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Donald Trump and Other Madness Evangelicals Fall For

Moral and spiritual purity is realized by partaking in Christ’s all-embracing love

I was saved in an Evangelical, seeker-sensitive, culturally-hip church. I have to admit, I owe much to this church. It was a holy place of refuge, a divine community where God rescued me from a life of moral and spiritual decay. Without Jesus and the movement of the Spirit in that church, I could possibly be dead or at the least bound on a highway straight to hell—an eternal destination devoid of God and His love.

While I love the passion and biblical focus that some Evangelicals place on moral and spiritual purity in the Christian life—you know, that focus on sinning less and refraining from rubbing shoulders with sinful people, especially those of “false” faiths—I can’t help but to be discontent after 10+ years of Evangelical metamorphosis with basing my existence as a Christian on such simplistic and rigid markers of spiritual growth.

If anything, I think that life in reality with God is not so much about pursuing idealistic standards of moral and spiritual purity, but more about simply and faithfully trusting God regardless of our perceived spiritual condition or the condition of the world around us.

God is With Us

God loves us no matter how “good” we are, and God is good no matter how “bad” we are. This means He still loves us when we are failures at following Jesus. Put another way, Jesus died so God could forgive the sins of sinners and the sins of saints. It’s the latter He intercedes for and helps (because of our choice to believe) in the battle we now face with our human flesh and the fallen world.

God loves us no matter how “good” we are, and God is good no matter how “bad” we are. Click To Tweet

We are human, and God has embraced us in our fallen state. In Jesus, God has lowered Himself into the shadowy darkness of human reality, into the mud and the dirt, into the chaos of contradictions that are part and parcel of human life. Emmanuel. God is with us.

Moral and spiritual purity may be a byproduct of healing and growing in Christ, but it should not be the sole marker that Evangelicals strive after, nor should it be the primary characteristic we are known for. If it becomes the be all and end all, this undoubtedly will lead to an escapist, insular and irrelevant faith of little worth to God and His Kingdom mission in the world.

"God does not use the self-righteous—the merely pristinely polished life—to further his kingdom,” says Micah Mattix in a recent article in First Things. “He rarely uses the elite or the religious ‘pundit.’ Most often, he uses the simple, the unrefined, to accomplish his work, because they, at least, will give glory where glory is due."

Falling for the Madness

Escaping sinful people and places under the guise of moral and spiritual purity, putting up walls of fear and hate in the name of national security, and obsessively avoiding the dangers that come with living in a fallen world—these are not Christian ideas. Yet some evangelicals in North America have fallen for the madness.

The fact that 25 per cent of Evangelicals support elitist billionaire Donald Trump and his policies, although that number may be dwindling, is certainly telling and perhaps even shocking to some of us. Equally shocking, or perhaps more telling, is the fact that well-known Evangelical leader Franklin Graham, president of Samaritan’s Purse and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, is backing Trumps call to ban Muslims from entering the United States.

Have Evangelicals lost their minds? Have they gone mad? Have they forgotten the central message of the Gospel?

In Christ, God did not seek to escape the world, but became vulnerable to it - all for love. Click To Tweet

In Christ, God did not seek to escape or protect Himself from sinful people and places of the world. Instead, He became vulnerable to suffering and open to others—all for love. He didn’t come enthroned in a fortified palace in pursuit of safety from the brutal forces of the fallen world. And neither does He call us, His Church, to a life of preemptive fortification against the outside world.

Moving from Fundamentalism to Evangelicalism

In his book, No Place for Truth: Or Whatever Happened to Evangelical Theology?, David Wells reminds us what true and historical Evangelicalism stands for:

When we move from Fundamentalism to evangelicalism…we are moving from a counter-community to a community. Fundamentalism was a walled city; evangelicalism is a city. Fundamentalism always had an air of embattlement about it, of being an island in a sea of unremitting hostility. Evangelicalism has reacted against this sense of psychological isolation. It has lowered the barricades. It is open to the world.

Christian moral and spiritual purity is not so much realized by keeping the world at a distance, but by embracing the world with the same all-encompassing love that Christ modeled for us. To be morally and spiritually pure is to act like Christ in the world and to faithfully trust God regardless of the storm inside or the dangers without.

This is Evangelical purity, if there was ever such a thing.

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About the author


ChristianWeek Columnist

Josh is a faith and culture commentator, an award-winning writer and columnist, and a nationally-recognized voice in the Canadian faith community. He holds a MDiv from Tyndale Seminary, and is the recipient of the Stanley A. Boswell Expository Preaching Award and the Dr. Ross and Carol Bailey Theology Award. He lives in Thunder Bay, Ontario, with his wife and their two adorable daughters and blogs at joshvalley.com

  • ice

    Josh is writing for the wrong paper. This is not an evangelical approach but a very liberal left of centre point of view–one I do not think belongs in Christian week. With Trump everyone gets all exited about part of the statement he made. They don’t on the part of the statement that includes until we can figure things out. Franklin Graham who is well respected agrees with Trump. There are Christians who disagree with him.
    There is a saying you have to stand for something or you will fall for anything at all. There are reports that very few Christian refugees from Syria are being admitted to the US. One thing Trump is doing is saying things that many people think. To call him Elitist is simplistic—most politicians are elitist. Canada and the US were founded based on Judeo-Christian values and in order to remain strong we need to maintain this

    • Josh Valley

      What exactly is your definition of Evangelicalism? I’m curious to know. All I’ve done here is apply biblical, Gospel-centered Christology to the fear, hatred and bigotry of the far-right political establishment. If that’s not Evangelical, I’m not sure what is.

    • ice

      Josh–I can’t find your full comment. I am not sure what my actual definition of Evangelicalism is; but I have not thought of it as just a reaction to fundamentalism. ( I attended a fundamentalist church for a few years and found they were always right–very directional). I don’t know that we need to be so critical of those who are defending our western values. We need to focus on Christ. I don’t know that we as Evangelicals out to be accepting of the worldly view of accepting everybody’s values. I think being cautious about refugees doesn’t make us bad people. The not wanting Trumps name on various things he funded to help build is absurd.