Katelyn Beaty Weighs-In on the Wheaton Consultation on Evangelicalism


Beaty is a writer and the former managing editor of Christianity Today.  She attended the consultation (get up to speed here) and published a few tweets before she was asked to stop.  Beaty’s piece confirms the CBN report that two members of the consultation left because they believed the meeting was too anti-Trump.  (If I read Beaty correctly, it is more accurate to say that they did not come back for the second day.  The CBN report made it sound like they stormed-out of the room in protest).  Beaty also confirms that John Kasich was invited, but did not attend the consultation.

In the end, Beaty did not leave Wheaton with a very good feeling about the meeting.  She describes a meeting that lacked focus and any real sense of unity.  Her take on the generational divide among the participants is telling about the state of American evangelicalism.

Here is a taste of her recap, published at The New Yorker:

In early correspondence to participants, Birdsall wrote that part of the summit would be devoted to crafting a “pastoral letter,” a statement, to speak for Christians dismayed by the growing alignment with Trump. The goal was to disentangle the word “evangelical” from its current attachment with far-right partisan politics and re-center it on Christ and the church. The statement was originally slated to be released before June, in advance of a meeting between a thousand evangelical leaders and President Trump. But, days before we arrived at Wheaton, Birdsall clarified to attendees that our gathering was not meant to be held in opposition to the June meeting. He pointed out that he had planned the event long before the one with Trump became public. Organizers seemed to be getting nervous that their efforts would be seen as partisan and anti-Trump. After two days of often tense conversations, it became clear that no statement would be released at all.

Read the entire piece here.

2 thoughts on “Katelyn Beaty Weighs-In on the Wheaton Consultation on Evangelicalism

  1. It is interesting that the vocally enthusiastic evangelical Trump supporters are pretty much in unison lock-step while those who have varying degrees of discomfort have great difficulty speaking with one voice since they have different perspectives on the issue.

    I feel like there is a clear message there about the difference between a mindset that is willing to subordinate/sacrifice all other concerns to the single goal of obtaining and maintaining political power, versus a mindset that is unwilling to elevate that goal above all others. Any belief differences between people with the first mindset become all but irrelevant because for them only one thing truly matters. Belief differences in the second group are pronounced because each is coming at the situation with different points of emphasis which are viewed as more or less paramount by different people.

    It may also say something about the difference between an authority-driven monolithic faith approach versus one willing to acknowledge measures of nuance . . . but that may be stretching it a bit. Not sure.

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