It looks like Baylor University historian Thomas Kidd is no longer comfortable using the label “evangelical” to describe his religious identity. I don’t blame him.
Here is a taste of his Gospel Coalition post, “Is the Term ‘Evangelical’ Redeemable?“:
Before the 2016 election, I was comfortable with using the term “evangelical” for people like me, in spite of the problems with it. Now I am not so sure. The reason is that, whatever its historic value, the word “evangelical” in America has become inextricably tied to Republican politics. This is because the dominant media is far more interested in the political expressions of religion than in religion itself.
But it is also because strong majorities of white evangelicals support Republican candidates, including Donald Trump. Because it has become inextricably politicized, “evangelical” has become an essentially divisive term among Bible-believing Christians, as many African Americans, Hispanics, and others cannot identify with the political ramifications of being an “evangelical,” especially after the election of President Trump.
Historians (including me) will keep on using the term “evangelical” and examining what it has meant in the past. But in public references to ourselves, it is probably time to put “evangelical” on the shelf…
Read the entire post here.
Kidd is making me wonder if I need to revisit this tweet from November 8, 2016:
— John Fea (@JohnFea1) November 9, 2016