Thursday, August 03, 2017

New York Times: "Trump Can't Save American Christianity"

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Yesterday's headline reads, "Trump Can't Save American Christianity," while the first paragraph establishes that "According to Genesis 1, in four days, God made the heavens, the earth and all the vegetation upon it."

Both statements true.

Then the mask slips.

"But four days after Anthony Scaramucci's filthy tirade went public, Team-Trump's evangelical all-stars---pastors and prominent laity who hustle around the Oval Office trying to find an amen-corner---still had not figured out what to say."

"This is not only wrong, but tragically so," the article says.

Look who's behind the mask.


One would normally think, "Well there they go again...the New York Times bashing Christianity, Trump, conservatism and all who support any of the above."

One would be wrong---at least partially wrong.

Yes, the NYT did publish the article---probably without hesitation and with some glee---however, a leftist NYT journalist didn't write it

Rod Dreher did. It's his opinion delivered to the world by the New York Times.

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at "The American Conservative" and the author of the book, "The Benedict Option."

Many of his positions are neither conservative nor biblically sound.

I've mentioned him before, but this new op-ed bears another, closer look because he is influencing both individuals, pastors and church congregations with his call for the church to go into seclusion.

Dreher writes:

Fortunately, the White House relieved them of that onerous task by firing Mr. Scaramucci — not, please note, on the president’s initiative, but rather at the request of John Kelly, the new chief of staff. Meanwhile, the Christian Broadcasting Network ran a puff piece proclaiming that a “spiritual awakening is underway at the White House,” thanks to a Bible study with what “has been called the most evangelical cabinet in history.” That ought to still any skepticism emerging among the true believers for a while.
Is there anything Donald Trump can do to alienate evangelicals and other conservative Christians who support him? By now, it’s hard to think of what that might be. These are people who would never let men with the morals and the mouths of Mr. Trump and Mr. Scaramucci date their own daughters. And yet, Team Trump has no more slavishly loyal constituency.

This is not only wrong, but tragically so. The most pressing problem Christianity faces is not in politics. It’s in parishes. It’s with the pastors. Most of all, it’s among an increasingly faithless people.

Dreher says, "The truth is Christianity is declining in the US. As a theologically conservative believer, it gives me no pleasure to say that...But preparing for the post-Christian future requires a brutally honest assessment of both the modern church and the contemporary world. This is painful, but denial will only make the inevitable worse."

Dreher's point of his book he's selling, and apparently his honest opinion, concludes that the Christian Church in America is following the decline of the Church in Europe, the salt and light "is" or soon will be gone, and Christians must follow the model of St. Benedict of Nursia, the monk who founded the Benedictine religious order amid the chaos and decadence of Rome.

While he admits that Christians are "not called to be cloistered monks," he urges that we "are going to have to step back to some meaningful degree from the world for the sake of building up orthodox belief, learning practices of discipleship and strengthening our communities."

While I believe he is sincere, I also believe he is wrong biblically.

I understand the need for personal survival---had I been a Jew in Warsaw, Poland during Hitler's rage, I may well have gone with them into the sewers beneath the city to hide from the Nazis.

All of us who are biblical Christians love Christianity and the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

But do we love "these things" more than Christ Himself?

Dreher's admonition to his readers to "not think in election cycles, but in centuries" misses the whole point.

We're not thinking in "election cycles" or "centuries," we're looking at what God wants to do now through the lens of eternity---today is the day of salvation.

The essence of his message, not only being carried to the world thanks to the New York Times---for whatever their motive may be--and the circulation of his book throughout the churches in the US, is one that runs contrary to the gospel he says he seeks to preserve.

Consider this.


  • It was Jesus Himself, in his last words, who said (Acts 1:8), "But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you; and you shall be witnesses to me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and to the end of the earth."


  • What if Peter and the others would have embraced Dreher's idea, rather than the Great Commandment of going into the streets with the message of the gospel, knowing full well they were in a hostile, unbelieving dangerous environment? An environment intent on extinguishing this new movement called "Christianity," or "little Christs"---one that was much more hostile than our culture today.


There certainly would not have been the 3000 "who were added to the church in one day," nor would the Church have been birthed in the way in which it was had they been preoccupied with self-preservation, or even the preservation of the "message" of the gospel.

Nor would we have received the New Testament in the way it was given to us. Or the "Revelation" of things to come.

Paul, whom God used to write a major part of the New Testament, wrote in the fire of persecution, not isolation from it.

Dreher concludes with these claims:

"If we Christians don't quit looking for a political white knight to save us and open our eyes to the stark reality of Christianity's exile status in our American Babylon, we will not see this new St. Benedict when he comes."

