Evangelicals, Temptation and Apostasy

The apostasy of such a large segment of the white evangelical church
in the United States has left me deeply disturbed in my soul.

I am, after all, a convert to Christian faith.
I know the power of the gospel to transform human lives.

I met Jesus in the context of an “evangelical” ministry in the inner city of Toronto.
And while I have never fully identified with that tribe of Christian faith,
I have often defended them against their detractors.

Well, no more.

A church that could so blindly follow a demagogue like Donald Trump has lost its soul.
It has lost its connection with the Head, with Jesus who is the Lord of the Church.

And hearing Pastor Robert Jeffress on Fox News last night
threaten Civil War if Trump is impeached
is as clear a demonstration
of this man’s apostasy 
as could ever be imagined.

Robert Jeffress is a false prophet,
a religious lackey of a degenerate President.

And then … well … I got to thinking about Jesus in the wilderness.
I got to thinking of what was on offer
in those temptations.

And that got me to writing this:

They had been in the wilderness a long time.
Dismissed as culturally irrelevant.
Increasingly humiliated and marginalized.
And they were hungry for legitimacy.

So he offered to feed that hunger.
Who wouldn’t take such an offer?

They had been stripped of power.
Their moral majority ignored.
Any access to power denied.
And they wanted to reclaim their political power.

So in return for worship he offered them more power than they could imagine.
Who wouldn’t take such an offer?

Their faith had been mocked.
Their piety sneered at.
Their naive trust in God scoffed.
And they wanted religious legitimacy.

So he appealed to their faith language as if it was his own.
Who wouldn’t follow such a leader?

Well … Jesus wouldn’t.

The majority of white evangelical Christians in the United States
would succumb to all of these temptations.
But Jesus wouldn’t.

With blind ideology they have grasped for legitimacy,
gained access to the halls of power,
had their piety pandered to,
and lost their souls.

Who wouldn’t accept such an offer?
Jesus wouldn’t.

Brian Walsh
Brian is an activist theologian and the CRC Campus Minister at the University of Toronto. He engages issues of theology and culture, and has written a couple of books you might want to check out. His most recent offering is cowritten with Sylvia Keesmaat and entitled Romans Disarmed: Resisting Empire, Demanding Justice.

2 Responses to “Evangelicals, Temptation and Apostasy”

  1. Ron Roper

    That’s exactly where I’m at now, too, Brian. Since the Occupy Wall Street era, I’ve been tracking back to the point where the Fundamentalists separated from the “Modernists”. After my studies on the Atonement, I have a whole new respect for Walter Rauschenbusch and the “social Gospel” movement. Richard T. Ely was something of a transitional figure since he brought the thought of Frederick Denison Maurice (“Christian Socialism”) to his “radical thinking at the University of Wisconsin. Richard Middleton taught for a while with Christopher H. Evans, who has done so much to reframe the social gospel. I briefly glanced over your and Sylvia’s new book recently. So much to keep up with! Blessings on you both and your vital community!

  2. Jack de Klerk

    I agree with all you write Brian. And thanks for putting it to paper (so to speak). As you know my journey parallels yours in many respects, though I am wondering where to look for what is needed to carry on the struggle for justice, human rights and personal and community realization. The institutional church mostly isn’t attractive to me as a prophetic voice and piety, whatever it might have meant in times past, and as now promoted, comes with, for me, unacceptable cultural baggage. It’s an ongoing search. As I write this I’m listening to Ideas, a CBC program on Adam Smith. His “Theory of Moral Sentiments” seems to call us back to a more empathetic society.


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