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Evangelicalism, like the Dry Falls, may be diverted

Dry Falls, near the middle of our state in Grant County, is a natural memorial to change. Once enormous amounts of water, 10 times the flow of all the rivers in the world, poured over this 350-foot high and three-and-a-half-mile wide geologic monument. Then it was the largest waterfall on earth, but something happened. A glacier damming a 3,000-square-mile, 2,000-feet-deep lake melted, and the water flow diverted into the Columbia River, leaving the great falls dry.

As a member of a denomination that identifies itself as Evangelical, I believe something similar has happened to the popular form of Christianity, which the media identifies as “Evangelical.” 

During the recent political primary season, something has happened.  Evangelicalism has become detached from its original meaning, untethered from its history and disconnected from the faith and tradition that gave it birth. 

Across the Midwest and South, candidates, who have called for “carpet bombing” our adversaries and using increasingly violent forms of torture, and whose lifestyles and values flaunt long-held expectations of followers of Jesus’ teachings, have received the public support of leaders of “evangelical congregations” and “evangelical voters.”

Marrying violence to Christian ritual, one politician said, “Water-boarding is the way we baptize terrorists.” 

Another claimed the dalliance of a leading Presidential candidate with another woman while married was “okay with God,” because they met in church.

What today is identified as Evangelical no longer reflects the Jesus’ teachings or example. It uses the words we know, but in foreign and contradictory ways. Excesses in the lives and values of these candidates are upsetting when applauded by “Evangelical Christians,” but there is something greater at stake.

The underlying reality is, there is a little understood movement that has become deeply entrenched in our political process.  It’s called Christian Reconstructionism. It has parallels to extreme Islam, embracing a dominion-oriented, post-millennial understanding of theonomy, which is the idea that Mosaic law should be observed strictly by modern societies.

The goal of the reconstructionist movement is to integrate every aspect of American life into a consistent worldview that is based on the abiding validity of the Old Testament Law in exhaustive detail. 

Like radical Islam, it calls for the submission of women. It whitewashes the brutality of slavery. It turns the concept of freedom on its head.  It is anti-intellectual and anti-science. It opposes public education. It condones violence.  It envisions a steady decimation of treasured constitutional principles of government and church-state relations enjoyed by U.S. citizens.

Surreptitiously, it is playing a huge role in the shape of our public discourse.

Leaders and adherents within Evangelical circles have been co-opted by politics to the extent that evangelicalism itself has, like Dry Falls, been cut off from its source of life, the evangelion, the “good news” of Jesus’ message.

Nick Block - Fig Tree secretary

Spokane Friends Church

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