John Wayne is Not Our Problem

(The title of this post is a reference to the increasingly popular book by Kirsten Kobes Du Mez, Jesus and John Wayne: How White Evangelicals Corrupted a Faith and Fractured a Nation.)

Christians, our failure is not that 81% (based on exit polls) of “white evangelicals” voted for Trump, but that Trump was even a candidate. We are seeing large-scale accusations that the “white evangelical” voting block is really just power hungry. No, what is being seen is the vestiges of a once clear moral sense now in tatters.

The failure of Christians in the application of Christ’s character to civic action, is not in having voted for the lesser of two evils candidate, but of failing to ensure that a character-filled candidate was available. That prior failure is behind the growing chorus of false accusations about why we voted as we did; a chorus increasingly joined by liberal Christians confused about the basics. But of course, conservatives are also confused about the basics (though in different ways) —and that is the point.

Don’t get it twisted: biblical values are under attack, and the solution to our massive moral decline is not to embrace anti-biblical values, but to be truly radical (Latin from radix = root) and return to the character of Christ in every way. Don’t criticize the seemingly incongruous protests of the last 50 years coming from conservative leaders. Instead, get behind a total return to biblical life: which will transform every. single. aspect. of your life: how you eat, how you vote, how you spend, what you watch, what you listen to, etc.

The problem is our complicity with the evil of our culture; the solution is not to join it, but to be truly radical. There is no corner of your life over which Jesus does not declare: that is mine.

This is a gospel issue, because when Christian lives do not display a real alternative to the hopelessness of the world, the Gospel will not be embraced.

What is the fix? Start with you: set your heart to study, to do, and then to teach God’s law. You understand, I hope, that God’s law is nothing more than the application of Christ’s character to human circumstances, and wherever we see it in Scripture—from Genesis to Revelation—it serves to model for us, via application of principle, how we are to live today. Of course we cannot “keep it” so as to accomplish our salvation, but if a failure to imitate Christ’s character condemns us, then having been justified from the reality of that condemnation we are now set free to stumble after the imitation of Christ in our admittedly failure-ridden fashion (the righteous person falls seven times but get up yet again).

One final tip: getting radically Christlike will not make you acceptable to the progressive culture (secular or Christian), so if you’re feeling appreciated and embraced by those in tune with the zeitgeist…something is off.

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