January 25, 2021

Some questions that came up this week…

Some questions that came up this week

Is it really “the mother of all rebellions” for a woman to preach on Mother’s Day?


Is this sharp objection really all about “protecting systems”?

and, while we’re on the subject,

Is there really some silly pietist saying that a mom who enjoys being the center of attention on Mother’s Day may be revealing “a root of idolatry”? (Who thinks this stuff up?)

Is Pat Robertson right when he says the Alabama abortion law has gone too far?


Is Senator Kirsten Gillibrand right when she says abortion laws like Georgia and Alabama passed are “against our Christian faith”?


Do these abortion laws, indeed, represent “a progressive step forward”?


What is at “the heart of the evangelical crisis”?

Mark Galli begins a new series on American evangelicalism at CT. In the first installment, he writes about how he has come to agree more with what Michael Spencer said in his “Evangelical Collapse” articles.

I encourage you to read this piece carefully and to follow the series. We’ll be doing so here as well.


  1. john barry says

    What religion in the Western World has not lost its influence and place in society? This is inevitable as we have become a successful producer of an abundant lifestyle that does not require participation in any religion that has moral and ethical standards. The evangelical collapse in the USA is no more pronounced or dire than the collapse of Catholicism in Europe or the USA. Nothing new, the last verse in Judges is every man did what was right in his own eyes.
    The USA has lost its common sense and is throwing the baby out with the bath water. Most Americans can and would live with abortion within the first 3 months and for rape, health etc. but the fringe element on both sides have given us an either or situation.

    I am at peace with what ever happens in this world, I have done the best I can and am too old to change. Would love to see out it plays out however as the song goes, you don t know what you got , until you lose it.

    In a few years Christianity Today will be read by a faithful few as they will still be profiling the demise of the evangelical community , that will be as relevant as reporting on the Shakers.

    I do depend on people like Kristian Gillibrand to set my moral and faith bearings. I know she would never change her position on most issues just to achieve a 1% poll position. Of course , most of the opposition to her is because she is a “young” woman and at 52 years old she is a young woman to me but not to South Bend Pete.

    • Robert F says

      — I agree with you that the “Evangelical Collapse” is just part of the overall collapse of institutional religion in America, though I don’t view that collapse as negatively as you do, because I don’t view what existed before as positively as you do. For instance, I see it as a salutary thing that this last week the FBI, representing the interests of secular society, raided the headquarters of a Texas Catholic diocese in its investigation into credible allegations of systemic sexual abuse in the diocese — for too long moral and criminal rot have been allowed sanctuary behind the pious veneer of institutional religion in America. If the whole edifice has to fall, so be it; the chickens have come home to roost. What Americans no longer want to tolerate, particularly the young, is not “participation in any religion that has moral and ethical standards”, but the blatant moral hypocrisy of institutional religious wolves dressed in sheep’s clothing.

      — You say that the “USA has lost its common sense”, and that the “fringe element”, the extremists “on both sides have given us an either or situation”; I say that the USA has always been a country typified by political and social extremism

    • Adam Tauno Williams says

      “we have become a successful producer of an abundant lifestyle” – – – we aren’t that either.

  2. anonymous says

    “What is at “the heart of the evangelical crisis”?”

    he (whose name we do not mention) is a symptom of it

  3. Adam Tauno Williams says

    Mr. Galli is an elegant writer. And I stand by my belief that, sadly, Mr. Spencer was wrong. There will be no moment of crisis; Evangelicalism is in full vigor.

    “””I recognize the measure of truth in each of these many complaints. They are not to be dismissed with a sweep of the hand.””” – one does not even have to wait a paragraph for the ‘but’: “””There is indeed a political crisis (but it’s both on the right and left in my view). And a crisis of racism (certainly among whites, but also increasingly among minorities). And…””” What? What? Nice sweep of the hand.

    [aside: you don’t even know what “racism” means, or won’t use the term correctly; you are all in on the problem]

    “””To be clear, I have no money in this game,””” . . . Editor in Chief of CT.

    “””Still, contemporary evangelicalism is in serious trouble””” – No, everything is 5×5. Evangelicalism is doing fine, there is no crisis. Crisis is not even possible with leaders as woolly-headed as Mr. Galli.

    He describes Evangelicalims as a “reform movement”. No, what he is describing is an anti-reform movement, carefully fenced by both-sideism and every other sad trope. Tomorrow will be like today.

    • Robert F says

      I think you’re right on all counts. I would say that there is, however, not a crisis but a sometimes and in some places slower, sometimes and in some places faster, trend of atrophy of institutional religion in America. If the trend continues for a few more generations, much institutional religion in America will die a slow, natural death — but there is, of course, no guarantee that it will continue for a few more generations.

      • Adam Tauno Williams says

        > no guarantee that it will continue for a few more generations

        Predicting a course of events for even one generation is a perilous business.

        Eventually things will be different; that one is pretty safe. 🙂

        America is structured in such a way as to give a minority, if they are present in the correct locations, lots of levers to pull to assert dominance. Yeah, someday the numbers will have simply tipped too far for that gamesmanship to function – but nobody knows when that will be.

