Facebook felt I should know that one of my friends, a friend I expected would know better, liked this Charisma Magazine post, titled with a click-baity “Here’s How the New Christian Left Is Twisting the Gospel.”
It starts out with the usual “Here’s why millennials are leaving the church” thing, and it’s filled with wave after wave of traditional nonsense about how we millennials adore compromising with The World™ and we’ve dropped out of the culture war because it’s just too damn hard or uncomfortable. Like this, paragraph 3:
Somehow the blame for this chasm is being heaped on traditional churches. They are accused of having too many rules as well as being homophobic and bigoted. Yes, we’ve heard those false claims from popular culture in its desperate attempt to keep Christianity imprisoned within the sanctuary walls. But now popular culture is being aided by Christ-professing bedfellows whose message to “coexist,” “tolerate” and “keep out of it” is more marketable to the rising generation of evangelicals. [Emphasis mine]
Yup. We’re just preaching tolerance and coexistence and keeping out of it.
Oh wait. No we’re not. You’re thinking of our more moderate siblings who think gay marriage is sinful but believe in that little line in the constitution about establishments of religion that Jefferson, who wrote it, referred to as creating a wall of separation between church and state.
Those of us on the Christian left do not have a message of coexistence and tolerance with those who disagree with us. We have a message of love for people of other faiths.
Those I know on the left side of Christianity are saying anything but “keep out of it.” The death penalty? War? Marriage equality? Gender equality? Income equality? We mix faith and politics just like we were raised to, quoting verses against the darkness just like we were trained.
But wait, as they say. There’s more.
Desperate for acceptance in a fallen world, many young evangelicals (and some older ones) choose not to take Christ out of the chapel, and so they are unwittingly killing the church’s public witness. [Emphasis mine.]
Rachel Held Evans, I believe, wrote a post that I can’t find about how the culture we millennial post-evangelicals come from is one of Christianity, so “fitting in with the culture” for us would entail belief in inerrancy and voting for Republicans. As I wrote in another post,
Shifting left has made my life harder. My life would be easier if I suddenly realized that Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck were right about Jesus, and John Dominic Crossan wasn’t.
“Desperate for acceptance?” No. If I was desperate for acceptance from my culture, the evangelical world I’m from, I would sit down and shut up about my faith like you claim we’re telling people to do to be accepted in the world.
I assure you, calling for more funding for welfare and less for the US military doth not acceptance bring, neither from the world nor from the evangelical subculture. I say this from experience.
Our Charisma writer goes on. Where did we go wrong? Didn’t we train up our children in the way they should go? She writes,
The millennial generation’s susceptibility to “feel-good” doctrine is playing a big part in America’s moral decline.
I suppose you would endorse a feel-bad doctrine, Chelsen? I see what you’re about, and I’ve seen it a thousand times. It’s “feel-good” to decide that God is too righteous to do some of the heinous things the Bible says God did. It makes us feel good to stop telling our conscience to shut up and finally trust our conscience over the Bible. (It does, but it also doesn’t. There’s something wonderful about having a book that can tell you infallibly what to think.)
It makes us feel good to trust Christ to tell us who God is, rather than Moses. If we wanted Moses to have the final word on who God is, we could be Jewish, thanks. (Though, to be fair, I’m pretty sure Jews don’t think Moses had the final word on who God is.)
And check this out:
If we never talk about abortion in church, how can we expect the rising evangelical girl to calmly explain the option of adoption to her frightened best friend who just admitted she is pregnant?
Lord have mercy. Because everyone knows evangelicals never talk about abortion in church. Like ever.
Oh wait. Did I say “talk?” I meant “shut up.” Evangelicals never shut up about abortion in church. Chelsen, that ain’t the problem. Neither is this:
In order to safeguard the trajectory of young evangelicals, we must uphold the authoritative Word of God.
Which is to say, “The problem we’re having isn’t caused by what we’re already doing. The problem is caused because we’re not doing it enough, even though we basically do it 24/7.”
What the author of this article utterly fails to realize is that we millennials who have taken a turn for the left didn’t do it because we wanted to fit in with the culture. We didn’t do it because we hadn’t thought really hard about our faith. It wasn’t for a lack of proper training to engage in the culture wars. It’s not even because we’re couch potatoes, as she suggests elsewhere in the post.
We didn’t surrender the culture wars.
We joined the other side.
We joined the other side because we came to believe, based on our understanding of Jesus which was very well-informed, that God was okay with same-sex marriage, wasn’t a fan of violence or genocide, and had nothing against women in leadership, in any context.
We were not wishy-washy. We were not ill-informed. We were not biblically illiterate. My parents had hour-long devotions every night of my childhood. We were trained to think hard about our faith, to engage our faith in our daily lives.
We are not the mamby-pamby, “The culture wars just got too dang hard and we got tired and gave up” mushy apathetic wusses you portray us to be. We’re not weak-minded or weak-faithed.
We made choices. We thought about them carefully. We prayed about them. We were raised in Sunday School and spent at least an hour of our lives every week in church. Many of us still do. We accepted Jesus. And then we learned something the broke our worldview.
We didn’t stop fighting the culture war.
We just switched sides.
On the bright side, the Charisma article provided no substance for the clickbaityness it pledged us. There was no mention of what the author thinks the gospel is, which is becoming a theme, nor a hint of how the New Christian Left is distorting it. In that, I was disappointed.