Some Evangelicals I know are among the best people I know. And yet, Evangelicalism, the religion, demands critique. So let's review:
Evangelicalism idolizes the bible, elevating it to the fourth person of the Trinity, forgetting that believers existed before and while the bible was written. In other words, believers existed without a bible to read or hear for very long periods of time. How on earth did ancients get along without a bible? How did they worship, pray, extend kindness to strangers--without a bible?
Evangelicalism preaches Jesus but not the teachings of Jesus. Evangelicalism will tell you Jesus is God. But Evangelicalism will not tell you Jesus taught the following: 'When you give a party, invite the poor, the lame, the cripple, the blind--for they can't repay you' (Luke 14:13) or 'If you lend money to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you?' (Luke 6:34) or 'Anyone who calls a brother an idiot will answer for it in hell fire.' (Matthew 5:22).
Evangelicalism would howl with laughter that a Pope could be 'infallible' in doctrine (as Catholicism teaches), but how many of Evangelicalism's preachers ascend pulpits thinking they could descend into theological error? How many of Evangelicalism's preachers ever began a sermon with the words, 'I could be wrong'?
In politics, Evangelicalism's tail wags the dog: politics determines Evangelicalism's interpretation of theology, not vice versa. Jesus, a penniless wandering preacher, is pressed into conservative politics, even though Jesus taught the following: 'It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God' (Matthew 19: 24) and 'No one can serve two masters because you will hate the one and love the other or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other: so you cannot serve both God and money' (Matthew 6: 24) and (it bears repeating) 'If you lend money to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you?' (Luke 6:34) and 'Blessed are you who are poor' (Luke 6:20). These words of Jesus are filtered through right-wing moneymaking ideology and bent to mean the very opposite of what they say.
In 2016 Evangelicalism went so far as to perform an act of casuistry that permitted it to embrace a presidential candidate who was the very model of Christ's opposite--only because the candidate espoused conservative politics.
- Evangelicalism is 'non-denominational' Christianity, which is actually just another denomination among a long list of thousands of Christian denominations. There is no escaping denominationalism since a denomination is just a 'kind' of Christianity, a type, a version. Evangelicalism claims 'non-denominational' status to declare itself the original and true version of Christianity. But all denominations claim the first decades of Christianity in their lineage, and all denominations claim they are uniquely true.
I hurry to repeat what I said at the beginning: Some Evangelicals I know are among the best people I know. They never degrade immigrants, never demean women, never grope good-looking strangers, never mock the disabled, never humiliate the overweight, never embarrass the ugly, never vilify a rival political party. They are, in fact, better than Evangelicalism. Better than their religion.
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