What does the New Year hold for Evangelicals?

I’ve been busy starting a private practice, but I’ve kept up with the news.

Recently, Mark Galli posted a well-argued op-ed regarding President Trump. This led to a host of weeping and gnashing of teeth, rejoinders, and more side taking. It has also led to other well-known evangelicals issuing a letter in support of Mark Galli.

American politics is not Christian. For me, I have left the two-party system and thanks to the system in Colorado, have identified as independent, unaffiliated. But I am still an American. Unlike our earthshaking friends, I believe that our Christian duty does call on us to be a part of our national system, whatever national system we are in. To an extent anyway, as the sacred author of the letter to Diognetus states, Christians are always the citizen-alien.

But it does strike me as odd that many of our Evangelical friends will readily quote Bonhoeffer and yet forget the Barmen Declaration. This is not to say that Trump is Hitler, his supporters are Nazis, and that this is Nazi Germany. Granted, we see a cult-like mentality and a rise in anti-semitism – but honestly, I think this is more about society falling apart than a return to fascism.

Although one could reasonablly argue that during times of social disintegration, fascism is appealing to some.

The Declaration was written in Nazi Germany; however, Barmen I think transcends location and time. It is not inerrant, nor completely ecumenical like the Creeds, but as a confession of a particular church, I find that it can be used for many different churches of the era, including the American Church. It sought to remind “‘German Christians'” of their allegiance not to the State, even if represented by a man, but to the one, holy, catholic and apostolic church. I need something like that – to remind us that our allegiance is not to a political party, flag, or ideologue, but to Christ and His Church.

And this is what I think Galli and others do. To remind us that the Church is the loyal opposition, that we are the prophetic tool of God and not the tool of the State – and that the State is not the tool of the Church.

Honestly, as 2020 gets going, I expected to see something of an evangelical split, passively supported by the media that will only highlight the loudest voices supporting the President. I hope we take the time to listen to the other side.

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