Dear Conservative White Evangelicals

To my dear white brothers and sisters (who consider themselves conservative Evangelical Christians),

I want to appeal to you today to help heal some of the wounds fracturing not only the country we live in, but more importantly the church, which has no borders or nationalities except the kingdom of God. I am a white Christian who grew up, in many ways, in the same evangelical culture as many of you. I listened to messages about accepting Jesus into my heart; I listened to Third Day, the Newsboys, DC Talk. I experienced the genuinely loving and heartfelt aspects of this kind of Christianity. I have no baggage or bitterness, even as some of my theological viewpoints have diverged from what my youth group experience was. I learned what it means to be a servant to the world from mission and service trips to rebuild homes with my evangelical youth group.

So I get it. You voted for Donald Trump because you care about unborn children, not because you hate people who support abortion. You worry fiercely about a nation that you feel disregards the most vulnerable: the unborn. You saw a chance to get someone named to the Supreme Court who could make it much harder to get a legal abortion in the U.S.

I get it. You’re concerned about waning biblical authority in church and society when it comes to issues of gender, sexuality, and marriage. Perhaps you worry that you will be forced to betray your own theological convictions in your workplace or business, or that your children will no longer respect you or the Bible because of what they learn in public school. And I know that you care about poverty, disease, war, treatment of women, fair health care, and God’s creation. You  don’t like being reduced in identity to one or two issues, as important as they may be to you. You genuinely try to teach your children not to judge based on skin color. I may not agree exactly with you on all of the above, but I trust that you believe your convictions are borne out of love for God and the Bible.

And yet, I have a suspicion that many of you don’t like Donald Trump and may now find yourselves with a case of buyer’s remorse. He lies. About small things (crowd sizes) and big things (voter fraud) to protect his own ego. That is not a good example for children and violates one of the ten commandments that many of you still wish were the guiding principles for this country. He has said horrible things about women. He has mocked the disabled. He has not demonstrated the kind of moral character most of us would hope for in a president. And whatever you may hope happens for abortion in the coming years, the very real threat of nuclear war would make life unthinkable for an entire generation of unborn children.

So I have two invitations to extend to you today, from your brothers and sisters who share many of your concerns and beliefs, even if we disagree strongly about what it means to see them lived out: 1) Join the resistance. A “wait and see” mentality is exceptionally dangerous, as the church found out in Adolf Hitler. Worried first and foremost for their own security and safety, Christians in Germany found themselves without a real voice to resist the evil happening to their neighbors.

Secondly, dialogue with us.Your brothers and sisters who disagree on many issues want to dialogue with you. We really do. We want to have conversations about social issues, race, and how we understand Jesus’ teachings in the Sermon on the Mount in our world. We want to be part of healing divisions in our churches. We have theologically grounded view points, arrived at by careful Bible study and conversation, as you do. Trust that we are not disrespectful of the Bible. Come together with us and read the Scriptures anew. But to do that, we all need to get out of the echo chambers on our social media feeds and sit down face to face, open to one another.

I do have one other request: don’t be afraid of protesters and demonstrators. I realize that for some of you, passages like 2 Timothy 2:2-3 make such public dissent distasteful. But many of us believe that the same Jesus who threw out the money changers in the temple is standing with us in the streets. Trust that we have arrived at our convictions with prayer and discernment, even if you don’t find yourself in the same boat.

Let us all work toward the unity our Lord Jesus prayed for before he was crucified.

Peace and all good,

Brian

 

 

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