    • “””To be clear, I have no money in this game,””” . . . Editor in Chief of CT.”

      And he hasn’t exactly covered himself with glory lately, especially with the way he and CT have treated those reporting on the cover ups of sexual scandals in the SBC…

      • Adam Tauno Williams says

        Its, just, so . . . O M G. How could he write that sentence? Give it even a moments reflection. What?

        His brain is clearly broken.

    • Mr. Galli is not that elegant a writer. I found his article tedious and it read more like a policy manual than a call to arms. Michael Spencer’s original series had infinitely more passion and fire than Mr. Galli’s.

      If you want real fireworks, you should read Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s 1983 (not 1968) address on receiving the Templeton Prize in religion. As long as Communism was around, Russian Orthodox Christians got away with confessing beliefs contrary to those held canonical by Comrade Eeyore’s Anti-Uncool-Old-White-Guy Brigade. Not so much anymore. Our intransigence on ‘pelvic issues’ canceled that check long before Putin came on the scene. Black Christians are still given a modicum of freedom to do be actual Christians and believe Scripture, but it remains to be seen how long that will last, especially if they don’t knuckle under to the soft pressure being applied to them by Oprah Winfrey and other critics of the Black church.

      Th[e] eager fanning of the flames of hatred is becoming the mark of today’s free world. Indeed, the broader the personal freedoms are, the higher the level of prosperity or even of abundance – the more vehement, paradoxically, does this blind hatred become. The contemporary developed West thus demonstrates by its own example that human salvation can be found neither in the profusion of material goods nor in merely making money.

      This deliberately nurtured hatred then spreads to all that is alive, to life itself, to the world with its colors, sounds, and shapes, to the human body. The embittered art of the 20th century is perishing as a result of this ugly hate, for art is fruitless without love.

      • Christiane says

        “Comrade Eeyore’s Anti-Uncool-Old-White-Guy Brigade”

        you’re on today, Burro LOL

      • Hey, *somebody* has to call out uncool old white guys on their BS. History has shown they won’t do so themselves 😛

        • Burro (Mule) says

          The BS piles up on all sides, and nobody seems all that anxious to deal with their own.

          From the same Templeton lecture:

          Amid all the vituperation we forget that the defects of capitalism represent the basic flaws of human nature, allowed unlimited freedom together with the various human rights; we forget that under Communism (and Communism is breathing down the neck of all moderate forms of socialism, which are unstable) the identical flaws run riot in any person with the least degree of authority; while everyone else under that system does indeed attain “equality”? the equality of destitute slaves.

        • Christiane says

          loved it! 🙂

  4. This one section by Galli really resonated with me…

    “I didn’t think I really wanted to love God more. The reasons for that are complex and will be touched on later, but the bottom line was: I really didn’t want to love God.”

    I thought hard about it, and I do think that this is the root of the problem. We have long been sliding towards, and have now reached, the point where living the Americanized version of Christianity – most clearly manifest in evangelicalism, but not confined to it – and loving God have become incompatible. Americanized Christianity is too embedded in American culture, too dependent on that culture’s continued success, too comfortable, and too concerned about external civil and legal “righteusness” (often very narrowly defined to a few key “single issues”).

    Much of the “evangelical circus” is, at heart, a subconscious means of distracting us from that awful truth.

    • Adam Tauno Williams says

      Maybe there is a Theological root here. By denying the importance of Incarnation, both ours and The Incarnation, it is hard to address Incarnate Reality. ***Of Course*** people care principally about their social standing, about their financial security, about their job, about their neighborhood, Duh! Maybe the root error is around the fact that Evangelicalism cannot embrace that reality – it wants Theology, or Orthodoxy, or whatever to be central / supreme [rather than a thing that tempers]. Of course Theology isn’t, never was, and never will be central – because every person is A-Person with a warm damp sticky center. Other, more incarnational traditions, have more reach into that reality; a reality which Evangelicalism can never, by definition, appreciate – at the core of Evangelicalism is the belief that this reality – aka: Reality – is filthy.

      Is Evangelicalism a religion of Disgust? … read these articles.

  5. Adam Tauno Williams says

    If “The Mother of All Rebellions: Having a Woman Preach on Mother’s Day” had a #Satire tag, it might be a really good article. Ugh.

  6. senecagriggs says

    RE: The yet born babies conceived thru rape or incest: Are they also “Imago Dei?’ If so they surely deserve the same protection as a baby born into a loving family.

    • That’s not what many evangelical theologians believed, even after Roe v. Wade was handed down. They apparently all decided in the late 70s that Abortion Was Evil and launched a crusade against it, with little to no discussion as to why they changed their minds. Those on the Left think that this was mainly an instrument of culture war and re-establishing Male control over Women’s reproductive activities (or lack thereof). And given how the new batch of laws are written… they might be right about that.

      • senecagriggs says

        “That’s not what many evangelical theologians believed, even after Roe v. Wade was handed down.”

        And you know this how Eeyore?

        • Read Norman Geisler’s *Christian Ethics*, in the editions prior to and after Roe. The 180 degree flip is as dramatic as it is unexplained.

          • Headless Unicorn Guy says

            180 flip as in “Oceania has Always Been at Peace with Eurasia”?

