They used to be called backsliders or even heretics, whatever. Whatever we called them, they didn’t get on Twitter and announce to the world why they don’t believe what they used to believe. There’s a new term in town and it’s called ex-vangelicals. I’m Joel Fieri for Christian Podcast Central. Let’s talk about it. Stay tuned.
Years ago when I was in youth ministry, a band came to our high school group called DC Talk, Decent Christian Talk. I knew DC Talk before they were anybody. Hadn’t heard much of them since, but I do know that they gained prominence in the Christian music business and I was glad to hear it because I thought they weren’t my style but they were at least decent Christian talk, so that was good.
Recently, one of their band members, Kevin Max, came out and said he is now an ex-vangelical, meaning he has deconstructed his faith and now embraces the universal Christ. If you’ve been paying attention to this podcast, you know that over the last few weeks I’ve been talking about this subject, and this is not really included in that series, but it’s along the same lines, progressive versus conservative Christianity and the universe of Christ, and deconstructing your faith is a very big part of the progressive part of Christianity, progressive movement in Christianity these days.
Apparently Kevin Max has embraced it. He’s not saying he’s no longer a Christian. He’s just an ex-vangelical. He’s no longer an evangelical. He’s no longer a strictly Bible believing Christian that believes there’s one way to heaven. I ascertain that from what he’s said in his tweets and his announcements of this. He said a couple things that I want to look at to possibly explain why I think he did this and the dangers I see in it.
The first aspect of this I’ll just touch on briefly. This is what happens when Christians and Christian churches and denominations and movements put musicians and young, artistic, creative people upfront and have them set the tone in our faith and in our worship.
Dave Morrow from Church for Men, who is a podcaster here at Christian Podcast Central, he made this point years ago. There came a turning point in Christianity when we turned over leadership of our worship and people setting the tone for worship from pastors and priests to musicians and creative people. We turned over our worship leading from people who were trained in the truth of the word of God and what God required in the scriptures for worship to people who were gifted and talented.
When you’re gifted and talented creatively, your goal is to move people emotionally. That’s one of the main goals of what you do. Now, I don’t disparage Christian music leaders. I think most of them have very good hearts and want to worship in truth, but many of them don’t. They put the cart before the horse. They put the emotional reaction and the emotional concern ahead of the truth concern, and that’s what I see going on a lot with these Christian musicians. Many of them, more and more of them are turning their backs on the truth of the faith. The truth that they previously held. Kevin Max is one of them and he talks about this.
He basically says, and I quote, “I don’t think the God I believe is just going to all of a sudden ignore me because I don’t believe every single thing that is written down somewhere,” referring to scripture. You can see right now, he’s more concerned with what he feels is right rather than what God feels is right. Just that little hint tells you that he’s abandoning the truth of scripture.
Now, whether that’s because he’s a musician or not, I don’t know, but that’s a prevalent thing going on, something that’s going on in the church today that’s more and more prevalent. You see it more and more, and people are going on Twitter and on Facebook and all these social media platforms to announce this to the rest of the Christian world and to the secular world.
That’s the first thing I notice about this. This is just a natural consequence of what we’ve done in turning over our worship identity to creative types and taking it away from the people who are trained in the word of God.
Now, the second thing I notice in this that has me even more concerned about what I just mentioned was another tweet that Kevin posted, and he said… He described himself as anti-war, pro-peace, anti-hate, pro-live, pro-LGBTQIA, pro-BLM, pro-open-mindedness, anti-narrow-mindedness, pro-utopia, ding, ding, ding, ding, anti-white nationalist agenda, pro-equality, pro-VAX, pro-music, anti-one-percenters, pro-poor, pro-misfit, pro-Jesus, et cetera.
Now, that seems to me just basically a list of these are all the progressive political and social ideas I am now embracing, or maybe he embraced them before, I don’t know. But it’s interesting that this is just pretty much a liberal, progressive, socialist wishlist that he’s putting out. That’s all well and good except for some of the initials they come after LG. He would have a hard time justifying that if he was sticking to the scriptures and sticking to the word of God for truth, which he abandoned, pretty much admitted he abandoned.
The thing that troubles me most about this, and I’ve never seen it really put in a list like this, is where he says pro-utopia. Then, on a subset of that, is later on he said anti-one-percenters. Those two things I think are related. If there’s one thing that Christians should grasp and that the Bible makes very clear is this world is not our home. We cannot make a utopia here on earth. God says there will not ever be a utopia here on earth. We’re broken. We’re sinners. Adam and Eve took care of that. Any potential utopia we had here on earth was destroyed in the garden. That’s why Jesus came to redeem us, because we can’t redeem ourselves. We can’t make a perfect Eden here on earth. Our utopia comes later.
In all of history, there has not been a bigger prescription for mass suffering and torture and death and murder and starvation and disease than people wanting to make a utopia. We cannot make a utopia here on earth. It doesn’t work. There’s always someone in the way of the perfect utopian ideal.
I’m sure Kevin Max has the best of intentions in this. I’m sure, in his mind, we can make a utopia because he’s a great guy. He’s probably a very nice guy, someone who really wants to be a good Christian. But when he says pro-utopia, he’s saying that we can make man perfect, we can make the world perfect. So many times in history that means getting rid of the people who are in the way of that perfection, and that’s where, when he says anti-one-percenters, that’s a giveaway that Kevin is going down a road that he really shouldn’t go down, and he’s announcing it to people and encouraging people to follow him down a road that he really shouldn’t go down. It’s with the best of intentions, I’m sure, but there’s an old saying that the road to hell is paved with good intentions.
Rarely do you have to worry about someone’s evil intentions. People who twirl their mustache and laugh maniacally at their evil deeds rarely succeed. They rarely have much of an impact on history or society. But as people with good intentions who think they’re right and think they can make perfection, they can perfect man, they’re the ones who wreak havoc throughout history.
Again, maybe I’m making a mountain out of molehill. It’s just a Christian musician, yet another Christian musician, or yet another Christian leader, young Christian leader who is abandoning, not necessarily even Christianity, just evangelicalism. But there are some red flags in here and there are some bells going off. This, again, as I said in our series on the difference between progressive and conservative Christianity, these are the basic differences. Do you believe in the word of God? Is it about you and your emotions or is it about truth?
Hopefully we can look at it that way. I’m praying for this young man. Like I said, I heard him years ago and I was glad to hear that he had success, but I’m hoping that he makes a turn from the road he’s on right now and I hope that people can see through this. I pray that they can see through this idea of… It comes along with the progressive idea of the universal Christ and of deconstructing your faith and somehow making it perfect in the world’s eyes. Be praying for him yourselves.
Next week, I’ll be back with another take on something in the news, something you’ve been searching for. I’m Joel Fieri. Thanks for listening.