The Evangelical Crackup

The Evangelical Crackup

I found this article listed on the Baptist Standard website. It is a pretty incredible article that covers much of the heart of what is going on right now. Click here to read the whole thing. It is well worth the time.

Below you will find some tasty nuggets to entice you:

The 2008 election is just the latest stress on a system of fault lines that go much deeper. The phenomenon of theologically conservative Christians plunging into political activism on the right is, historically speaking, something of an anomaly. Most evangelicals shrugged off abortion as a Catholic issue until after the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision. But in the wake of the ban on public-school prayer, the sexual revolution and the exodus to the suburbs that filled the new megachurches, protecting the unborn became the rallying cry of a new movement to uphold the traditional family. Now another confluence of factors is threatening to tear the movement apart. The extraordinary evangelical love affair with Bush has ended, for many, in heartbreak over the Iraq war and what they see as his meager domestic accomplishments. That disappointment, in turn, has sharpened latent divisions within the evangelical world — over the evangelical alliance with the Republican Party, among approaches to ministry and theology, and between the generations.

Later, as a choir in stars-and-stripes neckties and scarves belted out “Stars and Stripes Forever,” a cluster of men in olive military fatigues took the stage carrying a flag. They lifted the pole to a 45-degree angle and froze in place around it: a re-enactment of the famous photograph of the American triumph at Iwo Jima. The narrator of a preceding video montage had already set the stage by comparing the Iwo Jima flag raising to another long-ago turning point in a “fierce battle for the hearts of men” — the day 2,000 years ago when “a heavy cross was lifted up on top of the mount called Golgotha.”

A battle flag as the crucifixion: the church rose to a standing ovation.

“We have just pounded the drum again and again that, for churches to reach their full redemptive potential, they have to do more than hold services — they have to try to transform their communities,” he said. “If there is racial injustice in your community, you have to speak to that. If there is educational injustice, you have to do something there. If the poor are being neglected by the government or being oppressed in some way, then you have to stand up for the poor.”
– Bill Hybels

“When you mix politics and religion,” Carlson said, “you get politics.”

“There is this sense that the personal Gospel is what evangelicals believe and the social Gospel is what liberal Christians believe,” Carlson said, “and, you know, there is only one Gospel that has both social and personal dimensions to it.” He once felt lonely among evangelicals for taking that approach, he told me. “Now it is a growing phenomenon,” he said.

“The religious right peaked a long time ago,” he added. “As a historical, sociological phenomenon, it has seen its heyday. Something new is coming.”

Carlson’s protégé and successor, Todd Carter, 42, said: “I don’t believe the problem of abortion will be solved by overturning Roe v. Wade. It won’t. To me, it is a Gospel issue.”

Of these, Mike Huckabee, a Southern Baptist minister before he became governor of Arkansas, stands out in the polls and in his rhetoric. At last fall’s values-voters meetings, the other candidates focused on establishing their Christian conservative credentials. Huckabee dispensed with that by reminding his audience of his years as a pastor. Then he challenged the crowd to give more money to their churches and talked about education and health care. On the campaign trail, he criticizes chief executives’ pay and says his faith demands environmental regulation. “We shouldn’t allow a child to live under a bridge or in the back seat of a car,” Huckabee said in a recent debate. “We shouldn’t be satisfied that elderly people are being abused or neglected in nursing homes.”

Huckabee told me that he welcomed a broadening of the evangelical political agenda. “You can’t just say ‘respect life’ exclusively in the gestation period,” he said, repeating a campaign theme.

“What I liked about George Bush is all of his moral side and all that,” Brummer added. “But somehow he didn’t have the strength to govern the way we hoped he would and that he should have.”

To be honest, this article has gotten me thinking a great deal. Another part shares a quote in which it is pointed out that the younger generations, i.e. Gen X and younger, are not interested in being told what to do or to think anymore. Show us with your life. Then we will talk.

I am one of those “values voters” who cast a ballot for “Dubya” years ago. A small part of me even somehow thought it a sin against a gracious God to not do so. George was the answer to the moral drift of our society. Man, how dumb were we? Someone could have at least bought me dinner first.

There is one answer, and one only. Proclaim the good news of Jesus come as the promised Messiah and Savior of His creation. Go show a society of lost, dying, hopeless people the love of Christ and His faithfulness to His mission and watch our country move against such sins as abortion, homosexuality, adultery, lying, murder, and so on.

Stop thinking George Bush, Karl Rove, or Dick Cheney are going to do it for you.

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~ by bchatcher on October 31, 2007.

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