            Which Orwell took from a RL incident; a Communist Party Commissar giving a Party Line speech in June 1941 about the Eternal Friendship between the USSR and Nazi Germany against the Capitalists. In mid-speech Comrade Commissar was handed a note that Germany had just invaded Russia and in mid-sentence switched to the Fascist Enemy Of All Time and the Eternal Enemy of Germany.

            Speaking of which, the Extra Credit/Extra Sci-Fi channel on YouTube has apparently started its new season of Extra Sci-Fi. This season it’s Dystopias, and they started with the biggies — Brave New World and 1984, with a side mention of Zamyatin’s We.

          • senecagriggs says

            Geisler isn’t data.

            • He’s a prominent evangelical theologian who wrote extensively on the subject under discussion. That counts as data, despite your raw assertion to the contrary.

        • Richard Hershberger says

          Fred Clark has written extensively on the subject. As it happens, this includes his most recent post:

    • Seneca, you make a good point, and this calls out the religious leaders who make an exception for rape and incest. Is the unborn baby human, and protected under the law, or not? Their exception weakens their legal standing and becomes a compromise. The Alabama senators are at least being consistent legally.

      As I understand it, Roe vs Wade is based on the 4th Amendment regarding unreasonable search and seizure. According to that, persons (and houses, papers and effects) are protected unless there is probable cause to suspect a crime. And in a medical scenario, nobody has the right but the mother and her doctor to know whether she is pregnant or not—so where is the probable cause? How does the law know unless the woman tells them? And the doctor is sworn to secrecy under federal HIPAA regulations. So there is a legal as well as a practical concern.

      I have to admit I’ve softened up on abortion over the years. Prohibition of alcohol didn’t work, with the black market version far more dangerous than our current state-regulated version. I believe the same would be true if we outlawed guns—or abortion—completely.

      As Dana mentioned below, Christians need to figure out other ways to cut down on abortions, rather than go the legal route. So far, it looks like all we’ve done toward that is to quit shaming (or stoning) pregnant teenagers by welcoming them back to church and encouraging a live birth. But this may be outweighed by abstinence-only education, the discouragement of birth control, and our lack of any recognition of the youthful sex drive—even though the average age for marriage has increased by at least 10 years in recent decades.

      • ” Is the unborn baby human, and protected under the law, or not? ”

        Is it? Is the “fully human from conception” case reality as airtight as you think?

        • Eeyore, that’s a separate question, and I wasn’t saying what I think in that regard. I won’t get into whether the embryo should or should not have full legal rights from conception. What I’m pointing out is that many of those who say “yes” to that would make an exception to allow abortion in cases of rape or incest. That is inconsistent, legally and theologically. If the embryo is to be considered human, created in the image of God, and with legal rights, how do we distinguish between those conceived consensually and those conceived from rape or incest? I think that has been a major flaw in the argument of many in the pro-life movement. That allowance undermines their very case. The Alabama senators were at least consistent with their belief that the embryo or fetus is human life. Oh, it may be a cynical political calculation, but there it is.

        • Brianthegrandad says

          I had coffee with a state senator from Alabama this morning. The hate mail and vicious attacks on him and his family for voting for this bill are pretty disgusting. The things they’ve said! In any case, he was quite clear that this bill was written to force the issue on personhood. When does the 14th amendment guarantee of equal protection come into play? We already have laws in Alabama protecting the unborn from chemical endangerment that have been deemed constitutional and are unopposed. There are similar laws that allow charging a person with two murders when a pregnant woman is killed. Again, constitutional and unopposed. I asked him now that they’ve passed this, when are we going to pass some laws to help prevent these pregnancies to begin with, and to help those who’ve already been born.

          • “I asked him now that they’ve passed this, when are we going to pass some laws to help prevent these pregnancies to begin with, and to help those who’ve already been born.”

            I’m on tenterhooks… what was his reply?

        • Dana Ames says

          Scientifically, yes.

          -Potentiality to reproduce with another of the species (when mature).
          -Offspring of two Homo sapiens.
          -Has 46 chromosomes.
          -Has Homo sapiens DNA composition.

          There’s no doubt about the “fully human” part, given where we are in the development of science. It’s the “protected under the law” part that is actually at issue, because that is the area of subjectivity and judgments about value.

          Can we at least admit that?


          • Does DNA the whole story? Chimpanzees and humans have a large overlap in DNA – are they that same percentage human?

            • Dana Ames says

              It’s not only about the DNA. All of the four requirements need to be met. Does the entity which is in the womb of a human woman meet those requirements? If it does, it is human – from a strictly scientific definition of species.

              Again, it’s the value judgments that are at issue here, not the humanity of the entity in the womb.


    • Those made pregnant via rape or incest are also ‘Imago Dei’, & have been assaulted & traumatised, at the very least, absolutely brutalised at worst. Some of them may still be children themselves. Have you ever read any of their stories? An 11 yr old girl in Argentina was recently forced to give birth to her rapist’s baby.

      For those who feel able to carry a child of incest or rape, more power to them. Otherwise we need to find some compassion for those unwillingly & non-consensually carrying a rapist’s child, as much as we do for the unborn child. Both are innocent.

