Evangelicals Aren’t Who You Think

Most of us aren’t conservative white Trump supporters. We need to reclaim our stolen identity.

CHR Comment: I saved this article back in October before the election. It provides an interesting perspective on what it means to be Evangelical, a term used historically, theologically, and politically in American dialogue.

The term comes from German “evangelisch,” which Martin Luther and other reformers used to describe their churches in the sixteenth century. This was a theological use of the term, referring to the Reformation churches as churches “of the Gospel” in contrast with medieval Catholicism, which focused so much on tradition and piety.

Historically, “evangelisch” came to mean what Protestant means in American Christianity, sort of “not Roman Catholic.” The theological use that focused on the Gospel was obscured over time.

As the article points out, Evangelical in America popularly means born again Christian, although many Protestant churches continue to use it in the older theological or historical sense. Because born again Christians have become very active politically, Evangelical has also become a political term to describe conservative Christian voters and that is the use that Jim Wallis is contending against, adding concern about narrowing use of the term to describe white voters.

Source: Evangelicals aren’t who you think: Jim Wallis

The Moral Case for Trump? Further Critique of Grudem’s Arguments

In recent weeks, as the reality of Donald Trump’s nomination has continued to settle, op-eds have begun to circulate on social media claiming to make a “moral” case for his candidacy. These are addressed to an evangelical readership, and built to appeal to traditional evangelical beliefs.

CHR Comment: Grudem’s argument that a vote for Donald Trump is morally correct continues to receive criticism, this time from Eric C. Miller of Religion Dispatches. Miller’s critique is very direct, citing examples of Trump’s behavior and noting that they do not match up well with the moral behavior expected of Evangelicals. He also criticizes what he describes as the Republican-Evangelical alliance, holding that this political arrangement is harmful to Evangelicalism since its leaders must prop up a candidate that does not fit with their doctrine and practice. The Republican-Evangelical alliance dates to the Reagan years and involved the Moral Majority and Christian Coalition. Recently, James Dobson of Focus on the Family was cited as saying that Trump was a convert to Evangelical Christianity.

Grudem’s arguments for supporting Trump have intensified the political debate for American Christians as persons from both parties argue that their candidate fits best with Christianity while many Christians are dissatisfied with the character of both Trump and Clinton.

Source: The Moral Case for Trump? | Religion Dispatches

Kirk Franklin Making “God Famous” and Dodging “Rocks”

“These are shaky times,” says Christian gospel, R&B, rap, pop, and hip-hop artist Kirk Franklin. “I’m praying and hoping maybe one thing that I’ve said, from somebody who came from nothing, could maybe still give just a little bit of hope that it can get better.” More →

CHR Comment: This interview describes the career of Evangelical Gospel artist Kirk Franklin, his place at the edge of Christian music, and his welcome to the center through the Billy Graham crusades and the first platinum Gospel album. Franklin was raised Baptist.

Source: Kirk Franklin | July 8, 2016 | Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly | PBS

Di-ver-si-ty: Overcoming Homogeneity in Our Churches

Racial diversity in local churches is a preview of eternity.

CHR Comment: Given Robert P. Jones new book on White Protestantism, this essay by Stetzer is an interesting piece to read from a leader in the Southern Baptist Convention. I especially like the visual with different crayons all labeled “flesh” tone, which is very clever.

Source: Di-ver-si-ty: Overcoming Homogeneity in Our Churches | The Exchange | A Blog by Ed Stetzer

Newest Tourist Attraction to Tap into Christian Curiosity

The growing Christian tourism industry presents history from a Christian point of view and often is based on a literal interpretation of the Bible.

CHR Comment: The article describes the upcoming opening of a Noah’s Ark exhibit built to biblical scale as well as six other Christian tourism sites that are open now or will open in the next few years. Some sites are like a theme park, others are like a museum.

Source: Newest tourist attraction to tap into Christian curiosity

The Campaign to Eliminate Hell

A new generation of evangelical scholars are challenging the idea that sinners are doomed to eternal torment—but traditionalists are pushing back.

CHR Comment: An extensive article describing traditional, annihilationist, and universalist views that are discussed in British and American Evangelicalism. The traditional view is associated with Augustine, the annihilationist view with Irenaeus, and the universalist view with Origen. The article likewise cites polling about the declining popularity of the doctrine of hell.

Source: The Campaign to Eliminate Hell

Wheaton College Recommends Terminating Tenured Professor

(UPDATED) Larycia Hawkins ‘flummoxed and flabbergasted’ by decision; Chicago Tribune had praised ‘remarkable tolerance’ of both sides.

CHR Comment: College leadership has asked Prof. Hawkins to explain her understanding of the college’s statement of faith four times and on a variety of issues including: theology proper, liberation theology, and sexuality. It seems clear that Prof. Hawkins is pushing the boundaries of her institution’s understanding of the Christian faith. The article explains that her views are minority positions held among American Evangelicals. Her tenure with the college is terminated for two years but may be restored.

Source: Wheaton College Recommends Terminating Tenured Professor over… | Gleanings | ChristianityToday.com