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Christian Evangelism isn't a Political Party

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  • Christian Evangelism isn't a Political Party

    William Lane Craig recently discussed an article about Brian McLaren called "breaking with Evangelicals" (I think this might be the article), and Dr. Craig makes some fantastic points that "Evangelical Christianity" is not a political movement.

    I'd link the podcast, but I don't think it's on his website yet. However, here are some highlights where Dr. Craig points out that Evangelicalism is NOT a political movement. Something that a lot of skeptics (and even Christians) on this forum seem to be confused about.

    Source: Brian McLaren Breaks up with Evangelicals

    An Evangelical is theologically defined, an evangelical is someone who is committed to historic Christian orthodoxy: The deity of Christ, substitutionary atonement, the need for personal conversion, and faith in Christ, salvation by grace. These are the earmarks of Evangelical Christianity, and it would indeed be a matter of deep concern if he [McLaren] decided to walk away from Evangelical Christianity, but that's not what he means by the "Conservative Evangelical Project". As he says earlier in the article he became disenchanted with the political project to which Evangelicalism was giving it's soul.

    . . .

    He's not talking theology here, Kevin, he's talking about politics. And what he's describing for us in this article is why he's not politically conservative, but he's politically progressive. Now what I think what's unfortunate about that is that he thereby identifies Evangelical Christianity with a political movement or persuasion, and that's wrong. Evangelical Christianity is a theology and among Evangelicals there are those who are conservatives, others who are moderates, others who are progressives, and in ceasing to be a political conservative, he shouldn't pin the blame on Evangelicalism, or describe it as walking away from Evangelicalism. I think that's falling into the trap of those who see Evangelical Christianity as a kind of political movement, and that is very wrong, and something that we need to repudiate very forcefully. Evangelical Christianity is not a political movement.

    . . .

    The word Evangelical originated during, I think, during the late 1940s or so, when people like Billy Graham, Carl Henry, Harold Ockenga, others, wanted to distinguish themselves from the old line Fundamentalism of people like Carl McIntire for example. And they wanted to disassociate their Christian belief from the anti-intellectualism and cultural isolationism of Fundamentalism, but in terms of theological doctrine Evangelicals have been committed to the same theological fundamentals as Fundamentalism. What's odd about this, is according to what I've read at least, in the popular perception of our culture the word "Evangelical" has now become just as hated a term as "Fundamentalism" was, and maybe perhaps more so, so that in the long run changing terminology doesn't really work, uh, these terms get degraded after several decades of use, and you find yourself branded with the same sort of bigotry and regressive thinking that you wanted to disassociate yourself from.

    © Copyright Original Source



    Craig points out that instead one could point out that they're simply an orthodox Christian, but of course that invites confusion in thinking that one is Orthodox (big O). It might be simpler to say that one is just a "Christian".
    Last edited by Adrift; 03-18-2017, 04:01 AM.

  • #2
    80% of white evangelicals voted for Trump. I agree that US evangelicals shouldn't be so heavily politicized (evangelicals aren't remotely as politicized in other countries). But they have been very politicized in the US since the 1970s and the "Moral Majority" movement, when a group of political hucksters spotted that evangelical Christians weren't much into politics and saw an opportunity to try and get more votes for their own party by conning the evangelicals Christians into voting as a bloc for their party, and the evangelicals fell for it hook line and sinker.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Starlight View Post
      80% of white evangelicals voted for Trump. I agree that US evangelicals shouldn't be so heavily politicized (evangelicals aren't remotely as politicized in other countries). But they have been very politicized in the US since the 1970s and the "Moral Majority" movement, when a group of political hucksters spotted that evangelical Christians weren't much into politics and saw an opportunity to try and get more votes for their own party by conning the evangelicals Christians into voting as a bloc for their party, and the evangelicals fell for it hook line and sinker.
      You've stated over and over again that you've put me on ignore, so I should find it surprising that you're the first one to post in my thread, but, of course, I'm not surprised. I knew for a fact that you couldn't help read and post in this thread. I'm just that lovable.

      This thread is about Theological Evangelicalism, not about the narrowed down demographic in America chosen by some kid in New Zealand who has demonstrated time and again he has no idea what he's talking about.

      Source: https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/no-the-majority-of-american-evangelicals-did-not-vote-for-trump


      No, the Majority of American Evangelicals Did Not Vote for Trump

      How did American evangelicals vote in the 2016 election?

      Based on polling data and news sources, you might be under the impression that an overwhelming number of evangelicals—more than 80 percent—voted for Donald Trump. But this isn’t quite accurate. There isn’t any way to truly know what percentage of evangelicals voted for our president-elect. But using a more nuanced analysis we can reasonably estimate that somewhere between 35 percent and 45 percent of all evangelicals in America voted for Trump.

