Who are those evangelicals anyway?

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Some have wondered if it’s worth our time caring about what the general populace is thinking and saying about Christians and Christianity. “That’s not my business,” some would say. “It’s only my business to live my life as a true follower of Christ.” I agree that this is ultimately what matters: how we live versus what we say; as Marti likes to say, “It’s the little things you do, not the big things you say, that matters.”

However, having said that, it still is important to be aware of the broader cultural messages that are being displayed in the media as “Christian,” and where those messages are wrong or misguided, we, as followers of Christ and leaders of others who are following, need to point out those errors and correct them. Indeed, virtually all of the teaching of Jesus was set in the context of what the prevailing religious leaders were teaching that was wrong.

Fifty years ago, no one knew what Christians thought and few cared. In the ensuing years, that has drastically changed. Today, news about Christians and evangelicals is front-page fodder, especially in an election year when Christians and evangelicals who have mobilized politically (something I don’t think we ever should have done) have become a force to be reckoned with by all who are running for office. In some states, people who call themselves Christians make up over 50% of the voting public. For a politician to ignore that voting bloc would be a big mistake. But what is being put across by that group as the prevailing concerns of Christians and evangelicals may or may not reflect the concerns and attitudes of Christ. And when it doesn’t, I have a really hard time standing by and watching.

For instance, Jesus would not kick gays and lesbians out of church. Jesus would not consider the interests of the wealthy as more important than the interests of the poorest of the poor. Jesus would not think it was important for everyone in the country to be able to own a gun. Jesus would not advocate building walls anywhere. Jesus would not put the security of the nation over the needs of society.

Yet for some reason, these are the things that keep coming to the forefront as being on the agenda of most Christians, and if that is the message that is going out to the world, I am deeply concerned that the world hears this, and nothing about the love, grace and forgiveness of the gospel of Jesus Christ. And just as Jesus preached, “You have heard it said … but I say to you …”, I am doing the same thing.

And if there are those who are using my Father’s house as a means of padding their political coffers and gathering up votes, I’m going to want to turn over their tables and kick them out. They have no business fleecing the Body of Christ for votes. “You have turned my Father’s house into a den of politicians.”

For almost fifteen years, “Declaration of a Marketplace Christian” has stood as our core statement of what we believe here at the Catch. You will notice that, just as in the teachings of Jesus, its main points are set against the backdrop of what is wrong about the prevailing suppositions of the culture about Christians. I find that I have to read this piece periodically just to remind myself of what I believe because it is in such contrast to what is commonly held. I highly recommend everyone read this, especially in light of this election year. If you’ve never read this or you haven’t read it in the last 6 months, you must read it now. It is a requirement for all Catch citizens. It will take you only five minutes to read, and a lifetime to figure out.

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17 Responses to Who are those evangelicals anyway?

  1. Mark Seguin says:

    Loved reading today’s Catch, yet it did make me sad in thinking about how sometimes. no too many times we “Evangelicals” are miss-representative-ed… 😦

  2. Bill Fenstermaker says:

    Thank you, John. You have been singing my song for years, and I appreciate it. I am always frustrated, embarrassed, and saddened by the image of my faith that is so broadly presented to the world. Jesus, I am sure, would not be pleased by it either. Please continue to boldly proclaim the truth.

  3. michael timmerman says:

    Are you sure Jesus wouldn’t want everyone to own a gun? After all every commodity that has good in it also invites evil. like the church, religion, the internet, free speech, politics. We cannot simply turn on all of things each individual likes or turn off all of the things each individual dislikes. I have been a shooter and hunter all of my life and it has been a wonderful opportunity for me and my dad and me and my sons to spend time together and we have made some great memories. Even the government says not everyone should own a gun and I agree with that. Laws don’t stop criminals. ( that’s why they sell radar detectors) I agree with you John when you say Jesus would love the homosexuals, prostitutes and killers, why then should we punish all for the sins of others and even better yet, who decides is who good enough to have one and who isn’t? looks like you are doing a bit of Gods work yourself.

    • Kris Rudin says:

      I am glad you have had so many good times with your family while hunting. Sadly, hunting animals is the least often use of guns in this country, in which thousands and thousands of humans are killed by gunshot each year. Hunting guns (rifles) are much different than assault rifles and handguns. I don’t know the answer to the problem, but I’m fairly sure that Jesus is grieved by the wanton loss of life caused by all these shootings.

    • jwfisch says:

      Thank you for your comments. This is a tough one. I just don’t see Jesus advocating self-defense in any form.

  4. Kris Rudin says:

    Thank you for saying what needs to be said!

    I know you will get pushback, especially about guns and homosexuals, but I hope you continue to speak out about the love and grace of God, and not who he “hates” (no one).