      • Dana Ames says

        People can heal from trauma. It doesn’t necessarily scar their lives permanently. It’s much better to help that 11-year-old heal, and let her baby be raised by parents who are able to care for it, rather than do more violence upon her and that child, both innocent, as you say.


        • I’m going to respectfully disagree with you on this one Dana. People do not always heal from trauma, & to carry a rapist’s baby, particularly in an underage body, is just more trauma. I know many people with scarred lives from sexual violence, someone who lives in my house with me is.

          The ‘violence’ of childbearing & childbirth may be much much greater than a very early termination, & I say all this as someone fundamentally opposed to abortion, except in very few cases of mercy. I have liaised with Midwives on Teenaged Mum’s groups who have talked about the extraordinary level of work they have to do to help some of their Mums, abused as children, now carry & birth wanted children from a chosen partner, because the pain of vaginal birth causes such bad flashbacks that they can’t endure this, & may end up with (more) PTSD, birth injuries, & never be able to have sex again, or to carry another child.

          There ar no easy answers to this.

          • Dana Ames says

            I didn’t say always.

            Of course there are no easy answers. Much of the time all of the options are less than optimal.


  7. senecagriggs says

    The ebb and flow of Evangelicals; Bottom line: God always has his Biblical inerrancy believing remnant.
    That never changes. But the percentages probably ebb and flow.

    Elijah cried out to God – I’m the only one left.

    God said, “No, No. I have 7,000 others who have not bent the knee to Baal.”

    [ Estimates of a couple million Jews at the time, 7,000 faithful; works out to 0.35% – pretty tiny percentage of faithful ones. ]

    God always has his remnant; I don’t think it’s ever that big.

    • “God always has his Biblical inerrancy believing remnant.”

      And how do you know THAT, Seneca? 😉

      • Adam Tauno Williams says

        Personal Revelation, obviously.

        Yesterday God told me water is dry, so ya’ll who’ve thought you understood that water is wet – you’re heretics.

      • senecagriggs says

        Scripture brother.

        • Try harder.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says

          Actually, that’s SCRIPTURE!!!!!!.

          i.e. Recite your Koran like a Wahabi, without engaging any neuron above the brainstem.


        • senecagriggs says

          Newsflash – I’m a staunch Evangelical so I always turn to Scripture first.

          Romans 11:5 [ among others ]

          So too, at the present time there is a remnant chosen by grace.



          • Jon Bartlett says

            But why should the Evangelicals be the remnant? There might be serious competition from other parts of the church. Or maybe, shock horror, they might be from every tribe and nation….

          • That remnant was very often not the ones who actually thought they were the remnant. The survivors of the first sack of Jerusalem (pre-576BC) though they were the remnant. The Pharisees and Essenes both thought THEY were the remnant. “If you think you stand, take care lest you fall.”

      • Christiane says

        ‘inerrant’ is a term that people who have agendas use to justify their interpretation of sacred Scripture;

        I don’t see it as something ‘productive’, no

        in describing Scripture, if the term ‘sacred’ wasn’t ‘good enough’ for the ‘inerrant’ crowd,
        then know that they have a reason that is less than sacred for manipulating the Scriptures

        remember, the ones who created the ‘inerrant’ thing also removed this out of the Baptist Faith and Message:
        ” “The criterion by which the Bible is to be interpreted is Christ.”

        what followed was open-season on the dignity of women and finally, after it grew to shocking awareness, the removal of one of the chief patriarchists, Paige Patterson, a man who had instigated and directed the removal of this phrase from the SBC’s BF&M: ““The criterion by which the Bible is to be interpreted is Christ.”

        I think the term ‘inerrantist’ is stained. It has led to some profoundly sinful and destructive patriarchal behaviors which used the ‘bible’ to justify them because the ‘bible’ no longer was being interpreted through the ‘lens of Christ’

        Language and word meanings have impact on what is allowed in the Christian realm but take away the focus on Christ, and beware of what is put in its place by those who seek a ‘control’ and a ‘power’ that is fatally more of male idolatry than of a life-giving Christ-inspired faith.

    • In reality, the inerrancy espoused by most evangelicals probably couldn’t have existing before the Enlightenment, and its belief in foundationalism (and the emphasis on ‘absolute truth’). One certainly doesn’t find that kind of talk when reading ancient Jewish or early Christian literature. There is an assumption that God speaks through Scripture, but not the proof-texting, all-or-nothing, flat-earth biblicism one finds in most evangelical (and all fundamentalist) churches. Assuming that it’s always been ‘our way’ is rather short-sighted, historically speaking.

      • But then again, one might also say the same thing about evangelicalism in general. Despite all the protestations and being the ‘people of the book’, evangelicalism is very dependent, in its theology, hermeneutics, and its worldview on the Enlightenment.

        • “evangelicalism is very dependent, in its theology, hermeneutics, and its worldview on the Enlightenment.”

          They just made the English Bible their axiom instead of empirical observation.

