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

Pope Francis to Lutheran Pilgrims: Seek Unity through Charity

The full text of Pope Francis’ prepared remarks to Lutheran pilgrims in the Vatican on Thursday

CHR Comment: Nearly 500 years ago, the historic disruption of western Christendom took place as Protestants and Roman Christians disagreed on the doctrine of justification. The dialogue between liberal Lutheran church leaders and the papacy has continued for decades. Pope Francis expresses his hope that the dialogue will end in “communion.” Anticipate something taking place during the upcoming Reformation anniversary observances in 2017.

Source: Pope Francis to Lutheran pilgrims: seek unity through charity – Vatican Radio

Norway State Church Sees Exodus

Norway’s state church has seen a record fall in membership after making it possible to join and leave the church electronically.

CHR Comment: The historically Lutheran state church is allowing people to leave the church through an online process, which the article describes as cleaning up the rolls. Membership in the state church involves paying taxes to support the institution.

Source: Norway state church sees exodus after allowing online exit – The Washington Post

American Christians Remain Divided Over Abortion

In February 2013, as she prepared to re-open a Wichita women’s health clinic shuttered since the 2009 shooting death of Dr. George Tiller, Julie Burkhart looked out the window of her home and saw protesters.

CHR Comment: The article opens by referring to the shooting of Tiller, an abortion provider, who was an active member of his church. The latest violence against Planned Parenthood was not purely religious but seems to have come in part from the shooter’s mental illness. Christians differ on whether abortion is about health care for women (liberal view) or a violation of the commandment, “You shall not kill/murder” (conservative view). Conservatives Christians condemn violent acts against abortion providers, though the article lists some exceptional cases where people with religious motives have attacked.

Source: Threat of violence ever-present at abortion clinics, advocates say