Let me start by saying I’m a Progressive Christian and I walked away from the Evangelical Movement about 15 plus years ago; if I ever truly belonged. I believe it is important that I open with that statement because honesty and transparency are very important to me.
On April 16, 2018 Church Leader published and article, A New Fissure in the Evangelical Movement [by Bob Ditmer], centering on 50 or so “prominent evangelicals” being invited to a closed meeting [only those invited] to discuss the future of Evangelical Movement. This meeting would be happening sometime this week, no date was given, at Wheaton College; I guess giving a date, time and location would negate the idea of a closed meeting. Their goal, it seems, is to address issues facing the Evangelical Movement, “more specifically, the condition of the movement and the divide that resulted from the election of President Donald Trump.” While many are looking forward to what may come of this closed door, private meeting, all I can say is too little and way too late.
I’d say, good luck with this, but history is not on their side. This meeting of the minds is coming way too late for anything truly good to come from it. The Evangelical Movement is dead, or at best dying. Which makes me wonder if this meeting is simply designed to write a poetic eulogy, or it’s a private funeral closed to all but immediate family.
Why do I feel this way?
Over the past decades, the Evangelical Movement left behind so much of the culture; they rejected science, they rejected public education, they rejected critical thought, they rejected the environment, they rejected the marginalized, they rejected the poor, they rejected immigrants, they rejected the LGBTQ Community, they reject that Black Lives do Matter, they reject Women’s issues, they rejected so many things, it’s impossible for them to make any kind of turn around. Besides, I’m not sure they want to make a turn around. I see this meeting as a gathering seeking to dig their heals in and double down.
Their rejection of any conversation on poverty, immigration, racism, women issues, LGBTQ issues and the marginalized has made then a hollow voice to the rest of the world. This gathering is simply a bunch of people gathering together who have no connection to the culture they see as evil seeking to hear their own voice about how right they are: they seek to be their own best listeners. They have intertwined themselves so tightly to the GOP that it is hard to tell where one starts and the other ends. Because of this, they are now suffering for their political ties.
So, I’m not impressed that they desire to have this closed-door meeting. In fact, it smacks of how the Evangelical Movement does things, in secret where transparency and honest are not central to their thinking. This invite only meeting shouts, loudly, that no other voices matter except those who desire to impress themselves by hearing their own voices by towing the company line.