  8. anonymous says

    there has to be a special hell waiting for those politicians who used the tragedy of abortion as a wedge issue in order to gain political power

  9. The “Evangelical crisis” is that they are clearly losing influence in our culture and having realized that have simply abandoned any attempt to convince others of their point of view. They have decided to use legal and political coercive power to force their attitudes on everyone else. The national cultural conversation about abortion has taken place and polls show the majority of Americans support abortion rights. The Alabama thing was a tactical mistake – clear overreach which will undermine their efforts by being perceived as too harsh even by people sympathetic to their point of view.

    • Burro (Mule) says

      They have decided to use legal and political coercive power to force their attitudes on everyone else.

      With all the arguments on this board proposing governmental ‘solutions’ to the many pressing human problems we face, I view this statement as Cineplex-level projection.

      • Burro (Mule) of all the factors that will ultimately destroy us surely the one we can least afford to indulge is simplemindedness. If you are every truly interested i having a conversation and finding out what my political values are, please don’t hesitate to ask. l

    • Dana Ames says

      “They have decided to use legal and political coercive power to force their attitudes on everyone else.”

      The “they” here can include some Evangelicals. And there are also plenty of examples of some people on the political Left who are using these tactics to limit the involvement of people of faith in the public arena. (Case: adoptions. Case: Academic freedom, at elite universities especially.) And, of more concern to me, as Eeyore noted above, there are plenty of folks in Big Business who are using coercive power against people of faith, not because those businesspeople themselves have any particular faith or even political commitment, nor because those people have faith may have acted in any way except to hold “the wrong beliefs”, but because Big Business sees the bottom line threatened if they don’t meet the demands of certain activists. (Case: Chik-fil-A, Silicon Valley, NFL.)

      The day may soon be coming when people of “the wrong kind” of faith may not be able to earn a living in their chosen profession because their beliefs don’t match the ideology of those in power in the elite business and academic world. (Case: physicians in Canada.) “Tolerance” is a word that has been emptied of meaning by those who use it most often. I am very apprehensive of the emergence of Thought Police, and not from the ranks of Evangelicals.

      There. More evidence that can be used to toss me into the “basket of deplorables”.


  10. Headless Unicorn Guy says

    Is there really some silly pietist saying that a mom who enjoys being the center of attention on Mother’s Day may be revealing “a root of idolatry”? (Who thinks this stuff up?)

    The Over-Saved Real True CHRISTIANS(TM), who else?

  11. Galli sounds like he might finally be seeing some of what many of us have seen for a long time.

    However, he lost me when he wandered into false moral equivalence between both sides of the current political spectrum. He’s obviously pandering to his audience, about 80% of which voted for trump and walks in lockstep with the GOP.
    This failure to denounce Trump and what the GOP has become remains at the heart of what is the problem with white evangelicalism. Until they do so, many of us will continue to stay away, and look on with disgust as a significant part of what should be the church following the way of Jesus continues instead to follow and border on worship of a cruel man with a deformed soul.

    • He’s just the symptom. The problem is that cannot conceive of a world in which their beliefs do not set the agenda for the rest of the culture. And they will latch on to anyone – ANYONE – who promises to give them back what they consider to be rightfully theirs.

      • Sure he is. But he’s smart enough to know better. I get the feeling he’s toeing the party line because he has to if he wants to keep his job. A lot of evangelical pastors did the same thing after trump’s election (the percentage of pastors who voted for him was far lower than the percentage of pew-sitters who did).

        • john barry says


          62 Million voters voted for Trump., the frustrating evangelicals who get all the credit or blame for Trump victory only gave Trump 3% more of their vote than Romney got. The evangelicals like any other voting bloc voted for the person who gave them a seat at the table. Mormons, Catholics, Jews, Lutherans, pagans and porn worshippers all vote for those they agree with. The idea that only crazy evangelicals voted and carried Trump into the white house is just another anti Trump wedge narrative. No one cares what CT today cares about the political voting of evangelicals especially evangelicals.

          • I never said they were responsible for his winning. That was not my point. What they are responsible for is their own decisions. My point was that those who claim to follow Jesus voted for a completely reprehensible human being. For a seat at the table, sure, but not the table followers of Jesus should be seeking.

    • Talk to me as if I was a fifth-grader.

      What specific policies have Trump and the GOP implemented that oppose “the way of Jesus”? Are there any about which Christians cannot disagree? The babies in cages outrage seems to have died down recently, but really? What should we do to people who show up at our borders uninvited? Parole them into communities like CarterReaganBushClintonBushObama did? The tax cuts? The withdrawal from the Paris Accord? The tariffs?

      I’ll agree with you that Trump is not a gifted politician like Clinton was, or a gifted public speaker like Obama, or even a King Log like Bush 43 was, but he is President and he has the right to formulate policy.

      Stop being so vague. Please tell me, John, Stephen, Eeyore, etc, to my virtual face what makes you a better Christian than my neighbor Joe Siminsky who attends an Evangelical Free Church and voted for Trump because he was ‘tired of all these Mexican restaurants popping up like toadstools after a heavy rain. They all look like money laundering schemes to me.’

      PS – Passing outrageous laws is about the only way to force our real Masters (the courts) to govern us.

      • “What should we do to people who show up at our borders uninvited? Parole them into communities like CarterReaganBushClintonBushObama did?”