He describes the church in America as a " bedraggled group standing on the beach of a culture-war drunk Dunkirk", and says "If we are going to live to fight another day, we have to get on those little arks [monasteries], sail toward safer harbor, then regroup, replenish and rebuild."

Nonsense.

All the disciples, except one, were ultimately executed for their expressed faith in Jesus Christ, yet Christianity was not lost to the world. More than 2 billion people claim to be Christian today. Granted some would not meet the criteria or "orthodox" standards of Dreher and others, but most would.

We are not looking for "the next Benedict" or a "white knight"---we are looking for the return of Jesus Christ the Son of God---as He promised.

We are "salt" and "light" called to have an impact on our world---to be "in" the world, but not "of" the world.

We are instructed to "go into all the world and preach the gospel..."

How does that work in hiding?

Note. Due to major push back from evangelicals, Dreher, last night and this morning, is "updating" this article claiming that everyone should know that he is not advocating "complete Christian withdrawal from the public square."

Be Informed. Be Bold. Be Faithful. Be Prayerful.


6 comments:

  1. Who would lead these monasteries, Dreher?

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  2. To a certain degree what he is expressing is something we all need, to be just left alone.

    However, the belief one can retreat to a safe place is a fantasy.

    There is not a place on the planet that will be free from those who seek to rule you, and once everyone is concentrated in a few places they can easily wipe everyone out with a few strategically placed missile attacks.

    One needs to be checking their armor and sharpening their sword

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thankyou again!churches don't go away because of the left. In my community they don't preach the Word. There is no vision promoted, quoted, or encouraged. The few hardy believers I know struggle in churches where coffee and gossip are a bigger pull than worship and the Word. We ,ourselves, are losing ground because we are lazy, comfortable, critical, and greedy.....ouch. Truth hurts.

    ReplyDelete
  4. TWO CLOWNS:

    As the article beings…Ridicule is the first offensive weapon used by those who have no justifiable basis for the anger and malice they have chosen to embrace. Deception is almost always the delivery system for this weapon, and Personal Gain or Justification is most often the motive.

    Both the New York Times and Rod Dreher fit this mold in what turns out to be a form of dark collusion opportunity. Two clowns acting together to motivate those they fear into hiding.

    Christians have had plenty of practice hiding, which is exactly why our culture has been poisoned by an aggressively vocal motivated minority. There was a time in America when Christians were aggressive, vocal and motivated with Our Lord's message of salvation, peace, and Agape love. Standing boldly on the side of truth and God’s righteousness.

    Let us Christians ignore these two clowns and first pray, then act, for a renewal of the "there was a time" time!

    Then...the Holy Spirit may well accommodate us, for it is not a human worldly hero that will save this world, but a lowly carpenter who invites all persons into a selfless love relationship.

    Let us invite all those we can, before our opportunity to do so diminishes further.

    Truth is a lonely warrior...

    G>T>

    ReplyDelete
  5. A church in a neighboring community where I was asked to lead the service, a number of years ago, told me that they couldn't do as I had suggested which was to go out and find new people to come to church. They said all they wanted was to keep the church open till the last member was in the grave. That church which was already a combined church of two denominations, closed shortly thereafter, effectively closing two churches. My own church resists evangelism and now is down to about 20 people who keep hoping God will send the "right kind of people" so the church can remain open. But they don't want to be involved in the process. (In late 80's this church was full to the rafters.) The ultimate result of retreat to safety.
    Scriptures are clear, we are to put on the armor of God and STAND firm, not retreat, not run, but stand firm facing the enemy and trusting God to see us through. To retreat into "safety" is to trust in our own will / ways.

    ReplyDelete
  6. What I was getting out of Mr. Dreher's statements was the need for true believers, or "true disciples," to separate from the main body of believers, or the organized churches, that are being drawn after the secular society and are taking on more and more of the qualities of the world. Better to find a small body of disciples meeting in a home, who are truly devoted to honoring God and living as he says, than to be diluted and lead into compromise because you chose to stay with the denomination your grandfather was born into and that all our friends are in.

    The few whose hearts are "fully committed to him" (2 Chr 16:9 NLT) do indeed need to "come out from among them, and be ye separate" (2 Cor 6:17). That doesn't mean to go hide in a cave, but to be separate from the compromise so that when we speak to the society around us, our voice will be distinct, different, and clearly representing the truth of God's word and the character of His Spirit.

    I would say the same goes for our political affiliations. Through decades of devotion to the Republican Party, in the quest for political power more than for sound principles, the political Christian-conservative-right have become unwitting secular humanists, statists and socialists who today support policies to the left of that of the Democrats of just 20 years ago.

    No, don't go hide in a cave, but yes, do come out and be separate.

    ReplyDelete

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