US Elections: One Pastor’s Response

Trading the Gospel for Political Pie, by John Frye

As I see it, USAmerican evangelicalism is now a distant mirror to 1st century, 2nd Temple Judaism. Or, more correctly, Judaism(s).

In this post-Christian era, we have frantic groups longing to return to the Promised Land. Each group, just as in Jesus’ day, thinks they know how to get America back again. Consider the Pharigelicals for whom law is King, especially at the Supreme Court level. Then there’s the Sadducelicals who long to cross the aisle, not rock the boat and “just get-along.” The Herodigelicals don’t fool around, grabbing for all the power and following the money. Every age has its Essenigelicals, the pious few, the self-appointed faithful remnant who “fold the fort” ’til Jesus comes again. Watch out for the Zealogelicals whose slogan is “Guns, God, and the US Constitution!” All this furor within the blood-soaked, gun-running, drug-dealing, super exceptional USAmerican Empire slouching toward a dominant globalism. “In God ‘Money’ We Trust.”

In the midst of being exiled from the public square, the US Church wants their “land” back. When Trump barks, “Make America great again,” hordes of believers hear, “Make the church great again!” One Christian blogger, committed to prayer for the state of the church, characterizes the screechy clamor belching from all the evangelical factions as a frantic looking for the political messiah, be it Trump or Clinton.

I have seen, sadly, good friends sell out unity in Christ for unity of Party or candidate. One prominent Christian author even demanded on FaceBook to unfriend her if you plan on voting for Trump. Let’s pour political poop all over Philippians 2:1-4 and exile the “mind of Christ” into oblivion. Far be it from non-Trump Christians to come to the Table with Trumpites. America has built the dividing wall, not on the border with Mexico, but right in the heart of the church. The Table of the Lord is now an ecclesial mockery in the degenerate state of the Church in the USA.

One prominent Christian leader actually wants us to wink at all of Trump’s deplorably pagan, and I mean pagan qualities because Trump is an alleged “baby Christian.” All this wasted passion toward flesh and blood entities all the while purporting to believe that the church’s struggle is not against flesh and blood. Evangelical leaders, followers, FaceBookers, bloggers, you name it, are talking out of both sides of their mouths and have become stupidly unintelligible. Even unbelievers are questioning Evangelicals for trading in the Gospel for a piece of political pie!

A thoughtful millennial evangelical laments the sorry mess handed to her and her peers by a Church sold out to an elephant and an ass. Isn’t that considered idolatry? “Now these three remain: faith, hope, and love; and the greatest of these is Hillary.” Why don’t we admit that is where so many hearts are set? I don’t think either Hillary or Trump died on the Cross for me. Can I tell this young millennial that?

When I was a child I was seeking to know the signs of the times and who the anti-Christ was and shuddered at the thought of being “Left Behind.” But when I became a man, I still believed in a rugged biblical idea: God’s judgment on the church first. “For it is time for judgment to begin with the family of God” ought to slap some sense into us for selling out to Caesar. Many will say, ‘We’re just exercising our American right to vote.” Then why are those many covered in stinky political slime? Why does their vote come at the expense of brothers and sisters who make up the bride of Christ? Shouldn’t we stop talking about Jesus’ body in filthy ways merely to advance a human, fleeting kingdom?

About Scot McKnight

Scot McKnight is a recognized authority on the New Testament, early Christianity, and the historical Jesus. McKnight, author of more than fifty books, is the Professor of New Testament at Northern Seminary in Lombard, IL.