      Why are the media reports so off the mark? Here are four reasons:

      1. Exit polls do not capture the ‘evangelical’ vote, only the ‘white evangelical’ vote.

      All conclusions about 2016 voting patterns reported by the media are based on a single survey conducted by Edison Research. (Edison collected the survey for the National Election Pool, a consortium of ABC News, Associated Press, CBS News, CNN, Fox News, and NBC News.) While there are reasons to be skeptical of exit polls in general (e.g., they don’t use a random sample), let’s assume that this poll is sufficiently reliable as far as the factors it was able to measure. For this reason alone, we should be leery of claims made about “evangelical” voters.

      This exit poll survey asked people to self-identify their religion from a range of choices. You could, for instance, choose to identify as evangelical on the survey—but only if you are white. If you’re an evangelical of non-white race or ethnicity—Latino, black, Asian, and so on—your closest option was to identify as “Protestant or other Christian.” As far as this exit poll is concerned, the label “evangelical” is reserved for whites only.

      This means the exit poll literally has no way to determine how evangelicals voted. It doesn’t even try to do so. Like the media that commissioned the survey, it is merely interested in the subset of evangelicals who happen to be white.

      UPDATE: A reader who had worked as a survey taker sent me a picture of the questionnaire. It turns out the actual question on the form is, “Would you describe yourself as a born-again or evangelical Christian?” Race is not included on that question. And yet in every media report I’ve found (Pew research, New York Times, CNN) they all imply the question is only about “white born-again or evangelical Christians.” If the media has data on how black and Latino evangelicals voted, why aren’t they releasing that info?

      2. The exit poll conflates ‘evangelical’ and ‘born-again.’

      For more than a decade, observers of religion in America have attempted to point out to both media and pollsters that the terms “evangelical” and “born-again” are not synonymous. It’s a subtle, but substantial, distinction: While almost all evangelicals would describe themselves as “born-again,” not all who identify as a born-again Christian would say they are evangelical. For example, some Mormons even consider themselves to be “born again Chrisitians,” yet no evangelicals (that I’ve ever known) would consider Mormonism a branch of evangelicalism.

      Yet on this exit poll voters could choose to identify as a “white evangelical or white born-again Christian.” Because the two groups have been lumped together into one category, it’s impossible to determine how many non-evangelical, born-again Christians are being counted.

      3. Many cultural Christians who never go to church identify as ‘evangelical’ or ‘born-again.’

      Polling companies aren’t to blame for how respondents answer questions about their religious identity. Still, any poll or survey that merely asks someone to identify as “evangelical” or “born-again” without any additional clarifying questions should be viewed with skepticism.

      “There's a form of cultural Christianity that causes people to respond with 'evangelical' and 'born-again' as long as they're not Catholic, even though they haven't been in a church since Vacation Bible School as a kid,” said Russell Moore, a TGC Council member and president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention.

      To the media, such distinctions may be unimportant. But if we are seeking a fair and accurate representation of actual evangelicals, it’s important to distinguish them from those who do not truly subscribe to evangelical beliefs and practices.

      4. Exit polls only tell us about the people who have voted.

      While this point may seem obvious, misleading extrapolations based on exit poll numbers are the norm. For example, many people will look at the exit poll data and claim that 81 percent of (white) evangelicals voted for Donald Trump. But this is not what the exit polls reveal. The data merely show that 81 percent of (white) evangelicals who voted voted for Trump. Again, the poll doesn't even attempt to represent a survey of all evangelicals, merely a subset of a subset.

      According to the United States Elections Project, there were an estimated 231,556,622 Americans eligible to vote, but only 131,741,000 voted. That means only 56.8 percent of the eligible population voted, and 43.2 percent of the eligible population did not.

      Let’s look at a simple model based on these figures and built on the assumption that the number of evangelical voters/non-voters matches the general population.

      Imagine there are only 100 self-professed white evangelicals in America. Based on the exit data we could say that out of those 100 only 57 voted in the election, and that out of those 57, only 46 (81 percent of 57) voted for Trump. Therefore, instead of saying 81 percent of white evangelicals voted for Trump, a more accurate claim would be that 46 percent of white evangelicals who were eligible to vote did so. In other words more evangelicals did not vote for Trump (or Clinton) than voted for him (or her).

      Although the accuracy of this 46 percent figure is debatable, it provides an upper-limit estimate for how many evangelicals actually voted for Trump. While it may be lower, it cannot be (much) higher.

