From Pence to Johnson, America’s evangelicals are failing their political mandate

Yes, Donald Trump is a mess at times. And, from the church’s perspective, there is an undeniable element of Barabbas about him for too many people who are not content with “he’d clearly be a better president than the current dementia patient” and who must instead must elevate him as a 21st-century Charlemagne.

But we have a far bigger problem than that as believers and citizens. Its name is Judas.

In our era, we have created a new heresy — we have “sanitized” scripture.

Witness the bipartisan betrayal that played out in Congress this week. In the face of an ongoing border invasion, House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) violated every morsel of his mandate as a public servant to betray his base while Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) similarly violated every morsel of his mandate to reward his.

Anybody know the exchange rate these days for 30 pieces of silver?

Johnson, aka Mr. Biblical Worldview, has taken the baton boldly from his nicer-than-God forebear, Mike Pence. Both men rose to a level of political power beyond that of any other evangelical in their generation. And both men sadly, but perfectly, personify the piety-over-conviction, flight-over-fight cowardice that has infested too many of America’s evangelical pulpits at great cost to the message and the mission of Christianity. (See Pence and his feckless leadership of the COVID Task Force as Exhibit A.)

To that end, let me share with you my “Bible in a year” scripture reading from one morning last week:

Moreover, [Jehoram] made high places [altars to the demon Asherah to perform sex rites as worship] in the hill country of Judah and led the inhabitants of Jerusalem into whoredom and made Judah go astray. And a letter came to him from Elijah the prophet, saying, “Thus says the Lord, the God of David your father, ‘Because you have not walked in the ways of Jehoshaphat your father, or in the ways of Asa king of Judah, but have walked in the way of the kings of Israel and have enticed Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem into whoredom, as the house of Ahab led Israel into whoredom, and also you have killed your brothers, of your father’s house, who were better than you, behold, the Lord will bring a great plague on your people, your children, your wives, and all your possessions, and you yourself will have a severe sickness with a disease of your bowels, until your bowels come out because of the disease, day by day.’” And the Lord stirred up against Jehoram the anger of the Philistines and of the Arabians who are near the Ethiopians. And they came up against Judah and invaded it and carried away all the possessions they found that belonged to the king’s house, and also his sons and his wives, so that no son was left to him except Jehoahaz, his youngest son. And after all this the Lord struck him in his bowels with an incurable disease. In the course of time, at the end of two years, his bowels came out because of the disease, and he died in great agony. His people made no fire in his honor, like the fires made for his fathers. He was thirty-two years old when he began to reign, and he reigned eight years in Jerusalem. And he departed with no one’s regret. They buried him in the city of David, but not in the tombs of the kings.

If you’re a Christian, you believe the God who cursed this wicked political ruler in a very violent, painful, and graphic way for demonically influencing the people was none other than Jesus Christ. Because to be a Christian is to believe Jesus Christ is God the Son of the holy trinity. But how many Christians even knew this message was in the Bible?

I was talking to a sincere believer this week, and a real man’s man, too. Yet, when I quoted Nehemiah 13 about beating people and pulling out their beards for defiling the temple, he was stunned. He had no idea that was in the Bible.

It’s a big problem. If you do go to a church that you can foresee never preaching on this passage, find another church. That church is part of the problem with the dying culture you are living through.

Unfortunately, that is going to be a good many of the churches many evangelicals enjoy attending. In our era, we have created a new heresy — we have “sanitized” scripture.

Most evangelical churches aren’t preaching open heresy, but they’re not preaching an open Bible, either. They are self-editing. They are determining, as if they were their own papacy, what scriptures you are to hear and which you are not. Which you can handle and which you cannot. Which will fill their seats and coffers and which will not.

Nehemiah 13 won’t inspire another hit from Hillsong or another wave of false converts from the suburbs to tithe. And though that is no excuse for any believer, because part of our individual relationship with Christ is to seek him individually through his word, this new heresy plays right into our convenience-driven culture.

Just as many parents were “too busy” to find out what their kids were learning at the government schools and now we are reaping a harvest of communists, degenerates, and God-haters (but I repeat myself) as a result, we also delegated our time spent in God’s word to nothing more than Sunday mornings at church because we are otherwise “too busy” to do it ourselves every day.

And now, just one generation later, we have ended up with soft-headed, sweater-vested, pleated khakied beta males like Pence and Johnson who think they are “loving their neighbors as they love themselves” by siding with the enemy against their own God.

Many evangelical churches cater week after week, year after year, to those who have rejected God but are repackaged as “$eeker$.” If that sounds like a grift, it is. But you ask, doesn’t mercy triumph over judgment? Yes. But it doesn’t cancel it. There is still a hell, and people are sadly going there each day. And one of the reasons why is this sanitized-for-your-comfort heresy that makes church normies think they’re saved when they’re really false converts.

We simply don’t take making disciples seriously, which is a fundamental denial of the Great Commission to “disciple the nations” (disciple being the root word of discipline). Mere conversion is only the first step to discipleship. Just as your marriage may have been announced on your wedding day, and a marriage can’t proceed without a wedding, the ceremony itself is just beginning. How successful will your marriage be if it peaks on the wedding day? Not very!

And neither will the bride (the church) adequately succeed her groom (Christ) by peaking at mere conversion. “By their fruit you will know them,” our Lord says. Well, Pence and Johnson may be the most high-profile and influential evangelicals of their generation. In Johnson’s case, he’s one or two heartbeats away from holding the most powerful office on the planet. Yet what does the fruit of their public service reveal about them and the pastors who mentored them?

The verdict is in. The evangelical church clearly failed such men and legions more. We needed Daniels. We needed Nehemiahs. Instead, they gave us Jezebels.

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