PCA Trumped

Or, how politics matters more than communion:

But a few predicted that this election could permanently damage attempts to create unity among evangelicals. “I spend most of my time in ministry talking and teaching about racial reconciliation,” said Jemar Tisby, the president of the Reformed African American Network, a “theologically traditional” coalition of black Christians and churches, as he described it. “The vast majority of white evangelicals with whom I interact are on board and want to see a more racially diversified and unified church. However, when that same constituency overwhelmingly supports Donald Trump, I feel like they haven’t understood any of my concerns as a racial minority and an African American.”

All the racial reconciliation that last year’s General Assembly allegedly accomplished was thin compared to a PCA minister or member’s status in the world of evangelicalism. Does the PCA now need to repent for its members who voted for Trump? Or can its pastors, theologians, and elders help members understand that belonging to the visible church — the kingdom of Jesus Christ, mind you — is so much more significant than what federal politicians do (or votes for them)?

Now more than ever, the PCA needs a healthy dose of the spirituality of the church. It needs to understand that the politics of this world are trifling compared to the realities of the world to come, and that the freedom a Christian enjoys in Christ has nothing to do with politics (just ask the peasants who used Luther’s gospel to advocate an egalitarian social order). But that doctrine is now in the rear view mirror.

29 thoughts on “PCA Trumped

  1. Maybe this could be a good thing for the PCA and black churches. If the RAAN consists of a number of black pastors and theologians who came into the PCA to ostensibly racially radicalize white conservative’s faith, as at least one black pastor and his daughter claim is the case, maybe this is their Waterloo and they leave to form a more perfect black communion and take the sufficiently radicalized with them and the PCA can get on with word and sacrament confessionalism. Of course, had I known that all it would take would be to proselytize for Trump and put his sign in my front yard, I could’ve gotten after it with a vengeance. And let’s say our faith were at least half political stand and statement and politics is largely about the acquiring and exercise of power in order to have your causes funded and put into law(coercion), what kind of political training, other than the subversive kind, is going to train me to surrender my ‘privilege’ so that you can exercise yours? I challenged myself a bit more in college than to simply pursue a poli-sci degree but I can tell you my poli-sci profs would’ve told me I was a sucker and I failed to understand the nature of politics had I been open to such a ruse. Still making A’s in poli-sci without trying after all these years.


  2. This is why the PCA should just look after its flock, and not go courting new members amongst other communities. They have their own churches. Let Sunday morning remain the ‘most segregated hour’ in America. So be it, till such pastors as Mr. Tisby become more mature. I thank God, once again, that I’m Canadian, where we don’t have to deal with that aggrieved minority as you do.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. “I spend most of my time in ministry talking and teaching about racial reconciliation”

    That’s the problem right there. Imagine how the poor White Evangelical must feel after discovering that denouncing the Confederate Flag, apologizing for slavery, and the racism of their fathers in the ol’ bygone era was just not enough to please the Racial Reconciliation Industrial Complex. He was supposed to vote for Hillary in order to complete the process of Racial Sanctification. And give her a Democrat House and Senate as well. The White Evangelical cannot have any political or cultural expression that displeases Jemar Tisby, Thabiti Anyabwile, or the Urban Gospel Centered Missionals.

    Voting for Trump will become the equivalent of hanging the Confederate Flag. Eventually the PCA and the SBC will need to pass resolutions apologizing for their members’ support for Trump.

    Give me my Ol’ Timey Religion back, please.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. DGH says: “Now more than ever, the PCA needs a healthy dose of the spirituality of the church. It needs to understand that the politics of this world are trifling compared to the realities of the world to come, and that the freedom a Christian enjoys in Christ has nothing to do with politics (just ask the peasants who used Luther’s gospel to advocate an egalitarian social order).”