      More Reasonable Estimate

      Indeed, if we add in the number of non-white evangelicals (about 20 percent), the number of evangelicals ineligible to vote because of a felony conviction (since 28.9 percent of Americans identify as evangelical and 6.5 million Americans have a felony conviction, we can estimate that nearly 1.7 million would be ineligible), the number of “culturally Christian” voters who identified as evangelical, and so on, the actual number of evangelical Trump voters would be even lower, likely between one-third (roughly 35 percent) and two-fifths (about 40 percent).

      Whether you consider that final estimated number to be too high or too low, one thing is certain: it is substantially less than the 81 percent figure that is being touted as representing the voting figures for our faith community.

      Before we opine on what evangelical voting behavior means, we should first make certain our claims are based on reasonably accurate assumptions about how evangelicals voted—or didn’t vote.

      Addendum: One more category from the exit poll that is worthy of notice is the “Best description of vote.” While the majority of Democratic voters said, “I strongly favor my candidate” (53 percent), only 42 percent of Republicans said the same. The majority of Republicans said the best description of their vote was “I dislike the other candidates” (51 percent).

      Assuming the same percentage is true for white evangelicals who voted Republican, we can make a rough estimate and conclude that the majority voted for Trump because they did not like Clinton. We can also assume that approximately only 1 in 5 of all evangelicals (about 18 percent) strongly favored Trump—about the same as the number that strongly favored Clinton (an estimated 19 percent).

      © Copyright Original Source

      Last edited by Adrift; 03-18-2017, 05:13 AM.

      Comment


      • #4
        Evangelicals: Sola Scriptura, believer's baptism, vote pro-life(pro-birth), anti-gay marriage/anti thing that normalizes homosexual lifestyle in the public square regardless of other effectss, possibly homeschool and dislike Obama?
        For the sarcastically impaired the following is said in jest

        That's their denomination, right?

        I am become death...

        Comment


        • #5
          Religion is inextricably political. Evangelism may not be a political party but it's impossible for any religion, particularly a major one, to escape politics.
          "As for my people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them. O my people, they which lead thee cause thee to err, and destroy the way of thy paths." Isaiah 3:12

          There is no such thing as innocence, only degrees of guilt.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Starlight View Post
            80% of white evangelicals voted for Trump.
            When Trump is unique even among republicans in explicitly wanting to protect Christians and the opposition party is openly anti-Christian it's surprising it's just 80%.
            "As for my people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them. O my people, they which lead thee cause thee to err, and destroy the way of thy paths." Isaiah 3:12

            There is no such thing as innocence, only degrees of guilt.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Darth Executor View Post
              When Trump is unique even among republicans in explicitly wanting to protect Christians and the opposition party is openly anti-Christian it's surprising it's just 80%.
              As much as I detest the mixing of religion and politics I find myself in agreement with your analysis.
              The liberal antagonism for normalcy of any sort - the exaltation they offer for anything deviant and broken - puzzles me to no end.
              So yeah, if he only got 80% of the evangelical vote then he failed hard.
              Actually YOU put Trump in the White House. He wouldn't have gotten 1% of the vote if it wasn't for the widespread spiritual and cultural devastation caused by progressive policies. There's no "this country" left with your immigration policies, your "allies" are worthless and even more suicidal than you are and democracy is a sick joke that I hope nobody ever thinks about repeating when the current order collapses. - Darth_Executor striking a conciliatory note in Civics 101

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Adrift View Post
                William Lane Craig recently discussed an article about Brian McLaren called "breaking with Evangelicals" (I think this might be the article), and Dr. Craig makes some fantastic points that "Evangelical Christianity" is not a political movement.
                #1: While I appreciate Craig's careful and technically correct adherence to the definition of the term 'Evangelical' at some point it becomes incumbent upon the speaker (or author) to understand that words do change meaning over time and to subsequently adapt. The term 'Evangelical' is a de facto political term and it may be necessary to abandon it. Either that or the Evangelical is forever going to be caught in the task of explaining what he/she is not which is an awful way to have to begin a conversation. I feel the same way about the term 'marriage' which now means 'an formal arrangement between two adults regarding property rights'. I refuse to let the opposition cart around the romantic connotations of a word - if they're going to debase the language then I'm going to run it to its conclusion and leave the corpse on their linguistic porch.

