Evangelicals

Derek Flood 4-11-2016

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It is not a particular religious or political set of values or ideology that is the heart of the problem here. Authoritarianism goes beyond political or religious affiliation.

Given authoritarianism's penchant for enforcing its will through the means of coercion and force, at the expense of religious and civil liberties, it is vital for those who identify with these groups to recognize this, and the very real danger that this poses.

It is not enough for progressive evangelicals and political liberals or even moderates to speak out. Conservative politicians and religious leaders alike need to recognize the very real danger of authoritarianism, and find the moral courage to speak out against it.

Mark Driscoll. Image via Mars Hill Church / RNS

Controversial former Mars Hill Church Pastor Mark Driscoll plans to launch his new church on Easter Sunday (March 27). The Trinity Church will host its first gathering that evening at the Glass and Garden Drive-In Church in Scottsdale, Ariz., it announced on its website.

Caroline Barnett 3-15-2016

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Among the people who Lee studies in Rescuing Jesus is Sojourners’ own Chief Church Engagement Officer Lisa Sharon Harper, who confronted the overwhelming whiteness of her evangelical campus ministry. Despite hearing otherwise from her religious leaders, she knew her whole identity as an African-American woman with a commitment to racial justice was an essential part of her faith.

And many other leaders are featured: Jennifer Crumpton, who grew up hearing conservative gender complementarian teachings, now challenges the patriarchal structures of evangelicalism through her ministry and call to lead. And there’s Will Haggerty and Tasha Magness and other LGBTQ students at Biola University, a private Christian college with explicitly anti-queer policies. Despite the threat of expulsion, these students founded an underground network of support and solidarity for LGBTQ Biolans.

3-09-2016

On Super Tuesday, Donald Trump easily swept the four states with the heaviest majorities of Protestants who consider themselves “evangelicals” – Tennessee, Alabama, Arkansas and Georgia.

So the campaign’s major religious puzzle – likely to be pondered come 2020 and 2024 – continues to be how to explain Trump’s appeal to Bible Belters.

3-09-2016

“SOMETIMES I wonder,” said Doug Long, shivering among the demonstrators in Raleigh, North Carolina, on February 13th, “whether everyone who defines themselves as Christian really believes in the same God.” As a rabbi sharing the interfaith stage blew a shofer, and a protest group called the Raging Grannies denounced restrictions on voting rights, Mr Long, a pastor in the United Church of Christ, explained that, in his view, Jesus would have stood for racial and sexual equality.

3-09-2016

How the hell can anyone who calls themselves a Christian vote for Donald Drumpf?

That’s the question that needs to be asked as this racist, misogynist hate-monger who supports torture, ridicules the disabled and wants to ban all Muslims from America, comes ever closer to winning the Republican nomination and, potentially, the White House.  

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Evangelical advocates for immigration reform are concerned that proposed South Carolina legislation will make it more difficult for faith groups to help refugees in the Palmetto State. The bill, which passed a state Senate committee in late January, could make organizations that sponsor refugees liable if the new residents should later commit a terroristic act or other crime.

Image via REUTERS/Brian C. Frank/RNS

Now that Ted Cruz has won Iowa’s Republican presidential caucus, he may want to listen more closely to those evangelicals who supported him on the subject of climate change. Just last month, the Texas senator, who chairs the Senate’s Subcommittee on Space, Science, and Competitiveness, proudly claimed, “According to the satellite data, there has been no significant global warming for the past 18 years.”

Candidate faces-on-a-stick at the Iowa Historical Building. Phil Roeder / Flickr.com

So who was the real loser in Iowa last night? The "evangelical" brand. For weeks now the nation has heard the media talk about "evangelicals" — by which they actually mean white, highly conservative, older, mostly male voters motivated by their faith. Last night one pundit after another analyzed who this “evangelical” vote supported, with data showing Ted Cruz winning significant backing.

Image via REUTERS/Joshua Roberts/RNS

Just weeks before the Iowa caucus, GOP presidential contender Donald Trump is aiming his proudly “politically incorrect” anger and his pledge to be “great!” directly at evangelical Christians. “I’m going to protect Christians,” who are losing their power in American society, he said Jan. 18, addressing 100,000 Liberty University students — packed in the Lynchburg, Va., campus sports arena or viewing online.

1-04-2016

It’s one of the most intriguing sub-plots of the 2016 election: Why are evangelicals, who historically have supported immigration reform and a path to citizenship for deeply felt religious and moral reasons, gravitating towards the two candidates who are most hostile to policy changes that would accommodate and integrate undocumented immigrants into American life?

Image via Prison Fellowship/RNS.

