I’ve recently posted a series regarding how it’s important to garner a better understanding of the belief systems of most of the White Evangelical community in the USA because of their out-sized power and influence that they’re able to exert over the republican President Donald Trump and his Republican Party. Of note, the White Evangelism community in the USA comprises a minority at about 26% of the population who self-identify themselves as Evangelicals; however, its members have voted in 2016 for President Trump by a margin of 80%, plus, they continue to approve of his presidency at rates that exceed 70%. They add up to over 35% of the president’s base of voters.
It should be obvious that they would enjoy an out-sized level of influence over President Trump, as they are the most reliable faction within his base of voters, to where he would be highly motivated to please them. It doesn’t help that this community is entrenched in the belief that the republican President Donald Trump has been sent by God to represent and champion their causes.
In addition, the president relies on a group of Evangelical Christians for spiritual guidance.
I’ve led these posts with the following disclaimer, “As a person of faith, I’m in agreement with almost nothing of the US White Evangelicals’ religious teachings. I’m not an expert on this subject, however, I’m curious as to how the Evangelical thinking is influencing the politics of today. I’ve had to rely on a myriad of sources including my daughter, an ex-Evangelical, to be able to write about this subject.”
After perusing some of my recent blogs, readers might be led to think that I am down with ALL White Evangelical Christians. Nothing could be further from the truth. My faith is an important part of my life as I find that it does give me nourishment and comfort as I face the ups and downs in my life. There are White faith leaders that I admire and even follow on twitter like Pope Paul Francis, Joyce Meyer, and Rick Warren, the last two are self described Evangelicals. For faith leaders of color, I like Rev. Dr. William Barber II and TD Jakes.
My faith based beliefs do not mesh with many of the current religious teachings, but they are what I’ve come to rely on to get through all the ups and downs of life. The following details 2 key differences..
While I do believe in the teachings of Jesus Christ and I accept him as my Lord and Savior; I’m not in sync with most religious thinking because I’m not convinced that believing in Him is the only route for folks to enter the Kingdom of God. I’m betting that my Jewish, Muslim brothers and sisters and even non-believers will meet Jesus Christ in their last days here on earth as he comforts them, before many Christians will. Christians have been blessed with an advantage because they are taught the teachings of Jesus Christ but if they choose to ignore His lessons, they are in no better condition than most non-believers.
But the opposite is true. If non-believers / members of other faiths adhere to his teachings on their own initiative, then they will be granted redemption.
As per Matthew 19:30 (KJV): “But many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first.”
I point to two bible teachings that bolster my views. One has to do with the story of Cornelius, a non-Jew who would have been considered an outsider, not redeemable but he was found pleasing to God; and the other is where He calls the Samaritan who would have been shunned by most Jews at the time, the good neighbor…
As per Acts 10 (NIV) Cornelius Calls for Peter:
10 At Caesarea there was a man named Cornelius, a centurion in what was known as the Italian Regiment. He and all his family were devout and God-fearing; he gave generously to those in need and prayed to God regularly. One day at about three in the afternoon he had a vision.He distinctly saw an angel of God, who came to him and said, “Cornelius!”
Cornelius stared at him in fear. “What is it, Lord?” he asked.
The angel answered, “Your prayers and gifts to the poor have come up as a memorial offering before God. 5 Now send men to Joppa to bring back a man named Simon who is called Peter. He is staying with Simon the tanner, whose house is by the sea.”
As per Luke 10:29-37 New International Version (NIV),:
The Parable of the Good Samaritan
29 But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
30 In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. 31 A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32 So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out two denarii[c] and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’
36 “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”
37 The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”
Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”
Predestination, where believing in Jesus Christ is essential for eternal life….
Many Evangelicals follow the concept of predetermination where God has decided their fate before they were born, and all that’s required for the gift eternal salvation is for peoples to confess heir faith in Jesus Christ. But most of the bible quotes used to bolster this conviction refer to the word belief in very narrow terms. However, in the Greek and Hebrew translations of these same bible verses, the words, ‘to believe’ has a much broader connotation where the follower is not just obligated to believe in Jesus Christ but to also obey his teachings.
Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 7:21 ESV
Here are the most basic tenets of the teachings by Jesus Christ….
“An expert in the law stood up to test Him, saying, “Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?””What is written in the law?” He asked him. “How do you read it?”He answered: Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.”You’ve answered correctly,” He told him. “Do this and you will live.”– Luke 10: 25-28 HCSB”
“1 Corinthians 13:2 (NIV): “If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.”
“My next point of departure from the practice of too many White Evangelicals has to do with their need to condemn the sins of others while neglecting to clean up their own houses.”
As per the 6/19/ 2014 Patheos writeup, “4 Teachings Of Jesus That His Followers (Almost) Never Take Seriously” by Brendan Robertson:
“We are saved by faith alone, apart from works!” is a very popular religious catch phrase.”
“The doctrine of sola fide (faith alone) was developed by the Reformers in response to the Roman Catholic Churches corrupted teachings that emerged in the 16th Century teaching that one could gain favor with God and shave off years in Hell and Purgatory by giving money to the church or doing acts of penance. The intention of the doctrine of faith alone was very good- to correct the error that our salvation could be earned or that God’s grace could be manipulated. But like most doctrines that are formulated in response to another group’s doctrine, it often goes too far. One of the clearest teachings throughout all four Gospel accounts is that the way to enter the Kingdom of God is through living in obedience to the Law of Christ. Time and time again, Jesus makes very clear statements that condemn those who think that they will be saved because they believe the right things or do the right religious rituals. Jesus responds to people who believe they are religious and deserve heaven by saying that their outward religiosity is detestable to God and the only thing God desires is that they would exercise their faith by obeying the command of God- to do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly. (Micah 6:8) Jesus says if anyone claims to be right with God but doesn’t serve the poor, needy, oppressed, marginalized, sick, diseased, and sinful, then they do not have a relationship with God. No matter what they proclaim with their lips. No matter how religious they may appear. Jesus says those who don’t obey will have no part in his Kingdom. He makes very clear that the way to “inherit eternal life” is through loving God and loving our neighbor. Isn’t it astonishing, then, how many Christians today have been taught that salvation comes through right believing instead of right practice- a message that is fundamentally contrary to the words of Jesus. (And even more to his little brother James who says, “You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone.” James 2:24 ESV)”
Condemnation isn’t Jesus’ style.
“I have not come to condemn the world, but to save it.” John 3:17 ESV
“Neither do I condemn you. Go and sin no more.”– John 8:11 ESV
“Many modern day Evangelical preachers spend a lot of time talking about the kinds of people that God is opposed to and who he condemns. They spend time talking about how to transition from a position of condemnation before God to a position of Grace through believing the right things about Jesus. They often talk about those who disagree or live contrary to their understanding of what is “righteous” as those who are under condemnation from God. But what’s funny is that as one examines the teachings and life of Jesus, we find him not only befriending, loving, and affirming some of his societies most despised and vile people, but chastising the religious leaders who condemned them for their sin. Whether it is Jesus’ conversation with Rabbi Niccodemus in John 3 where Christ explains that it is his mission to redeem the world and not to condemn it or the instance where a woman is caught in the act of adultery and is taken outside to be stoned by the religious officials (as the law required) and Jesus steps in to stop the condemnation and proclaim freedom and forgiveness to the broken woman, it is clear that Jesus is not in the condemning business. Instead, it seems Christ is in the business of restoring humanity to the most broken and wicked of people. It seems that his passion is to see the weak, sick, and broken become strong, healthy, and whole in his Kingdom. It seems that he spends very little time (almost none) telling sinners why they’re wrong or speaking words of condemnation over them, but rather practically loving and extending grace to the most screwed up of individuals.”
Link to entire article: huffingtonpost.com/ 4 Teachings Of Jesus That His Followers (Almost) Never Take Seriously…