As I write this blog post, I find myself wrestling with how to communicate what I want to say in a way that will encourage you to keep reading, especially if you are at present an active Evangelical Christian. I really, really want you to hear me because even though I am not actively involved in your world right now, my faith in God is actually very real. The core values that drive how I live my life are grounded in Jesus’s life and ministry because I spent so much of my life actively immersed in the faith. I have little certainty in the specific laws and doctrines churches have embraced but my heart has been deeply altered by the lived experiences I have had with the God of my understanding. Jesus remains the risen Christ to me and that is all I know. So, if that is enough, please continue to read.
Recently I have been thinking a lot about words the Apostle Paul is said to have written in 2 Timothy 3. He said that when the last days would come men would be…
- Lovers of self
- Lovers of money
- Disobedient to parents
- Malicious gossips
- Without self control
- Haters of good
- Lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God
- Holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power
He also said to “avoid such men as these.”
I am not at all interested in a discussion of the end of the world. That’s possibly a post for another day. What I have to say is this.
When I came into the Evangelical fold, it was vital to me to live my life in response to the ultimate goodness I found in Jesus. I was encouraged to understand that the world he inhabited and the world that he offered his followers was one with unconditional love at its foundation. I was called to live a life of devotion and service. The reality that I have encountered as time as gone by is that more and more the very ones who are propagating the message of Jesus are the ones Paul describes to Timothy, his disciple, to avoid.
Consider the recent situation with Jerry Falwell Junior, the now ousted president of Liberty University, an institution founded on the idea of being a leader in establishing a “Moral Majority” in America. This man, who embodies every single quality listed in 2 Timothy 3 was embraced by Christian people right up until he was asked to leave.
Honestly, for those of the faith who believe the Bible is without error and literally God’s word, what is the deal?
I could go on for days writing about the supposed leaders of the Evangelical movement who hold to the idea that they are solid, biblical Christians but live lives that are nothing at all like those required by the legit followers of Jesus. And oddly, these same leaders are the single most devoted followers of Donald J. Trump, a man who makes no effort whatsoever to hide any of his moral flaws and continues to act day after day without any regard at all as to “What Would Jesus Do?”.
One has to ask, is it because those in the church pews Sunday after Sunday, are themselves less interested in the discipleship Jesus asked of his followers than they are in winning the praise of men like he is? Is it simply much more attractive for his followers to love money and pleasure more than they love God? Afterall, God just might ask them to sell it all and give it to the poor? One has to ask, what is the reality of the body of people across America that undergirds those in power who are so corrupt and unattached to the Jesus they claim to represent?
This incredible mystery has consumed Dean’s and my conversation for the last decade. The vitriol we witnessed being extended to the Obama family from the people of faith we once worshipped alongside was an incredible shock to us. We never imagined it possible that so many would take their contempt even further and embrace the likes of anyone like Donald Trump as God’s alternative. Watching this unfold and witnessing really, really good people choose to follow this man and his enablers has broken our hearts over and over.
I don’t know what to do except to write. I’ve said all that I can say and then some. If these are any kind of last days – I hope that they are the last days of this incredible delusion and extreme double standard. I know it will eventually end because all malignant narcissists finally crash and burn. Unfortunately, they also take down others with them and the Evangelical Church will be no exception. I can only hope that there is some kind of redemptive life on the other side of this.