What conservative evangelicals have lost 6/24/2022
Evangelicals/fundamentalists have lost while winning. They won a Supreme Court that overturned their big goal Roe v. Wade. It’s gone and it’s done. The judgment of 1973 will never come again. In states where the GOP is virtually led by fundamentalists, legislatures have already agreed to ban abortion or are about to do so. But victory is not a culture of life. I really wish that were the case. The culture of guns and the desire to destroy others gives them false security and makes them fearful. The Supreme Court widened the possibility of continuing to kill on June 23. So what did they actually gain? They won greater opposition than they had ever had before. What they lost has yet to be felt. But the loss is there.
Evangelicals have lost their reason to exist
The standard call of evangelism is “You must be born again!” Unfortunately, they have upset their theology of salvation. Being born, it seems, has nothing to do with being alive. Therefore, to be born again means nothing to have life in the Holy Spirit. There is no appeal to “You must be conceived again.” In fact, the gospel idea of having a born-again experience assumes that human life begins at birth. Nicodemus asks if people should return to their mother’s womb and be born again. Jesus, apparently, misses the opportunity to tell her about life from conception. Of course, in doing so, he would lose his claim.
It seems that an absolute doctrine of election is necessary for a righteously conceived person 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 already know that. The loss of reproductive rights will not encourage them to return to churches. Young women know that evangelicals want to control their lives. And they must not let it happen. Similarly, young men leave for the same reason. They could come back with their own children. But I seriously doubt it.
Mega churches tend to have an evangelical orientation. Drawing participants with showmanship will no longer work. Unless evangelicals repent of these attitudes, they will perish.
Evangelicals have lost political attention
Media attention on evangelicals wanes when their political influence wanes. When they endorse presidential candidates, it will no longer be a proxy vote for Supreme Court justices. If they elect another bigoted bully and narcissist, they’ll have to take a deep breath instead of pretending to hold their noses.
What will they work towards next? It could be LGBTQ rights and/or contraception. Maybe they could give creationism another try? Either way, it will be an attack on freedom in the name of freedom. Their sense of unhappiness and paranoia will grow as the loss of intimacy becomes more and more felt. Evangelicals do not yet realize that the constitutional right to privacy depends on the interpretation that has made the deer possible decision. Nothing loses like winning.
Evangelicals Lose Evangelicals
Beyond the shopping of evangelical churches, there is the departure of people who call themselves evangelicals from evangelical churches. Right-wing social media provides another community. Hate and chauvinism take the place of any talk of divine love for the world. Evangelical values such as giving to the mission and raising children “in the education and warning of the Lord” are abandoned for secular goals that are endorsed by evangelical churches. Why this happens is interesting. Evangelicals, more than any other religious body, have regularly contributed to the culture of death. Evangelicals find ways to flourish that hurt everyone around them.
Progressive churches are not ready to offer anything that seems solid to the general population around us. These churches have spent their time being militant and trying to avoid acting like fundamentalists and evangelicals. Unfortunately, the only spiritual help offered is that of individual teachers. One book study here and one there does not do spiritual practice. It’s time to offer true fellowship and connection to the people we seek to help. We need a whole gospel that includes all of these attributes of the church.
The art of preaching should improve. Sermons and homilies that rely on intelligent use of Scripture are needed. Worship should be more than performance. Singing in worship is like a family gathering to sing around pianists or guitarists. Praying together as a church is important. It is as important as the community of work and practice. Individual prayer is as important to the life of the church as it is to the individual.
Liberal churches have forgotten the importance of being Christian in every way, just as evangelicals have. Valuing gathering together for worship and encouragement is what brings the kingdom of God out of the church.