousness, but helped no one. Let me be clear: The motives of pro-lifers voting “consistently pro-life” are different from those who used the practice of Corban as a religious cloak for avarice. However, the result is the same: moral statements with no moral impact….

In other words, it’s better to choose someone who is committed to eliminating some of the evil, than contributing to the victory of one who is not committed to eliminating any of the evil but, on the contrary, will promote it. This is not a compromise. This is good moral thinking. (H/T Bill Muehlenberg)

Choose wisely, brethren.

Part 1

Recommended: 

Extra Biblical Methods By Cameron Buettel and Jeremiah Johnson

John MacArthur addresses comments by evangelicalism’s most famous evangelist, Billy Graham, that are clearly out of sync with the biblical gospel.

An Evangelical Leader Makes Trump His Golden Calf By Steve Deace

Phil Johnson: “’Evangelical’ support for Trump proves the American evangelical movement isn’t truly_evangelical_ in any historic sense of the word”

Resolution On Moral Character On Public Officials—Southern Baptist Convention

God’s Will in the 2016 US Election By Kathleen Peck

Copyright 2016 Marsha West.

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3 Responses to Evangelicals Divided: A Movement Fractured, Part 2

  1. Denise Rittler April 9, 2016 at 12:51 pm #

    I used to believe in voting for the lesser of two evils, or for a person who I thought would put a stop to the slaughter of human beings in the womb, without even the mercy we give to dogs when we euthanize them, sedation. I so strongly hated abortion that I went to several March for Life protests in DC. in freezing weather.
    So when I voted for George W. Bush I thought at least he would try to stop this terrible crime. Instead, abortions raged on while He lied about “reasons to attack Iraq” and took us into Iraq where we bombed them back to the stone age (so Cheney’s Halliburton and other Defense Contractors make billions “rebuilding” the homes and schools etc we destroyed) and killed over a million civilian women and children and caused another million to become refugees and move to Syria or elsewhere. I believed them when they said that Iraq had Weapons of Mass Destruction, but none were ever found.

    At this point, I’m never voting again. Trump is the only one who is eligible, because Cruz the Dominionist and outstanding liar, was born in Canada, there was no dual citizenship then. According to the Constitution, you must be Natural Born. Not Native Born, and Cruz isn’t even native born. Natural born means to an American father, not mother. The Founders wanted to protect America from letting any enemy come in and impregnate and American woman, then groom the child his whole life to become President and usurp the Constitution. This was done flawlessly with our current President Obama. Born to an American woman, a card carrying Communist with her parents also Communists who hate America, and a Muslim man from Kenya.
    Now, we are being flooded with Muslims and a Communist is running for President.
    Expect more terror. Expect the loss of more freedoms.

    So Cruz is ineligible (but so was Obama), Hillary is under FBI investigation for treason (letting top secret emails become obtainable by our enemies is treason, death penalty or life imprisonment should be her penalty), Sanders is a Communist, and Trump is the only candidate Constitutionally eligible. As for sexual scandals, Cruz obviously is seeing high class whores or there would be a lawsuit already filed against the Enquirer and on their desk now, and there is not.

    I am just going to trust God’s word where He says in

    Daniel 4:13-17 “This matter is by the decree of the

    watchers, and the demand by the word of the holy ones: to the

    intent that the living may know that the most High ruleth in

    the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will, and

    setteth up over it the basest of men.”
    God gave us Obama because the US had thrown God in the trash heap with 60 million innocent unborn children, kicked Him out of schools, forbidden bible reading in many schools while allowing the Q’ran to be read, etc etc. He gave us what we deserved. Of course God can use any means to do this, including voting, but I believe the US is under judgement by God, so no matter who you vote for it will be bad for America. I won’t vote, but I don’t tell others not to vote. Everyone should pray and seek the Lord and do what He says.

    If you really believe the largest slave owning nation on earth, founded on slavery who now imports almost all it’s goods made “out of sight” by slaves in other countries, biggest killers in wars with the largest military on earth (God hates the taking of innocent life!) who regularly murders innocent civilians at a ratio of 50 innocents for one “target” (any male over age 14) in places like Pakistan and Yemen with drone strikes and plans to continue that no matter who is president….then by all means try to change Gods judgement by voting.

    Remember, no matter who is President, JESUS IS KING!!

  2. among the forgotten April 10, 2016 at 6:21 am #

    “Keep in mind that it is wiser to vote for a candidate who is committed to ridding America of some of the evils we face than to stay home because the person falls short in some areas” Is this really true and according to whom?

    I’m not voting. I’ve never voted and wouldn’t vote if the most godly man in America was running for president. That isn’t how Jesus intends to change lives or nations. All Christians should be about their Father’s business and believe that placing their trust in Him is what actually changes lives and keeps nations at peace.

    The problems we face in America have never had anything to do with who is running this country politically. The biggest problem is that those who claim Him don’t trust Him nor obey Him in the manner He commands.

    That would begin with an honest look at what the Bible actually says and being willing to abandon all that is contrary. Sadly, that is the very last thing every self-made leader and institutionalized “pastor” will ever do. They simply have invested too much and for too long into their own kingdoms upon this earth. Is it any surprise that those who follow them do the same?

    Forget about peace for America- none of us deserve it. Instead, teach your children that this world and its system of thought/practice is an enemy and as is possible separate yourselves from it.

    If one is dying daily as was Paul the apostle, then our present and future sufferings are merely a part of that process. Stand tall, continue to speak truth regardless of consequence and die with grace.

    This is the manner our Lord will restore and retain His testimony upon this earth (not peace and riches) and convict the hearts of the few that will still listen.

    • lyn April 10, 2016 at 12:08 pm #

      among the forgotten,

      amen and amen! I agree with you wholeheartedly and could not have said it better. Why do so many Americans look to another mortal being to ‘lead’ them and this country? Politicians abuse their power and authority and pursue their own agendas once in office. None have the things of God at heart and none uphold the Bible. Many will claim religion just to get the votes of the evangelicals, many of whom are just as lost and tainted as the politicians they back.
      We are pilgrims here, on a journey to a better country. This world is passing away, it will never get ‘better’ in its present state no matter who gets elected. The only thing of worth are the souls that are perishing, and the only thing that will change that is the proclaiming of the Gospel {Romans 1:16}.

      Denise,

      Well said. God is already judging America, it’s called the wrath of abandonment. He has turned America over to what it loves – materialism, idolatry, immorality, perversion, slaughtering the innocent, greed, etc. We must pray for the souls of men and keep our minds fixed upon the eternal.

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