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Saturday, November 19, 2016

News Weakly - 11/19/2016

Not All News is Bad News
The media has been smirking about how you dirty, rotten right-wing Christians all voted for Trump ... you know ... the guy known for groping women and hating Mexicans (as in "not Christian values"). The New York Times tells us that more than 80% of Evangelicals voted for Trump. As it turns out, it ain't necessarily so. Turns out that with "a more nuanced analysis we can reasonably estimate that somewhere between 35 percent and 45 percent of all evangelicals in America voted for Trump."

Of interest, also, from the New York Times story is the category, "Best description of vote". Given "I strongly favor my candidate", "I like my candidate but with reservations", and "I dislike the other candidates", 51% of those who were polled said they disliked the other candidates. I think this is for both camps, of course. Many voted for whom they voted not because they wanted to, but because the alternative was appalling. From that perspective, it would appear that more people who voted for Trump did so because they were more appalled by the specter of a Clinton presidency than a Trump presidency. That is, of course, only one perspective.

Of course, what disturbs me is why the New York Times poll has an entire category of "White evangelical or white born-again Christians" at all. No "black evangelical" or any other race. No "white Catholic" or any other religion. There is a generalized category of "Religion" without reference to race. So why this particular category? Beats me.

The New Evangelical Woman
The event is the Belong Tour. Speakers include "remarkable communicators" like "Jen Hatmaker, Shauna Niequist, Nichole Nordeman, Sharon Irving, Angela Davis, Patsy Clairmont." It's all about The New Evangelical Woman, "part of a larger renovation and rejuvenation of old-fashioned ideas of evangelical Christianity." This "New Evangelical Woman" is "not defining herself apart from the secular world, but very much a part of it." They're the Xvangelicals.

And there it is. Don't miss it. They are calling themselves "Christians", "followers of Christ", but are self-consciously redefining what "followers of Christ" means into something ... else. It is not an "in the world but not of it" concept (1 John 2:15-17). It is not a "transformed, not conformed" idea (Rom 12:2). It is not defined by Scripture, but by culture. "There's hardly any quoting of Bible verses or even group prayer. Instead, talks are focused on how to let go of shame, or be real with one another and truly connect, or how to stop trying to be perfect." This is feel-good theology, to be sure, but not biblical theology. It is the New Evangelical ... minus the Good News (Gal 1:6-9).

Filed under "What did you expect?"
First, there were those asking Mark Zuckerberg if the fake news on Facebook swayed the election. Then Google and Facebook began to target fake news sites with plans to ban them from their networks. One fake news writer on Facebook claims "I think Donald Trump is in the White House because of me." And the Oxford Dictionaries come out with the "Word of the Year" award for ... get this ... "post-truth", an expression that, like "post-modernism" and "post-World War II", indicates that we are after the truth -- beyond it, without it, no longer using it. "It is an adjective defined as 'relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.'"

Given a world, described by Paul as "always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth" (2 Tim 3:7), a world about which Jesus said, "men love the darkness rather than the light" (John 3:19), a world blinded by the god of this world and rejecting the Truth, a world that can no longer distinguish even between the fiction of books, television, and movies and reality, what did you expect? Certainly not a world that sees, recognizes, and embraces the truth. In a world tied most closely to the father of lies, it only stands to reason that "fake news" would be a big issue and "post-truth" would be a real thing.

Didn't see that coming
A 5-year academic study from the US and the UK has concluded that conservative churches that take the Bible seriously are growing in contrast to the liberal churches that do not and are declining. Despite the protests, it appears that doctrine matters and biblical truth grows churches rather than the expected opposite. Perhaps we ought to check our arsenals. Loaded with entertainment, fun, and "feel good", or with solid preaching, study, and application of the Word? A "new" church-growth paradigm.


Glenn E. Chatfield said...

The very sad thing is that the emotional-based reasoning of so many women is what leads them into such stuff. Women are often the best targets for cults, which are really just giving them the same feel-good ideas that this group is passing to them -- the whole idea of "belonging."

As for church growth being best with sound doctrine, this is exactly the problem with the market-driven/seeker-sensitive nonsense churches. Pap leads to boredom and departure. Solid food is where people really go to eat. I keep saying that we don't have to dumb down our teaching to draw in the younger generation -- that they WILL come and WILL stay if we give them solid food rather than dessert all the time.

Stan said...