        Yes. THAT at least is biblical, in both the OT Law and NT teachings of Jesus.

        “Please tell me, to my virtual face what makes you a better Christian than my neighbor Joe Siminsky who attends an Evangelical Free Church and voted for Trump because he was ‘tired of all these Mexican restaurants popping up like toadstools after a heavy rain.”

        Because we don’t accept that preserving cultural or ethnic “purity” is worth ignoring Christ’s injunctions to serve and care for the poor. Clear enough?

        • At least I got a straight answer from you there. I say “No”. Let them go back where they came from. So, let’s you and me fight, politically. On the macro level that’s where the static is coming from, because they’re so many ‘yous ‘ and so many ‘mes’.

          I also don’t see why the government must write the NT teachings of Jesus, at least the ones you agree with, into public policy. As the liberals are so fond of pointing out, we are not a Christian nation. There are plenty of verses in Leviticus that I would like to see implemented into public policy that have been effectively euchered by progressive hermeneutics.

          The people who show up uninvited at our borders are not our citizens. As a civil society we owe them nothing. The Roman Catholic church, God bless them, shelters and feeds a good number of them while they attempt to figure out what to do next.

          They are also not, in the aggregate “the poor”. Most of them are actually quite well off by the standards of their own societies.

          And “purity” in societies just means that you can predict with some higher degree of certainty how your counterparts will react in a given situation. You know, shared languages and assumptions, values, all that social capital built up over generations?

          • “Let them go back where they came from.”

            Which means they starve or get shot.

            The world is changing – falling apart rather. Telling folks who are being crushed by climate change, societal collapse, famine, etc to “stay where they are” is unacceptable. And they won’t sit still for it regardless.

          • Or, to put it much more eloquently than I could, here is Lajos Brons (a worthy successor to John Michael Greer, for those who know that name) capping off a five-post series on this subject…

            “Recall that the armed lifeboat strategy consists of two components: a fortified outer boundary to keep outsiders (i.e. refugees) out, and totalitarian repression and surveillance inside the fortress to keep the elites safe. It might be easier to obstruct either or both of these than to derail the train. Opening borders, helping refugees, and disrupting the surveillance state in any way available may help sink the lifeboat (or weaken it, at least). (And of course, there are plenty of humanitarian reasons to open the borders and help refugees as well.)

            Divorcing the two metaphors also makes a partial answer to the moral question easier. Even if it is too difficult to decide whether the train should be derailed or not, there is little similar difficulty when it comes to the armed lifeboat. The lifeboat must sink. The armed lifeboat is fascist and totalitarian and will produce nothing but suffering both inside and outside. The armed lifeboat is an attempt to keep refugees outside, while those refugees are fleeing climate disaster and economic disaster both of which are largely the result of actions by occupants of the lifeboat. And if that is not enough reason, even a selfish occupant of the lifeboat should want to sink it. Only by gradually getting used to ever-growing refugee flows and other forms of instability can countries and societies adapt. Building walls is not an adaptation but a refusal to adapt, and that refusal will result in utter chaos when the walls fall.

            The rich countries of the industrial world should welcome refugees – not just for humanitarian reasons, but also for selfish reasons, to allow them to adapt (to ever-growing refugee flows as well as other kinds of instability), to prevent fascism, to change. But they won’t do so willingly. Forcing the borders open may not be enough to save civilization (or even humanity) from extinction, but it is a first step, and even if it fails to save us, at least we’ll go without causing unnecessary additional suffering.”


          • Klasie Kraalogies says

            “Let them go back where they came from.”

            This is why I think you can take your religion/politics and stick it where the sun don’t shine. For decades the US followed a policy of destabilizing Central America. While US citizens decided to emulate their government by getting high on drugs and shit, thereby destabilizing those countries even more. And when things are properly messed up, White nationalists, fascists and others you like want to close the borders. Why the hell you think you are in any way a remotely decent human being boggles the mind.

            • Robert F says

              America has many national sins to answer for in its methodical covert and not-so-covert destabilization of Central America for decades. And we did it all so that American businesses could continue exploiting that resource rich region, using all the “lawyers, guns, and money” necessary.

        • john barry says

          Eeyore, so you believe that our government should be a theocracy based on the red letter parts of the NT? You do not think that having secular laws defining borders and enforcing constitutional laws is a good thing. So you are not in favor of separation of church and state?

        • Richard Hershberger says

          One of my interests is “vintage base ball,” that is baseball played by obsolete (typically 1860 or 1864) rules. Believe it or not, this is a thing, and fairly widely (if not deeply) spread. Authenticity is, as you would expect, a recurring topic. I have observed that when someone begins a conversation by professing that authenticity is a top priority, this is inevitably followed by a defense of doing something wildly inauthentic, typically involving hand-waving and deflection and distraction.

          This discussion of Scripture and Trump’s immigration policy reminded me of of this.

      • OK. Here’s a small sampling. Not that I think it will change your mind.

        He has separated migrant families. He has denied many, many legitimate refugees fleeing horrible conditions. He cozies up to strongmen and dictators while alienating our longtime allies in western, democratic nations. His interior and EPA are rolling back measures to protect the environment and people. His party voted dozens of times to repeal the ACA with no plan to replace it. Millions would have lost medical insurance had they succeeded. He thinks white supremacists are “very fine people.”

