By Darrell Dow
“Conservative” orthodox Protestantism is a house divided, and what’s dividing it mirrors a broader political schism: nationalist populism versus elitist globalism. The struggle between the unwashed and their elitist masters — a division that increasingly defines modern politics — has come to church. Evangelicals in the pews are in the crosshairs of their own leaders.
Writing for Christianity Today in December, then-editor Mark Galli fired a shot at the Protestant hoi polloi. He disgorged an editorial that called for removing Donald Trump from office. Trump’s removal “is not a matter of partisan loyalties,” he wrote, “but loyalty to the Creator of the Ten Commandments.” That claim is utter nonsense and no faithful Christian need believe it. But that aside, Galli indicted every Christian Trump voter, no matter how reluctant.
But Galli was less concerned about the “grossly immoral conduct” of the president or “the reputation of evangelical religion” and the “world’s understanding of the gospel” than he was about his real target — the incipient national populism that Trump imperfectly embodies.
Galli has penned screeds directed at “identity politics” in the past, but his polemics were not aimed at Black Lives Matter, La Raza or Antifa. Instead, he directed his fire at Christian nationalism, the real villain he would exorcise from public life.
Unsurprisingly, he connected Christian nationalism to the New Zealand mosque shooter. “This form of identity politics is a version of Christian Nationalism,” Galli wrote. “While we think identity politics as a whole should be eschewed, this brand of identity politics we find particularly repulsive.”
Galli has also attacked Christians who believe in borders: ”To believe we should secure borders at the expense of welcoming the sojourner — that is immoral.”
There again is another ridiculous claim no serious Christian should accept, but such false dichotomies, straw men, and moral absolutes pepper the language of what Stephen Wolfe has called the “Evangelical State Theologian.” Wolfe says these “reconilers” are “de facto agents of the regime, working within those on the margin to nullify the threat to the regime.” The aim is to diminish the public role of orthodox and conservative Christian institutions that might frustrate the whims and desires of the secular globalist aristocracy.
Their role is to pacify and corral the threat that historic Christianity poses to secular liberalism by redefining Christian politics and restricting its influence. Political activity is reduced to advancing vague notions of religious liberty. The pursuit of political power to achieve specific ends for specific peoples is eschewed and even demonized, and replaced with bland calls for “moral witness.” But far from eschewing politics, these evangelical spokesmen are themselves pursuing power by providing a theological justification and defense for the actions of the Ruling Class.
Elites are often out of touch with those that they shepherd and rule. Commenting on Richard Nixon’s landslide in the 1972 election, New Yorker film critic Pauline Kael famously admitted her provincialism. “I live in a rather special world,” she said. “I only know one person who voted for Nixon. Where they are I don’t know. They’re outside my ken. But sometimes when I’m in a theater I can feel them.”
Evangelical elites are no different. Galli penned a similar confession in the book “Still Evangelical?” in which he admitted to being an “elite Evangelical” who often misunderstands the poor pewsitters.
“It’s as if we’re each speaking a different language,” he wrote:
That was certainly the shock some evangelicals felt after the election of Donald Trump, especially when they heard that 81 percent of white evangelicals voted for him. Most evangelical Christians like me exclaimed, “Who are these people? I know hardly anyone, let alone any evangelical Christian, who voted for Trump.”
Maybe Galli should emerge from the manse occasionally and he might talk to one or two.
Regrettably, the division between Evangelical elites and deplorables extends far beyond the precincts of publications like Christianity Today. Conservative branches of the Christian church have joined secular institutions to “tear down the patriarchy” and root out “white privilege.” And the infection has spread far beyond mainline Protestantism into the Presbyterian Church in America and the Southern Baptist Convention, America’s largest Protestant denomination, which boasts more than 47,000 congregations.
Cultural Marxism’s Trojan Horse has smuggled “racial reconciliation,” “social justice,” #MeToo, Black Liberation Theology, Critical Race Theory and Intersectional Feminism into conservative churches, where pastors proclaim them all from pulpits, conference lecterns, Twitter, and Facebook.
Not that we shouldn’t have expected it.
In 1995, Samuel Francis predicted the growing liberalization of traditionally conervative churches and denominations when he admonished the SBC for approving a resolution apologizing for slavery.
In a column for The Washington Times that landed him in hot water, Francis observed that the Bible does not condemn slavery and in fact regulates it:
Neither Jesus nor the apostles nor the early church condemned slavery, despite countless opportunities to do so, and there is no indication that slavery is contrary to Christian ethics or that any serious theologian before modern times ever thought it was.
