Perfect Fear Casts Out Love

Perfect Fear Casts Out Love March 25, 2017

A recent PRRI survey has been making the news, and rightly so. As you can see from this chart, white Evangelicals have a persecution complex (or, if you prefer, a martyr complex):

MuslimDiscriminationChristianPRRI2

As the Episcopal Cafe highlighted, white Evangelical Protestant leaders are using fear and alarmism in an effort to drive people to faith. But the “faith” that results will inevitably be something twisted. Because if perfect love casts out fear, then if fear is not merely present but thriving, then it follows that love is being driven out.

This is the language of exorcism. And we see the implications of this reversal of what the New Testament calls for when loving one’s enemy, or simply loving, is treated as something demonic.

And since God is love, this fostering of fear is an attempt to drive God out.

This should frighten white Evangelicals, because the one sin that the New Testament depicts as unforgivable is attributing the work of God to a demonic source instead.

In view of that, it seems far safer to take the risk of being too loving, than to take the risk of embracing, perpetuating, and fostering fear. Conservatives often ask liberals and progressives “What if you’re wrong?” in not condemning others. But the teaching of Jesus should lead us to think that the big risk is not that we will be insufficiently judgmental, but that we will be insufficiently inclusive and loving.

I wrote those last couple of sentences when Facebook reminded me of the post from a couple of years ago, “What If You’re Wrong?” These statistics about Evangelical persecution complexes (in which I once participated myself) reminded me that I had written a draft post and meant to revisit that topic.

Of related interest, see the statistics suggesting that many Americans not only misjudge their own persecution or freedom, but also misjudge whether things like Antisemitism.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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