The evangelicals/fundamentalists lost by winning. They won a Supreme Court that overturned their great target Roe v. Wade. It is gone and done. The ruling in 1973 will never return again. In states where the GOP is practically run by fundamentalists, the legislatures already agreed to bans of abortion or are about to do so. But the victory is not a culture of life. I truly wish it was. The gun culture and the desire to destroy other people gives them false security and makes them fearful. The Supreme Court expanded the ability to keep killing on the 23rd of June. So, what did they actually win? They won greater opposition than they ever had before. What they have lost has yet to be felt. But the loss is there.
Evangelicals Lost Their Reason for Existing
The standard call of evangelicalism is “You must be born again!” Unfortunately, they have turned their theology of salvation upside down. Being born, it appears, has nothing to do with being alive. Therefore, being born again means nothing to having life in the Holy Spirit. There is no call to “You must be conceived again.” In fact, the evangelical idea of having a born again experience assumes human life begins at birth. Nicodemus asks if people must re-enter the womb of their mothers and be born again. Jesus, apparently, misses the opportunity to tell him about life beginning at conception. Of course, in doing so, he would lose his claim.
It seems an absolute doctrine of election is necessary for person conceived righteous and destined to have this born again experience. An evangelical form of the immaculate conception for this elect, if you will.
Young Women (and men)
Young people are leaving the churches. We know this already. The loss of reproductive rights will not entice them back into the churches. Young women know evangelicals desire to control their lives. And they do not have to let it happen. Young men, likewise, are leaving for the same reason. They might come back with their own children. But I seriously doubt it.
Mega-churches tend to be evangelical in orientation. Drawing attendees with showmanship will not work much longer. Unless evangelicals repent of these attitudes they will perish.
Evangelicals Lost Political Attention
The media attention on evangelicals lessens when their political influence lessens. When they support candidates for President, it will not be a proxy vote for Supreme Court justices anymore. If they elect another bully and bigoted narcissist, they will have to breath it in deeply rather than pretend to hold their noses.
What will they work toward next? It could be LGBTQ rights and/or contraception. Perhaps, they might give creationism another try? Whatever is chosen, it will be an attack on liberty in the name of freedom. Their sense of doom and paranoia will grow as the loss of privacy is increasingly felt. Evangelicals do not yet realize the constitutional right to privacy hinges on the interpretation that made the Roe ruling possible. Nothing loses quite like winning.
Evangelicals Are Losing Evangelicals
Beyond evangelical church shopping, there is the departure of people claiming to be evangelical from evangelical churches. Right-wing social media is providing another community. Hate and jingoism is taking the place of any talk about divine love for the world. Evangelical values such as giving to mission and raising children “in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” are given up for the secular goals that are approved by evangelical churches. Why this is happening is interesting. Evangelicals, more than any other religious body, have steadily contributed to the culture of death. Evangelicals find ways of self-fulfillment that are detrimental to everyone around them.
Progressive churches are not ready to offer anything that feels solid to the general population around us. These churches have spent their time being activist and trying to avoid acting like fundamentalists and evangelicals. Unfortunately, the only spiritual help being offered are by individual teachers. A book study here and another there do not make spiritual practice. It is time to offer real fellowship and connection to the people we seek to help. We need a whole gospel that includes all of these attributes of church.
The art of preaching should improve. Sermons and homilies that rely on intelligent use of the Scripture are needed. Worship should be more than performance. Singing in worship is like a family gathering to sing around the piano or guitar players. Praying together as the church is important. It is as important as working and practicing community. Individual prayer is important to the life of the church as it is to the individual.
Liberal churches forgot the importance of being Christian in every way just like the evangelicals have done. Valuing the gathering for worship and encouragement is what makes the kingdom of God out of the church.