Kyle Roberts: 8 Reasons Why Evangelicals Still Trust Trump

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Kyle Roberts understands the Court Evangelicals.  Check out his post at Unsystematic Theology.  Here are his 8 reasons why evangelicals still trust Trump:

  1.  Trump attracts authoritarians, and evangelicals are authoritarian by training.
  2.  Evangelicals aren’t really interested in morality, they’re interest in power.
  3.  Evangelicals aren’t really interested in truth, they’re interested in power.
  4.  Evangelicals are intensely individualistic.
  5.  Evangelicalism is “prosperity gospel-lite.”
  6.  Evangelicalism haven’t come to terms with their own racism.
  7.  The Jesus of evangelicalism is not exactly the Jesus of the Gospels.
  8.  Evangelicals are anxious about their mortality–like everyone else.

Read how Roberts unpacks these points here.

What if we thought historically about these points:

  • Evangelicalism has always gravitated to strong, authoritarian leaders, although in the past two generations they have gravitated toward political authoritarian leaders like never before.
  • Historically, I am not sure there is such a clear distinction between the evangelical pursuit of morality and the evangelical pursuit of power.  Evangelicalism has tried to maintain cultural power to promote their moral view of America since the time of the founding.  This was a driving theme of my book The Bible Cause.
  • Historically, evangelicals have always been interested in truth.  This, of course, does not mean that they have not also been interested in power.
  • Evangelicals have always been individualistic.
  • Have evangelicals always been “prosperity gospel-lite?”  I think you can make a historical case that this has been true, to one degree or another, for American middle-class evangelicals.
  • Evangelicals and racism have gone hand-in-hand in American history.  But evangelicalism has also provided theological resources to end slavery and other forms of racism.  We will find a lot of darkness in the history of American evangelicalism, but we will also find a lot of light.
  • Yes–evangelicals have always been anxious about their mortality.

One thought on “Kyle Roberts: 8 Reasons Why Evangelicals Still Trust Trump

  1. Eh, I don’t buy Roberts’ analysis. Roberts admits that he is using broad brushstrokes, but that is the problem, particularly if one thinks of evangelicalism historically. What he says is true of some evangelicals, but evangelicalism has always been a diverse, fragmented, messy animal. Some have been attracted to authoritarian leaders, but if we think about the range of historic evangelicalism, including pietists, Presbyterian evangelicals, or democratized evangelicals, or para-church evangelical agencies (which, by their nature, resist authoritarianism — can you name an authoritarian NEA leader?), this doesn’t hold up. Evangelicals who are interested in power are attracted to power. These who are not attracted to power do not get noticed. Again, what about those who have been the driving force behind non-profit agencies or voluntary associations, to name one example? Evangelicals are individualistic, it is true. But individualism cuts many different ways in the modern world. Which Americans (aside from the Amish) are not individualistic? A secular, socialistic American might be collective in their economic thinking, but individualistic in their thinking about personal relationships or morality. I could go on, with the other points, but we need a much clearer and nuanced definition of evangelicalism than what is assumed here.

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