Heresy, Insanity, and The Destruction of the Faith of Jesus

Heresy, Insanity, and The Destruction of the Faith of Jesus November 15, 2021

Heresy is not often the equivalent of insanity. We who grew up during the cold war know how the Soviet government often declared political dissidents mentally ill. So, I do not say this flippantly that MAGA Christianity is both heretical and insane. Heresy is often the charge the majority lays on the minority. But its original meaning is division. The concept of heresy being about false ideas or doctrines is secondary. I can continue being in communion with people who disagree with me. I cannot, however, continue such a connections with people who don’t want to be in connection. It is that simple. But I add a further charge on MAGA Christianity. It is an attempt to destroy the faith of Jesus. It does not seek merely to destroy the fellowship. MAGA leaders seek to destroy it entirely.

The Heresy of Seeking the Devil

The devil in this case is not the adversary recorded in the Bible. It is the adversary certain people call others. Let me give a case of this.

A rather conservative church member became a follower of John Hagee of the Cornerstone Church in San Antonio Texas. People from Tennessee used to go there to visit the Alamo. Now there are many who make the pilgrimage to Cornerstone. This person made a few trips a year. He watched Hagee’s show everyday. And more and more, he spoke less about Christ and more about “The Enemy.” I watched this basically decent human being dissolve as something else was being born. He was concerned about not enough Americans holding on to “a Biblical worldview.” His lapel pin was both the US and Israeli flags. His son wondered if his father had not suffered some kind of stroke.

This heresy of needing to identify the devil has been prominent in conservative churches for a long time now. The questions I had over the last 30 years had very little to do with sacraments and more to do with identifying “the Anti-Christ.” Every question assumed this Anti-Christ was some identified enemy of the United States. Then, post-911, the enemy began to be identified within the United States. The divisiveness resulting from the 2000 presidential election began in earnest.

The Rising Delusion

The 2000 presidential election saw the popular vote going to the losing candidate. Many fundamentalist Christians saw the hand of God in the electoral win of good ole boy candidate George W. Bush. And then they got crazy. They became more so after September 11, 2001. Contrary to popular myth there was no real 9/12 unity. The gap between the two sides became broader and settled during the Iraq War. The delusion was not there was an “us against them.” The delusion was “they are in league with forces trying to destroy us.”

The assumption allowed for “real American patriots” to seek enemies everywhere. Fundamentalist Christians decided they were the true patriots, the true Christians, and needed to arm themselves spiritually and physically against the forces of evil. The 2016 election saw the popular vote winner lose again. And Fundamentalists became MAGA Christians. The fact that these people helped elect and tried to re-elect a destructive and vacuous person demonstrates how great the delusion has become. Now the delusion has taken the place of Jesus.

The Heresy and The Faith of Jesus

A recent video posted and shared on social media shows the Cornerstone Church has introduced a new chant to their liturgy. The slogan “let’s go Brandon” is known to be euphemism for “F*** Joe Biden.” Banners and T-shirts are being printed and worn with the slogan. The prayer for forgiveness for the sins of the word, “Lord have mercy/Christ have mercy,” has been replaced.

“Father, forgive them for they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34b) The thought interpolated into the Gospel of Luke tells the reader that there are ramifications to the actions of people under mass delusion.  A prophetic warning is involved in the prayer for forgiveness. Cornerstone Church and their worship leader are people under such a delusion. They do not realize they are destroying the faith they believe they are defending.

St. Paul warned the Corinthians about their worship. “If therefore the whole church comes together and all speak in tongues, and outsiders or believers enter, will they not say that you are out of your mind?” (1 Corinthians 14:23) A certain sense of decency and decorum is called for in worship. Cornerstone Church clapped their hands and chanted a slogan and claimed to be Christians. Yet, one can hardly imagine progressive Christians holding a similar chant about Donald Trump in their churches. Where would the outsider go to find God?

The Destructive Delusion of the Faithless

There is nothing more to say. MAGA Christianity is not Christianity as I learned and have taught it. I only recognize it because I saw the bear  when it was a cub. But it had to grow to be seen for what it is and what it is not. The MAGA delusion is destructive and evil. I have no desire to preserve fellowship with it. I believe soon I won’t have the choice.

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