        I’m not playing the game of who’s a better Christian. But your neighbor’s statements about Mexican restaurants are highly discriminatory and assume illegal activity where there is likely none. That kind of behavior needs to be corrected, and those who follow Jesus should see other human beings first as just that, created in God’s image, as neighbors, as people God loves and so we must also. Wholesale discrimination against an ethnicity is not OK. The parable of the Good Samaritan was a poke in the eye to people who engaged in exactly such discriminatory beliefs.

      • I wish we had not withdrawn from the Paris Accord.

      • Sit down, mind your business, comb your hair and do your homework.

    • Adam Tauno Williams says

      “” into false moral equivalence between both sides “””

      False equivalence or Valid equivalence, doesn’t matter – – – a self-critique focuses on ones self! As soon as one plays the [juvenile] “but, mom, they do it too!” card the text moves from the critique column to the justification column.

      Why do these guys all, even the ones I like, have such a gosh darn hard time talking about Themselves, Their Tribe, without falling over into liminal or comparative rhetoric? Why is serious SELF-reflection so darn difficult?

      • David Greene says

        Except that the ““but, mom, they do it too!” card” in this case was not for justification.

      • Andrew Zook says

        I’d say that is one of the big reasons there is crisis in evangelicalism… in my experience it is unable, unwilling or maybe incapable of self-examination or self-critique. Mr Galli probably did it unwittingly because it’s so rooted, but I’ve believed for some time that one of the top 5 or so dogmas (not from bible/Christ/tradition) is this avoidance of self-critique at all costs. A companion dogma is “must blame everything on outsiders and liberals…”.

        • If you’re convinced that you alone have the Truth, and having that Truth makes you a target to Everybody Not You… that does not create an atmosphere conducive to self-criticism.

  12. The abortion laws being passed at the state level are about one thing: getting Roe v. Wade overturned. The extremity of the laws is deliberate. It’s designed to provoke a judicial battle.

    That doesn’t justify them. On the contrary, it shows how cynical and crassly political the anti-abortion crowd has become. It’s clear from the laws that they don’t care who gets hurt on the way as the plow forward to their imagined political prize.

    Anyone who thinks this is happening because these people actually have a developed view of the sanctity of human life simply isn’t paying attention to history, recent or otherwise.

    • senecagriggs says

      It’s clear from the laws that they don’t care who gets hurt on the way as the plow forward to their imagined political prize.

      John, babies are being hurt/killed. That is the problem. Let us not lose sight of that.

      INFANTICIDE is a great horror.

      • I heard an astute person make this statement years ago: ‘The problem with the pro-abortion crowd is that it’s really about money. The problem with the pro-life movement is that they believe life begins at conception but ends at birth.’ She went on to note that most pro-life people are vehemently opposed to government support of poor mothers and their babies (‘welfare queens’), don’t support Head Start or other programs, many don’t even support public schools, and of course, most support the death penalty. Pro-life in principle, but not in practice.

        • Rick Ro. says

          –> “The problem with the pro-life movement is that they believe life begins at conception but ends at birth.”

          This. Exactly.

          When an agnostic friend of mine pointed this out, I realized the hypocrisy of the pro-life stance. “Make sure the mother gives birth, but to heck with the kid after that!” Doesn’t seem like a very Jesus-like stance, forcing a mother to give birth on one moral ground, but then ignore any other moral ground that demands we help the child/mother/family post-birth.

          • Adam Tauno Williams says


            And if you are willing to use the [coercive] power of the government to do the first part, why is tending to the second part so morally/intellectually abhorrent?

            • Because it means you have to dig into your pockets to help support Those People.

              • anonymous says

                can’t, shouldn’t, won’t . . . . that’s SOCIALISM

                better dead than red

                oh wait . . . . Helsinki

                I’m confused

                • Just finished a book on Churchill called ‘Churchill’s Trial’. It is not a biography in the traditional sense, but a look at his political philosophy. Nobody in Britain opposed socialism more than Churchill, but he supported the ‘dole’ for two reasons (as well as a number of other ‘socialist’ proposals). First, it is only right for a prosperous society to provide a safety net, and a pension, for its people (most of which was contributed to by the people themselves, through payroll taxes). Second, he saw it as the antidote TO socialism. If conditions for average people, or even the poor, got too bad people would welcome socialism. Too bad our ‘anti-socialists’ in the US aren’t as astute as Churchill, but then there are very few Churchills throughout history, and we’re lucky (or unlucky) to get what we get.

                  • ” it is only right for a prosperous society to provide a safety net, and a pension, for its people (most of which was contributed to by the people themselves, through payroll taxes). Second, he saw it as the antidote TO socialism. If conditions for average people, or even the poor, got too bad people would welcome socialism.”

                    This. Or to put it more bluntly, “democratic socialism or autocratic populism – in times of crisis, pick ONE and only one.”