                #2: My path isn't for everyone; however, I've take Paul's approach to heart where he wrote "I purposed to know nothing among you but Christ crucified." I've many friends who are gay, who use drugs, or are otherwise minorities or poor. Because of this I don't vote and I've tried to get as far away from politics as I can manage. I don't want to have to explain why I voted against interests in which they are totally invested (they are wrong to be this invested but Christ had to work past quite a bit of my garbage to get to me). I don't care to convince anyone of a political position - if I toss that baggage aside I get to actually speak with a real human being from time to time. I wish we could do more of that on TWEB but the opposition (baby eating atheists) get so worked up and defensive that a real conversation is next to impossible. I don't blame them. Again, this path isn't for everyone.
                Actually YOU put Trump in the White House. He wouldn't have gotten 1% of the vote if it wasn't for the widespread spiritual and cultural devastation caused by progressive policies. There's no "this country" left with your immigration policies, your "allies" are worthless and even more suicidal than you are and democracy is a sick joke that I hope nobody ever thinks about repeating when the current order collapses. - Darth_Executor striking a conciliatory note in Civics 101

                Comment


                • #9
                  We've had several discussions here concerning the meaning of such terms as fundamentalist and evangelical and how in popular society they've become pejoratives, essentially meaning a bigoted, self-righteous and ignorant person. Needless to say that is not what many Christians mean by the terms.

                  I'm always still in trouble again

                  "You're by far the worst poster on TWeb" and "TWeb's biggest liar" --starlight (the guy who says Stalin was a right-winger)
                  "Of course, human life begins at fertilization that’s not the argument." --Tassman

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by rogue06 View Post
                    We've had several discussions here concerning the meaning of such terms as fundamentalist and evangelical and how in popular society they've become pejoratives, essentially meaning a bigoted, self-righteous and ignorant person. Needless to say that is not what many Christians mean by the terms.
                    This fact makes me want to wear those labels prominently, even though they may only loosely describe my actual beliefs.

                    Deplorable me.
                    Geislerminian Antinomian Kenotic Charispneumaticostal Gender Mutualist-Egalitarian.

                    Beige Nationalist.

                    "Everybody is somebody's heretic."

                    Social Justice is usually the opposite of actual justice.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Darth Executor View Post
                      Religion is inextricably political. Evangelism may not be a political party but it's impossible for any religion, particularly a major one, to escape politics.
                      Jesus' message was distinctly apolitical. The closest he came to making a political statement was "Give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and give to God what belongs to God." If I had to give him a political label, I would say socially progressive and morally conservative.
                      Some may call me foolish, and some may call me odd
                      But I'd rather be a fool in the eyes of man
                      Than a fool in the eyes of God


                      From "Fools Gold" by Petra

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Mountain Man View Post
                        Jesus' message was distinctly apolitical. The closest he came to making a political statement was "Give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and give to God what belongs to God." If I had to give him a political label, I would say socially progressive and morally conservative.
                        The point is that what you truly believe will impact strongly how you relate to the world. Because I believe the Bible my political views are impacted.
                        Micah 6:8 He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Mountain Man View Post
                          Jesus' message was distinctly apolitical. The closest he came to making a political statement was "Give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and give to God what belongs to God."
                          There's a lot of anti-rich pro-poor themes in Jesus' message. He seems to be to the left of Marx in the sense that he doesn't merely think the rich are terrible, he literally thinks they are going to hell.

                          If I had to give him a political label, I would say socially progressive and morally conservative.
                          Er, I would have said those labels are the exact opposites.

                          I think it's very difficult to judge Jesus' political views on moral issues. He hung out with prostitutes, and social outcasts. Yes there are verses that imply that they and others should change their lives, but those are not strongly emphasized. It's hard to say, I think, how Jesus would rule today on 'moral issues' if you teleported him into the present.

                          Economic issues are easy. Jesus would be all for programs to help the poor, sick, needy, downtrodden etc. He'd be as lefty-left as they come.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Starlight View Post
                            Economic issues are easy. Jesus would be all for programs to help the poor, sick, needy, downtrodden etc. He'd be as lefty-left as they come.
                            This is a claim that's often made but it ignores what Jesus actually said. What he said repeatedly was that people should be helping out those less fortunate. What he did not say was that the government should be forcing people to do that, or that the government would be the best group to try to set up such programs rather than charities that people would voluntarily give to.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Terraceth View Post
                              What he did not say was that the government should be forcing people to do that, or that the government would be the best group to try to set up such programs rather than charities that people would voluntarily give to.
                              I agree that Jesus only specified the goal (help the less fortunate) and not the method (precisely how it should be done). Government being involved in helping the poor is a fairly modern invention, and it is anachronistic to try to apply any modern distinction of government vs non-governmental charities to the words of Jesus. Jesus' concern was that the poor get helped, and in the gospels we don't find careful modern philosophical and political distinctions about how that help gets to them.

                              I think as a matter of simple logic and basic evidence, that modern government programs are on the whole much, much better at helping the poor than voluntary charities. Voluntary charities do not receive enough in donations to give sufficient help to all their poor, and their coverage is highly uneven with charities in richer areas being well-supplied while charities in poorer areas are lacking. Central planning is self-evidently needed to ensure even levels of quality care are applied across all geographical areas, and compulsory taxation is necessary in order to supply enough money to fund the activity.

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