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."


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.