    JohnnY: I’ll focus in on that last sentence in parenthesis. So what’s worse, the peasants using Luther’s gospel to advocate an egalitarian social order or the magisterial reformers using the state to allow the massacre of them all? And isn’t the whole ordeal a bit more complicated than the peasants using Luther’s gospel to advocate an egalitarian social order? There was a lot more going on than just that.


  5. JohnnY, am I to suppose that you never say the Nicene Creed, a statement the church would not have without the political establishment.

    I’m no fan of the church cozying up to politicians. That should not surprise you. Nor am I happy when Christians conflate politics and religion, as if freedom in one realm means the same in the other. The peasants made that mistake. Luther did not. Did he benefit by not making that mistake? Sure. But so would have the peasants benefited.


  6. I think I’m also taking back intentional urban renewal ‘ministry’. I did more as a teenager than any Redeemer pastor will do in a lifetime just in volunteer hours and I’m now managing(not investing, though if I had some spare change….) tens of millions of dollars in ‘activating’, revitalizing and just flat out creating from scratch vital urban centers. I don’t want a place at the table, I’m building the table and my nameplate is behind the white guys’ with all the money putting it to work to make it happen, which includes sponsoring black female and male politicians for office in the afflicted districts . The big worry for minority communities will be the increased rents and property taxes that accompany making downtown tolerable for white, urban, pioneer hipsters and their kickball teams, who need to be close enough to see remnants(carefully maintained as historic preservation pieces in the lobby and corridors of their condos) of the former grittiness of the urban jungle, and b-cycle over to one of the RC charity shelters on Guadalupe street to donate dented food cans, yet still enjoy covered parking and a loft with a view. But what happens when chinese money finds its way to these urban centers? Will they be interested in the plight of African American city dwellers? The Chinese aren’t going to have any SIPTSD to tap into or privilege that they’re willing to surrender.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. DGH, maybe the mistake is that there really are not two realms- that is the fig-newton of the imagination of the 2K folks. It certainly did not bode well for what happened after the reformation, i.e., years of civil strife and religious wars. Maybe the local church can take on the role of servant in the communities they find themselves involved in rather than jockeying for dominion or control of the culture. I don’t think you would probably object to that notion either. But perhaps I am wrong. That would mean relying on the power of the Gospel and accepting persecution and suffering as it would inevitably take place.


  8. Is the real question here whether the PCA should have repented for past racism? Or what can be implied by a large number of white conservative Christians voting for Trump which is being perceived by Jemar Tisby?

    To determine what could implied by white Christian support for Trump we could speculate about the results of this year’s presidential campaign if both Trump and Clinton ran as third party candidates. Which one would have received the highest percentage of their actual votes? Regarding Trump’s percentage, one must ask not whether white conservative Christians are voting for racism, but whether racism is a deal breaker for such Christians. We know that abortion is a deal breaker. But is abortion the only one?


  9. I also find it interesting that you defend Luther and his response to the peasants. Not many contemporary Lutherans defend Luther’s response to the peasants. They think it was a big mistake that he approved of the massacre of the peasants. Would you defend Zwingli and his holding down some Anabaptists under water until they drowned too? I doubt it.


  10. JohnnY, I’m defending Luther’s 2k and criticizing the Peasants for confusing the spiritual and the political. You’re the one who says I defend the crack down on the peasants. Though the magistrate doesn’t wield the sword for nothing.


  11. I can’t resist one more fly by comment- yeah, keep those obvious sinners in line and let the righteous in their own eyes rule. It’s working real well in this earthly realm. I’m hoping things will be a lot different when the imperishable things are made manifest and the perishable things perish.


  12. Curt, as long as you’re speculating as a November 9 quarterback, wouldn’t you have to make HRC black? But, yes, abortion seems to be the deal breaker among most white evangelicals. A fool’s errand to be sure, but it appeared to be the clothespin they needed to plug their nose and go Trump. But wouldn’t that be the sort of judicial activism they deplored among their opponents?


  13. John, remember, though, 2kers are the ones not giving the tyrants the religious promotion they inevitably demand, which usually causes them to come cracking skulls.