  5. Jeanne says:

    Jesus said, on the night of his arrest, “…if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one.” (Luke 22:36)
    The U.S.A. founders said that our right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.
    If someone I love finds himself in a situation where a person is committing a mass shooting, I hope that a law-abiding citizen who has a concealed-carry permit is present to limit the damage done. The police can’t be everywhere at once.
    There is room for disagreement on this subject in the body of Christ.

    • jwfisch says:

      I like your last comment especially. I do struggle with the whole idea of self-defense when Jesus told us not to use it. I think Jesus’ comment you quoted in Luke 22 was a way of Jesus saying how bad it was going to get, not a commend to his disciples to arm themselves. It also goes on to say that one of the disciples said “Look. here is a sword,” and Jesus replied, “It is enough.”

  6. Gary says:

    Okay, push the button and go in. Key words have to be identified in most conversations to figure out where and how each of us see things from different perspectives. “Kick” Gays and Lesbians out of church. Consider interests of the wealthy as “More” important than the interests of the poorest of the poor. “Everyone” in the country to be able to own a gun. I gotta ask, where in the news was the last time it was reported that a Christian church “Kicked any gay or lesbian out their doors, I missed that one! My father was one of ten, who didn’t finish the 3rd grade. He came from the fields in and around the swamps of Arkansas to California. He never got rich but he never did stop trying, with the will, strong hands and a back bone, he raise four kids of his own, who didn’t get rich, but learned from him don’t stay down in the mud. I don’t know about building walls, but open boarders hurt the poorest and not so poor already here. Things appear to beg the thought that certain “Interests” who want to gain votes to an agenda to increase the poorest population stuck behind a “Wall’ of poverty and dependency. Where would Jesus stand on that?? Logic and reason will prevail when it comes to guns. Not every person should have a gun in their hand, but everyone has a right to have one.(except those legally exempt to. Can you point them out to me?) Evil people will do evil things. I don’t begrudge anyone the ability to defend ones self or loved ones. Especially from a corrupt government.

    • jwfisch says:

      Isn’t this what makes this country great? We can disagree publicly. I’ve always had a hard time with he whole concept of self-defense and Jesus telling us to turn the other cheek, go the extra mile if forced and give someone your shirt too if they take your coat.

  7. Lisa in Sunland says:

    Declaration of a Marketplace Christian should probably be read monthly. Weekly during election seasons!

  8. Edward Jose Sandoval says:

    Does it not say that a man of God, is to tell a brother. When he’s doing wrong. In fact, we are to bring a sinner before the elders. And if they do not change from their sin. Sent them away from the church. That they may see their wrong doings and repent. Coming back, to the church. In we have no right to judge the sinner. For he is not of us, but a man God. We have all right, in fact we are to do so! That we may save him from eternal death. Jesus will never leave us. We are the ones that leave. By are sins. So, much so that we quench. The, Holy Spirit from are lives. Habitual, sin knowing that we’re sinning and still doing it. If the spirit of God leaves us. Then we are leaving in the spirit of darkness. Are light has turned out. For we want to do what trickles are ears. The road to heaven is hard not everyone will make it. In fact very few will. As for politics, Jesus will be king. Some will run a few citys,and some many. Where God, put you be happy! And do as God has given you, to do.

  9. Gary says:

    What is your answer then. Call your policeman son and his buddies to come tackle the home invaders. Or assure every one that evil people can be talked out of what their about to do. Come On!

  10. Gary says:

    I was going to argue your misusage of the events that required the quotes you use to support your non self-defense stance. But that might require a defense on your part. Plus I have let the Lord reverse the Passivized Christians views (even my own) in His time.

    • Gary, methinks you’re interpreting what you believe to be your valid arguments as a form of apologetics and/or enlightened teaching when in reality you’re just arguing for arguings sake.
      It appears – notice: I wrote “appears” – as if you’re looking for a fight rather than a meaningful dialogue which also, sadly, reflects the current political and religious (American “evangelical”) tone. Brute force and louder shouting are today’s answer to the “controversial” issues… and to hell with Christ-like love and empathy, civility and mutual understanding, and going the extra mile – especially with someone you disagree with.
      What a sad, bitter, disappointing, darkened, and meaningless existence for those who embrace intolerance, imbue fear, lack comprehension, refuse to dignify, and deny any form of validity or respect to others points of view.

      • Dan says:

        Actually Gary was bluntly pointing out a possible hole in John’s thinking about self-defense in general. Is it hypocritical or naive to have a moral problem with self defense while living under the protection of police and the military? This seems nonsensical to Gary, and he said so, without calling anyone names. It’s all right.

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