Even among young evangelicals, more contemporary religious thinkers — Karen Swallow Prior or Rachel Held Evans — might be viewed as more accessible. But Colson’s intense activism, which supporters contend advocated issues and not political parties, seems to appeal to some in a generation seeking a course correction from the likes of Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson. That activism found its first expression in the ministry that became Prison Fellowship. Though Colson’s time in jail was relatively brief, he was moved by the experience and by those of the men he met behind bars.

Trevin Wax 11-18-2015

Image via Muhammad Hamed / REUTERS / RNS

Evangelicals may be united that the Bible is the ultimate source of authority, but they are divided on how the Bible would lead us to respond to the growing crisis of refugees fleeing from Syria.

What is the best way to show Christian love and compassion? How is the church’s role different from the state’s? How do we show wisdom and prudence in securing the safety of our neighbors and nation?

These are just a few of the questions that evangelicals are grappling with. One evangelical pastor today told me, “My church members are all over the place on this!”

11-18-2015

World Relief, which calls itself the "biggest evangelical refugee resettlement agency in America" is urging political leaders around the country -- many of whom consistently court evangelical votes -- to support the resettling of Syrian refugees in this country.  Politico.com quotes World Relief's vice president Jenny Yang who says that talk of shutting such refugees out "does not reflect what we've been hearing from our constituencies, which are evangelical churches across the country."

11-02-2015

When I was 15, I stepped into a warm bath on my church's sanctuary stage. I was a bit of an outsider - the occasionally bullied Chinese-American kid in the white suburb - and I had found a place of belonging at this Chinese immigrant church. I made a joke about how I felt the same way about my new faith as my 16-year-old friend felt about her new driver's license: I had no idea how I ever lived without this. Even my pastor chuckled as he clasped my hands, preparing to dunk me.

the Web Editors 10-23-2015

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Some evangelical leaders are disappointed by Donald Trump’s meeting with various faith leaders earlier this month. 

Several prominent pastors met with the businessman and presidential candidate, who remains popular with evangelical voters, in Trump Tower in New York City, N.Y. 

According to Christian Today, a number of evangelicals are critical of Trump’s attempt to get in touch with the evangelical constituency because they say that the faith leaders invited to the meeting are those who endorse prosperity gospel theology. 

"The people that Trump has so far identified as his evangelical outreach are mostly prosperity gospel types, which are considered by mainstream evangelicals to be heretics," Russell Moore, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention said.

Ryan Hammill 10-19-2015

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The National Association of Evangelicals, which represents over 45,000 churches from almost 40 different denominations, published a resolution Oct. 19 that substantially revises their position on the death penalty.

The resolution casts serious doubt on the fairness of the U.S. criminal justice system, citing, among other things, the use of DNA evidence in the exonerations of 258 people in the first decade of the 21st century. While levelling a substantial critique of criminal justice in the U.S., the resolution does not call for an end to the death penalty, but instead acknowledges both sides as legitimate positions.

Philip Chidell / Shutterstock.com

Pope Francis on Easter Sunday 2013 in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican. Photo via Philip Chidell / Shutterstock.com

As evangelical preachers in the American South, we’re excited to welcome our brother, Pope Francis, to the U.S.

We want to be explicit in our evangelical welcome because so many who claim to be evangelical are criticizing the pope for being political and not preaching orthodox theology.

Cindy Brandt 8-19-2015

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Here’s the thing: I live in a country that is predominantly Buddhist. Here, little kids are taught to hold incense and kneel and bow at ancestor tablets and a variety of gods. Do you know how cute it is to see a little kid praying with pure devotion to a Buddhist god? It is JUST AS CUTE as the blonde headed little girl singing Jesus Loves Me.

A child’s faith is not a testimony of the power of God to evangelize them. It demonstrates how malleable and impressionable children are to the faith values exposed to them at a young age. Children must trust wholeheartedly in order to survive. Their dependence on adults undergirds their entire worldview. Like it or not, as parents we are entrusted with this enormous responsibility to build the structures of faith in which our children will inevitably live fully into, especially when they are little.

Because of this drastic inequality of power between adults and our dependent children, we must take tender care to wield our tremendous spiritual influence on them in a way that is respectful of their autonomy, that listens to their concerns, that empowers them to grow into wholeness, and to ultimately make their own faith choices. We must always be aware of the power differential even as we act as the portal through which they come to know God.

Monty Brinton / CBS ©2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc / RNS

Josh Canfield and Reed Kelly previously competed on the reality TV show “Survivor.” Photo courtesy of Monty Brinton / CBS ©2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. / RNS

Canfield and Kelly have decided to keep singing each Sunday at Hillsong, despite the restrictions. They recognize that the decision they’ve made is not one that every person in their position should make. But they believe it is the right one for them.

“If every gay person leaves their church because they have been treated poorly, nothing will change,” Canfield said.

“They still want us, and we feel called to stay. And we’re telling all our gay friends at Hillsong to do the same.”

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