Francis predicted that churches that subordinate Scripture to fashionable leftism would accept a “bastardized version of Christian ethics” infected with the “pseudo-Christian poison of equality.”
“Now that they’ve decided to join the parade toward that destination,” he wrote, “we can expect them to adopt some even more modern resolutions that will pave the road for them.”
Aside from a ritual denunciation marking the 150th anniversary of Dred Scott in 2007, SBC avoided racial politics until 2012, when it began virtue signalling.
- In 2012, the SBC narrowly approved a recommendation allowing Southern Baptist institutions to call themselves “Great Commission Baptists.”
- In 2015, it passed a resolution on “racial reconciliation.” Non-white leadership in churches, it said, must increase.
- In 2016, the SBC repudiated the Confederate Flag, a clear rejection of its own founding.
- In 2017, it denounced the “Alt Right” and “white supremacy,” neither of which were defined.
- In 2018, the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, SBC’s public policy arm, held a conference lionizing the lecherous heretic Martin Luther King Jr.
- And in 2019 the Convention adopted a resolution endorsing the use of Critical Race Theory and Intersectionality as an analytical tool.
Note how quickly the goalposts shifted from “reconciliation” to aggression against the interests of white Southerners and proselytization of aggressive anti-white politics and ideology.
Unsurprisingly, eight years after the naming fight in 2012 and with Americans streets on fire thanks to BLM’s “mostly peaceful protesters,” SBC president J. D. Greear favors killing the convention’s roots in the South and told The Washington Post that his church, still closed due to coronavirus, will indeed take the Great Commission name. The theme of next year’s annual gathering will be “We are Great Commission Baptists.”
Greear warned that he will rhetorically browbeat churches and Baptist entities into dropping “Southern” from their names because of the Blacks Lives Matter riots and manic iconoclasm.
“Our Lord Jesus was not a White Southerner but a brown-skinned Middle Eastern refugee,” huffed Greear,with great solemnity and the confidence of an anthropologist. “Every week we gather to worship a savior who died for the whole world, not one part of it. What we call ourselves should make that clear.”
Whatever Our Savior’s race or ethnicity, he was not a refugee, yet another leftist trope to justify open borders, but in any event Greear and his ruling-class cohort is out of touch with pastors and the pewsitters. Southern Baptist researchers found that more than 70 percent of Southern Baptist pastors think the official name should continue.
That aside, let’s put Greear’s comments into a broader context. In a video address in June, Greear discussed BLM. Around the 11-minute mark, he offered this:
We need to say it clearly as a Gospel issue: Black Lives Matter. Of course black lives matter. Our black brothers and sisters are made in the image of God. Black lives matter because Jesus died for them. Black lives are a beautiful part of God’s creation and. … we would be poorer as a people without them.
Every Christian confesses that all men are made in the Divine Image, but that is not all Greear said. He continued:
And by the way, let’s not respond by saying oh well all lives matter. Of course all lives matter. … Let’s spare each other the quotation of stats right now. You know if you talk to some black friends, you’ll know that they can tell you about their experiences, how some of them can be quite different from others in our country. We want rights and privileges to be extended to everybody.
What are the stats that pastor Greear demands ignoring? Whites are victims in more than 85 percent of interracial violent crimes between blacks and whites. The vast majority, more than 90 percent, of blacks are killed by other blacks, not evil white racists. Unarmed whites are more likely to be killed by police officers than unarmed blacks.
The entire thrust of BLM is a blood libel and calumny directed at white America and the church. It is a lie devised by the Father of Lies. Yet prominent American clergy parrott it as truth.
On a range of issues, Evangelical Elites regurgitate talking points that are indistinguishable from the utterances of Cultural Marxists that control American newsrooms and universities. These Evangelical leaders are little more than operatives of the liberal ideological regime and exist to secure the interests of a ruling class that hates Christ and His church. One hopes they have secured more than 30 pieces of silver for their services.
Darrell Dow is a contributor to American Remnant.
Great article. Only qualm is your early description of ‘orthodox Protestantism’ as divided. Where’s the division? Orthodox Protestant congregations hardly exist if you factor in CRT and civil rights as a test. It’s more like a few hundred, scattered individuals among a mass of state apparatus ideologues and NPC-consumers. Those of us who fundamentally disagree with the ruling class or global elite / middle-managers really have few places to go. Maybe our families and a few friends, but try to find a ‘church’. So, not sure where is the alleged division. This might have been a better descriptor in the seventies when there was some attempted, authentic push-back on our side of the dilemma, indeed in places like PCA and SBC. But since then, many of these eddies have dried up. What’s happening today is mostly consolidation, as you say, “reconciliation to aggression”.
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