There are many things to say about this disturbing video, some of them good, most of them otherwise. In the first place, there is nothing genuinely Evangelical about this video. It is clearly about a certain kind of cultic low church Protestant fundamentalism, but sadly many people, including much of the media, has no idea how to distinguish orthodox Christian practice and belief from fundamentalistic cultic stuff. Sadly, the term Evangelical has also come to be tainted by and associated with ultra right-wing, patriarchal and even racist ideas. There is frankly nothing Evangelical about abusive behavior by men against women. Nothing Evangelical about thought control, rather than teaching people how to thinking critically about life and the world and sift the good from the bad. And frankly, yelling at people that they are going to Hell (whether in a hand basket or not) while standing on a street corner, rather than sharing the love of Christ with the least, the last and the lost, and taking time to actually listen to the lives of those you encounter is not Evangelical, nor is it even good evangelism. I am genuinely sorry for this young woman’s life experience, and my hope is that she would someday encounter what real Evangelical Christianity looks like, because what she described is frankly not that at all.
Back in January I was in the Philippines teaching before the pandemic descended on us all. And as I was riding in a car from the capital city to Baguio where I would be lecturing I kept seeing ‘Assembly’ churches where they took people in, provided food and shelter for them, taught them to live in a commune, and frankly controlled all their money, thoughts, behaviors, and the rest of their lives. As my host said— ‘it’s a fast spreading cult, and it’s not genuinely Christian’. He was so right. Wherever and whenever you encounter such a group or their leaders, you might want to quote to them St. Paul— “for freedom Christ has set you free. Do not submit again to slavery.”