American conservative evangelicals are facing extreme opposition to maintain their influence and voice in the public square after their powerful impact in the 2016 Presidential election. Forces undermining conservatives are at work deep within once stalwart denominations and parachurch organizations. Christian media, conferences, and a new wave of young progressives are transforming the religious right in an almost undiscernible paradigm shift.
“NEVER TRUMPERS” AND THE MESSAGE OF SHAME
Popular among young pastors and church leaders are a new breed of spokesmen like globalist Tim Keller of the Presbyterian Church of America and the leftist Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) president Russell Moore. In 2012 Keller and several companions (recounted in the book Good Faith: Being a Christian when Society Thinks You’re Irrelevant and Extreme) met behind closed doors with the Obama administration and offered their influence in the church toward Third Way compromise. Russell Moore ascended to the influential ethics, lobbying and policy arm in 2013 for Southern Baptists which remains the largest protestant denomination in America. Moore’s message has been intensely progressive claiming the “Culture war is over, Christians lost and have alienated a generation and harmed the gospel” by espousing conservative values. Moore’s previous career was as a staffer for a Democratic Congressman in southern Mississippi.
Since 2013 many conservative evangelical seminaries have been deeply infiltrated and are producing social justice warriors to fill the pulpits of our churches. Their message attempts to shame evangelicals out of conservative convictions blaming the church with hypocritical, contradictory and confused ideals for supporting GOP candidate and now President Donald Trump. While leading the “never Trump” contingent in the church Russell Moore sat cozily in regular White House meetings with then President Obama and his faith outreach team. By the fall of 2017 these leaders like Keller, Moore and others led efforts to urge the disowning of evangelical identity altogether and to embrace a progressive message of social justice and an endless stream of victim narratives on race, immigration, sexuality, and gender rights from the heart of Frankfurt School leftist activism. Co-founder Keller of the organization The Gospel Coalition now employs the former faith outreach coordinator of the Obama administration. Therefore, escaping the “institutionalized” GOP conservatism is now viewed by a growing number of young evangelical zealots as both desirable and mandatory. The popular mantra is “we wish to be known for what we are for not what we are against.”
By polarizing the older and younger voters, the ability to message classic conservative Christian values across the age divide has all but completely broken down. Conservative icons like Judge Roy Moore and Southern Baptist Convention Resurgence leader Paige Patterson have been relentlessly attacked by false accusations and taken down with the full cooperation and engagement of Christian leaders and media. Conservativism has become anathema to many. This trend is deepening.
FLOODING THE VOID
In the wake of progressive influence and activism undermining the Christian base, a new identity is being born for conservative Christianity in America. It values cultural relevance above patriotism, intellectual standing above faith and family convictions, and sees its once solid influence in American politics as racist, elitist and hateful. The celebrated Reagan Revolution echoed in the 2016 win of President Donald Trump would be considered problematic, undesirable and costly to its broader witness. The American Dream and Constitutional Conservatism are held in even lower regard by a growing number of young evangelicals. To put it bluntly, the work of progressives among evangelical conservatives has created a self-loathing crisis of identity and almost insurmountable divide. Little if anything is being done to address this deadly trend.
RESPONSE -DO OR DIE, NOW IS THE TIME FOR ACTION
These disturbing issues continue to cast a shadow over the future of conservatism in America. If they are troublesome in the culture at large they are even more so for the evangelical church. The propaganda and betrayal of leaders like Tim Keller, Russell Moore and others must be exposed and countered. Effective messengers and messaging must replace assumption and presumption of the status quo among evangelical supporters. Otherwise, in less than a decade the erosion of faith and family values voters will be catastrophic to American Conservatism.