  14. Wresby, you mean I’m supposed to be concerned with a PCA who can’t find doctrinal grounds to indict an FVer at the presbytery level but they’re pretty sure they can indict Trump voters of abandoning and sinning against their left leaning fathers, brothers and sisters? Let them come forth and gird themselves appropriately( I wouldn’t presume to inform the fluid among them how to dress, but a cup might come in handy).

    Liked by 1 person

  15. “Who’ll be thought less of by the WOKEPCA?
    -those who voted Trump
    -those did not vote/did not vote Trump/did not vote HRC?”

    Wresby, Godwin’s Law is suspended whenever discussing the Dark Evil that drove some Christians to vote for Trump. So one can restate your question as:

    Who’ll be thought less of by the WOKEPCA?
    -those who voted Hitler
    -those did not vote/did not vote Hitler/did not vote Hitler?

    All we need now is the appropriate Bonhoeffer quote and everything falls into place.

    Glad to be of service.


  16. ……….said the CC students up on Lookout Mountain living off the largesse of their narrow-minded parents who thought CC was a safe place already. Silly parents, SIPTSD is nothing to be snickered at, it requires Xanax,ankle tattoo, twitter account and an instagram account to broadcast our filtered, put upon selfies.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Zrim,
    Not sure why you are saying what you said about HRC. The real issue is whether Trump or Hillary had more votes for them as people rather than for them because of their political party. And when any politician has more votes because of their political party, we see what becomes deal breakers for their supporters such as those Christians who voted for Trump. And for conservative Christians, it is that which is not included as deal breakers that becomes associated with their pro-life and Christian values and identity.

    In the meantime, political capital will be assumed by Trump and his supporters because of the number of votes he garnered. And that political capital will play a major role in how much of Trump’s policies will be supported by the Senate and House.

    And the real curious thing here is whether Trump and Republican establishment will become political bedfellows when Trump campaigned on the premise that they were too incompatible to work amicably together. Certainly, Trump’s early appointments indicate that he and the Republican establishment are convenient bedfellows and thus concludes another episode of bait and switch practiced by a newly elected president. When will the American voter ever learn?


  18. Curt, I mean if you’re going to do the futile work of speculating backwards you might as well do the other impossibility and make HRC black. But agreed on the hoodwinking. Some may even suggest others watch out for poachers–rhinos are an endangered species, right?


  19. Zrim,
    Speculating on what couldn’t possibly exist is different from speculating on what could exist. Again, what percentage of Trump voters would have voted for him if he was a third party candidate and how does that compare with the percentage of HRC voters who would vote for her if she was a third party candidate. So why the distract from the issue being discussed: that being whether a greater percentage of Trump voters voted for the party than the percentage of Hillary voters. Here I am talking about votes casted for any candidate from the major parties vs votes casted for individual candidates. But heck, if you don’t want to discuss that issue, then don’t. Just realize that is the issue I am bringing up.


  20. Curt, I was mainly just hassling you tongue-in-cheek anyway about the speculation, so never mind.

    But if that’s your issue then I do think there is something to the idea that the electorate went populist-outsider this time, in which case the DNC fumbled in excusing Sanders for HRC since Sanders was their populist-outsider candidate. The populist-outsider voter not beholden to party who went Trump could’ve gone for Sanders and not had to hold his nose on pain of passing out. Conventional wisdom (and polling) dismissed both Trump and Sanders. Oops. I’m still a fan of conventional wisdom though.


  21. Zrim,
    The speculation is important because of our blind loyalty to one of the two major parties.

    As for primaries and the election, the message of the establishment fell on deaf ears because there was not acknowledgment of wrong doing and failure. The Democratic party used procedures to partially rig their primary. But they lost in the general election.

    As for populism, the trouble with today’s populism is the same as the trouble with elitism: there is no concern for or solidarity with others. In other words, our nation is dying from an acute case of myopia.


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