The *Pittsburgh Post-Gazette* on Evangelical Diversity in the Wake of the *Christianity Today* Editorial

Believe Me 3dHere is Peter Smith, one of the best religion reporters on the beat.  He gave me a chance to contribute to his piece:

Here is a taste:

These dynamics aren’t surprising to John Fea, a professor of history at Messiah College and author of “Believe Me: The Evangelical Road to Donald Trump.”

Mr. Fea, an evangelical never-Trumper, dedicated his book “To the 19 percent,” alluding to the near-mythical “81 percent” figure often applied to white evangelical Trump voters in 2016 exit polls. 

Mr. Fea, whose arguments about Trump’s character and actions are similar to those cited by Christianity Today, said he got similarly varied and volatile reactions during his book tour in 2018. 

Some evangelicals disputed his arguments, saying Mr. Trump has delivered for evangelicals on long-sought policies, while other evangelicals supported him.

“What Christianity Today did was give voice [to the same kind of people] who came up to me and said, ‘Thank you, I know I’m not alone,’” Mr. Fea said.

They may still be largely alone — Mr. Fea isn’t expecting the editorial to cause a big shift among evangelicals. But given how close the 2016 election was, it may help shave off enough of Mr. Trump’s evangelical support to make a difference in 2020, he said.

And Christianity Today, whose cover stories in recent years have ranged from India and Thailand to Vietnam and Nigeria, is also looking at its broader constituency with diverse political views.

Mr. Fea said he’s heard “story after story” about American missionaries who face tensions with the local populace who assume that the missionaries fit the dominant political stereotype of American evangelicals. This editorial may help give them some distance, he said.

Gina A. Zurlo, co-director of the Center for the Study of Global Christianity, estimated that the United States has about 65 million evangelicals, more than any single country but dwarfed by the 355 worldwide as of 2015, with particularly large populations in Nigeria, China, Brazil and Ethiopia.

Read the entire piece here.  I appreciate Smith’s sensitivity to the global influence of Christianity Today.