Remaining Evangelical in the Age of Trump

Believe Me 3dDuring my travels promoting Believe Me: The Evangelical Road to Donald Trump, I have met dozens of folks who have left evangelical churches because of political polarization and the way evangelicals have supported Donald Trump.  I have also met a lot of people–especially young people–who have left Christianity altogether for this reason.  I have chosen to remain an “evangelical” largely because I believe in the “good news” of the Gospel.  In my own life, I continue to find David Bebbington’s “Quadrilateral” to define my faith.  I believe in the redemptive power of Jesus’s death on the cross.  I believe in the authority of the inspired Bible in my life.  I believe that Christians must embrace the Gospel through a conversion experience.  And I believe that my faith requires some degree of activism–whether it be evangelism or works of social justice and service in the world.

Madeleine Davies, the deputy news and features editor at the Church Times, also remains evangelical in the age of Trump.  Here is a taste of her piece at Financial Times:

After evensong last month, a priest from a different wing of the Church asked me why I considered myself evangelical and I found myself talking about my childhood. After my mother died when I was 12, it was people in an evangelical church that rallied round and, significantly, helped me to reconcile what had happened with my faith.

They never attempted to explain away this horrifying event, but they offered practical help to my family and, drawing on scripture, affirmed my belief in resurrection and heaven. Certainty can constrict, but it can also feel like blessed assurance, like standing on very solid earth. As a teenager, the God I learnt about was both infinitely powerful and as close as a friend you could call on in the middle of the night when you were terrified by the thought that everyone else you loved would die. My small heart heard God say, “Come and talk with me”, as the psalm puts it.

Read the entire piece here.

11 thoughts on “Remaining Evangelical in the Age of Trump

  1. I came to Christ through a fundamentalist church. But not one like the stereotypes. Very gracious people. Very non legalistic. Very little political talk.
    Just quietly teaching and encouraging people to develop their own gifts and ways of serving as they chose in their own neighborhoods or wherever.
    Sound teachers. A humble pastor.
    Of course that kind of church had to die out in our area.
    Now I go and participate in a church with nice people. But I am utterly out of sync with the political aspect, much of which is not a good example of the love of Christ in my opinion.


    • Jeff,
      Well, the idea of “the love of Christ” has to be applied in specific situations in order to be clearly defined. It can be nothing more than an empty abstraction if we are not careful. Christ, during his earthly ministry, behaved in many perplexing ways which 21st Century Americans would not call loving. It is easy for us to read the Bible with humanistic, democratic, American spectacles. As I grow older, I come increasingly to believe in the wisdom of G.K. Chesterton’s quote regarding “the democracy of the dead.” Two thousand years of Christians from other nations who have preceded us also deserve a vote.


  2. I read your comment to mean that because your Christian friends and family differ from you politically, you question their ability to think rationally.

    Can’t they simply disagree with you in good faith? How would you respond if they questioned your mental acuity for not agreeing with them?


    • Take for instance Trump’s recent expression of admiration for a man for attacking someone who had no reason to expect a physical assault.
      I can’t rah rah that but some can.


      • Our pastor playmaker video with a dramatic narration about the bombardment of Ft. McHenry, (the narrator called it Ft. Henry!). It was at least 90% error. People were really moved. The climax was learning that during the bombardment the flag mast had broken and men rushed to it to hold it up. And when the shelling ceased and the air cleared the pole was leaning at a precarious angle because it was held up by a pile of the bodies of those men. We live a thirty minute drive from Ft. McHenry. We know how very big that flag is. My fellow believers were incapable of realizing how ludicrous this account was.
        By the way, a total of four dead and twenty-five wounded was the American toll.
        A nice narration and heart stirring music and images allowed them to suspend reasoning.
        I talked to the pastor who only admitted it was off on a few points. It was only right that there was a big flag, a fort, and a bombardment.


  3. One of the biggest struggles in my life today is maintaining fellowship with the majority of the believers in my church and social circle.
    Most of them are diehard Trumpers. At church, atbible studies, and with family there is always time for conversations. Inevitably the talk is political and I find myself, in effect, hearing the Fox News commentary from everyone.
    It hasn’t caused me to question Christ. It has caused me to have my confidence in the ability to think rationally as Christians in my friends and family.
    I deeply appreciate the rare occasion of finding someone who hasn’t bought in on Trump. It reminds me of how Winston felt when he discovered Julia’s rebelliousness in “1984”.

    Liked by 1 person

      • No. I haven’t changed in my theological thinking since becoming a believer in 1978.
        Probably there are churches with people who are bible believers and apply those principles to their reasoning regarding politics and the issues of the day.


      • Jeff,
        Obviously, I have not been to all of the churches in the country……….but I probably have visited and read about more of them than the average American. Accordingly, with the understanding that there might well be exceptions, I personally know of no parish where both political liberalism, as it exists today in America, and orthodox Christianity coexist. Churches which tacitly buy into political and social liberalism have generally departed from traditional religious beliefs long before their secular views became evident.
        As someone who was reared in a dying Mainline Protestant denomination, I saw this phenomenon as a youngster and the broader ecclesiastical patterns have not changed in the many years since. Traditional Christian doctrine, as summarized in the historic creeds, is simply not held by the religious left. Furthermore, while lip-service is given to the Bible there are no politically liberal churches which thoughtfully use it as their primary source of faith and practice.


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