The Narrow-Minded and Mean-Spirited Attitude of the Evangelical “Pharisees” Who Oppose Trump

Back in July 2017 I wrote the following about the Trump presidency:

His campaign and presidency has shed light on a troubling wing of American evangelicalism willing to embrace nationalism, populism, fear of outsiders and anger. The leaders of this wing trade their evangelical witness for a mess of political pottage and a Supreme Court nomination.

Not all evangelicals are on board, of course. Most black evangelicals are horrified by Trump’s failure to understand their history and his willingness to serve as a hero of the alt-right movement.

The 20 percent of white evangelicals who did not vote for Trump — many of whom are conservative politically and theologically — now seem to have a lot more in common with mainline Protestants. Some in my own circles have expressed a desire to leave their evangelical churches in search of a more authentic form of Christianity.

This comes from a Washington Post piece titled “Trump threatens to change the course of American Christianity.”

In the past couple of days we have seen evangelical defenders of Donald Trump make some serious accusations against fellow evangelicals who do not support this presidency.  For example, Robert Jeffress of First Baptist Church–Dallas said the “Christianity Today evangelicals” do not “take the Bible seriously.”  Now Steven Strang, the editor of Charisma magazine and the author of God and Donald Trump, is saying those who do not support Trump are “narrow-minded, mean spirited and blind to the fact that he has accepted Christ.”  He compares us to the Pharisees.

Indeed, American evangelicalism is fracturing.

I have read Strang’s God and Donald Trump.  I think it provides the best (primary source) introduction to the Independent Network Charismatic (INC) wing of the court evangelical coalition.  Strang and many of the folks who read Charisma believe that God anointed Trump for such a time as this.  These spiritual leaders claim that God spoke to them and told them that Trump is a new King Cyrus, an unbelieving pagan monarch chosen by God to lead His people out of bondage and into the new promised land of a Christian nation.  When Christians get control of the culture, Jesus will return.

God and Donald Trump is endorsed by court evangelicals within and without the INC movement, including Michelle Bachman, Kenneth Copeland, Robert Jeffress, and Mike Huckabee. In telling the story of the campaign from the INC perspective, Strang claims Trump is a Christian because he opposes abortion, reads the Bible, prays every day, stands up to liberals, defends religious freedom, and believes in the “American Dream.”  Strang relishes in the anger displayed by anti-Trumpers in the wake of the election.  His book reads like a Trump victory lap.  Strang accepts Trump’s claims of election fraud, attacks Trump’s critics for their “divisiveness,” labels Trump’s opponents “demonic,” defends Fox News, and proclaims Trump a “spiritual remedy for America.”

I say much more about the INC wing of court evangelicalism in Believe Me: The Evangelical Road to Donald Trump.  The good folks at Eerdmans Publishing tell me that pre-orders are very important for getting the message of this book out to as many people as possible.  Thanks for considering a pre-order.

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