Imagine This Much Concern About Joel Osteen

When faith is so important to social order and national identity, political woes become spiritual crises:

Many of the evangelical leaders who have endorsed Trump have done so due to fears about what the American church’s future will be in a post-Obergefell America. Will religious liberty for Christian business owners be protected? Will state-level abortion restrictions be done away with? Will Christian universities and seminaries continue to exist? Will Christian parents have the freedom to give their children a Christian education?

All of these concerns are completely valid. Both Matt and myself have been abundantly clear on that point for some time now. We really are facing something of a doomsday scenario in American Christianity.

But freedom to worship or preach the Bible is chopped liver? Even freedom to stigmatize bad preachers?

I could turn out to be wrong and even more foolish than I already appear, but Christians really need to show their faith and take a breath about this election. I remember while studying at L’Abri during the 1976 presidential contest Francis Schaeffer talking about the choice between Jimmy Carter (bad) and Gerald Ford (good) in Manichean terms. I also remember not being convinced.

But the land of the free and home of the brave has a way of turning believers apocalyptic.

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10 thoughts on “Imagine This Much Concern About Joel Osteen

  1. “But freedom to worship or preach the Bible is chopped liver … the land of the free and home of the brave has a way of turning believers apocalyptic. ”

    Indeed.

    “We really are facing something of a doomsday scenario in American Christianity
    the bleak place we find ourselves in.
    Christian business owners are already under attack
    I strongly suspect that what we are facing now is a call to die in ways that (white) American Christians haven’t been asked to do at any point in our nation’s history.”

    Can this guy get some perspective please. I bet those Christians under Nero, Pol Pot, and in the Middle East really feel for the besieged Americans having to bake cakes.

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  2. DGH, I guess it is an illustration of how far removed old time Southern Baptists used to be from evangelical types like Schaeffer (if that is a far way to characterize him), but I remember the Manichean rhetoric as being in favor of Carter around these parts. Only Democratic Presidential candidate I ever voted for. And I remember all sorts of folks threatening to leave the country if Reagan won in 1980. plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose

    Had lunch yesterday with one friend, coffee this morning with another, both younger by about a decade, both freaked out over the election– and backing different candidates. Both are old enough to know better. I tried to talk sense to them, didn’t help. Maybe the intensity of people’s freak out is greater. I bet Hillsdale will be an interesting place this fall.

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  3. “I could turn out to be wrong and even more foolish than I already appear, but Christians really need to show their faith and take a breath about this election.”

    But where would the Gospel Industrial Complex find inspiration for the countless books, conferences, treatises, dissertations, sermons, podcasts, speeches, tweet storms and blogs exploring “Trump and The Evangelicals?” Where would the lost revenue be made up? Where would the fresh batch of Serious Christian Thought Leaders find their inspiration, sharpen their theological blades, and hone their métier as Spokesmen for an Informed Christian Witness in a Diverse America?

    Sorry, Darryl . There are careers and reputations to be made, man. People are in hot pursuit. Don’t call of the dogs. This fruit is too ripe to leave on the tree and the sweet nectar of self righteousness needs to be devoured by all Right Thinking Christians.

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  4. I think the opening line of this article also applies to Russia and its anti-evangelism laws. Other than that, I agree with D.G. on this post. But does my agreement signal that the end of the world is near?

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  5. Jonathan Malesic, Secret Faith in the Public Square (2009)—“Can Christians be witnesses to the truths of the gospel in a land where being Christian is a form of social capital? What about when Christian identity has become a brand? American public life easily converts Christian identity into something which saves a culture. … When being a Christian is thought to be politically useful, the true purpose of being a member of the public known as the church has been lost.”

    Francis Schaeffer used to be a fundamentalist sectarian back in his Carl McIntire days, but the more concerned Schaeffer became about political square inches, the more willing Schaeffer became to form coalitions with Mormons and Romanists.

    NTW—“Let’s run through types of dualism, beginning with four types that would be comfortably at home within ancient Jewish thought:

    a. a heavenly duality: not only God exists, but also angels and perhaps other heavenly beings;
    b. a theological duality between God and the world, the creator and the creature;
    c. a moral duality between good and evil;
    d. an eschatological duality between the present age and the age to come.

    All of these dualities a first-century Jew would take for granted. But none of them constitutes a dualism in the following senses:
    e. a theological or moral dualism in which a good god or gods are ranged, equal and opposite, against a bad god or gods;
    f. a cosmological dualism, a la Plato, in which the world of space, time and matter is radically inferior to the noumenal world. This would include dualisms of form and matter, essence and appearance, spiritual and material, and heavenly/earthly
    g. an anthropological dualism which postulates a radical twofoldness of soul and body or spirit and body

    sectarian duality in which the sons of light are ranged against the sons of darkness, as in Qumran;

    psychological duality in which the good inclination and the evil inclination seem to be locked in perpetual struggle, as in Rabbinic thought.
    Faced with this range of possible referent it seems to me hopeless simply to say ‘dualism’ and leave it at that.

    http://ntwrightpage.com/Wright_SCP_MindSpiritSoulBody.htm

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