        • Brianthegrandad says

          Except many Christians and Christian organizations work to care for children post birth too. Some of us do foster care, and take children with all sorts of difficulties into their homes. My wife and I have had nearly 40 kids in our care over the years, from newborn to 18 years old, adopted two, kept a half dozen long term. Many were sad and angry, most had some sort of mental or physical injury from their parents or family, some were angels. None would have been better off aborted.

          • Dana Ames says

            May God reward you!

            adopted child

          • Andrew Zook says

            That’s good, but I don’t think it’s the dominate strategy… throughout my life in evangelicalism, I’ve heard much more about, much more discussion, more hand-wringing, more money, more effort etc over the politics questions and what to do about that…especially from the most prominent mouth-pieces ie winning that battle. The good things you mention are not front and center; they are peripheral at best; and so the world outside rightly discerns the general (or collective) hypocrisy, despite individuals living differently. If it was front and center (as at least one real authentic expression of live-giving Gospel) evangelicalism might not be in the place of crisis it is in…

          • john barry says

            Briainthegdad thanks for sharing your uplifting story. People like you are the unsung heroes and walk the talk as they say. Deepest respect and best to you and your wife. God Bless you .

            • Brianthegrandad says

              Many thanks, and I really mean that, and I appreciate your words. But to the greater church I’d have to say we want some help. I agree with those above that too often we Christians have taken the worldly way of power to change minds, when instead we should be quietly going about His business. Not saying those commenting here aren’t, but again, we could use some help. I’ve looked at some numbers. If only one family in one church in three in Alabama would adopt ONE foster child, there would be no more foster kids in the system. Sure, new ones would come in, and the system doesn’t move as quickly to make available for adoption, and parents have a right to be able to ‘fix’ themselves to get their kids back, but the numbers are there and there’s plenty of room for the Church to help. And to put our money and effort where our words are.

      • IF you assume a fertilized cell = a baby. As I stated above, that was never a set position in evangelicalism or fundamentalism prior to the late 70s.

        • First, a little background. I’m a family doctor, although I haven’t worked in 13 years because of chronic migraine. I delivered babies and did my own fetal ultrasounds. I’ve never supported abortion. But, I question when “life” begins. Is a fertilized ovum the same as a full-term infant? No, it’s not. We all know that. Even the most pro-life among us get it. A year or so ago, a major university lab had a failure of a couple of their freezers with some IVF embryos in it. They lost thousands of embryos. There was barely a peep from the pro-life community. This isn’t the same as losing a baby at 20 weeks, and we know it.

          When is a fetus it’s own person who deserves protection by the law? I don’t know. I did ultrasounds and saw ‘heartbeats” at six weeks, but I also know that those “heartbeats” were not truly hearts beating, but tubes of cells beating that were starting to form into what would become hearts. I did 12 week scans and saw many organs developed. Was that fetus a human? I still don’t know. But, by 36 weeks, that baby could have lived outside the womb and I would have called it a human.

          Lawmakers pass these bills like they know what is happening inside a woman’s body, but none of us really get it. We know that a fetus is viable sometime around 28 weeks (yeah, it’s earlier with intensive care, but 28 weeks is a reliable number). But, what about before that? When is that fetus a person? As a mother, I can tell you that I thought my little 6 week fetuses were people, but, as a doctor, I know that they looked more like tadpoles and had very little brain development.

          We need to have lots of humility when we start trying to regulate pregnancy and women’s bodies. How can we best love women with the love of Jesus? If I had the resources, I’d take every pregnant woman into my house and take care of her and her baby forever. But, I can’t do that. And that’s not the right answer. The best thing is usually to give the woman autonomy over her body and the resources she needs to make her choice.

          And, before I leave, let me just say that we do know how to reduce abortions, probably by almost half. The answer is to provide lost-cost long-acting contraception. Unfortunately, political conservatives are just as likely to defund contraception as they are to ban abortion. But, Colorado did a state-wide evaluation of having their health centers provide long-acting contraception to women who wanted it. The results were huge. Among teens, the pregnancy and abortion rates were cut in half. Among older women, the rates were markedly decreased, but not quite in half. The cost to the state was far less than if these women had gotten pregnant and carried to term. It’s a neat and easy solution, but we have to have the political will to use it.

          • This is the best comment on this subject I’ve ever read. Thank you.

          • This is one of the reasons I do assertive sexual health work with the teenagers I work with. If we can prevent pregnancy then there is no need for abortion.

            I really think the non-engagement with the provision of contraception & other sexual health resources, tells the true story of what is going on with abortion, when cutting the abortion rate is so easily done. Sometimes I think that the only people American evangelicals do care about are the unborn, & then only if they can be shown not to be LGBTQ, atheist, from immigrant parents & so on.

            I believe that abortion should be safe, legal & very rare, & that emergency contraception should be far more available so that the number of unwanted conceptions is ever decreasing. I also believe that D&C procedures after a miscarriage should not be termed an abortion procedure, which they currently often are in the US, & that those carrying a wanted child who discover the child has a terrible deformity & choose palliative care at birth, if they make it that far, should not be judged as ‘executing’ their child. All kinds of wrong.

          • Let say up front that I agree 110% with everything you said above. I hope it is obvious that in my harping on the question of “life at conception”, folks like you are not my target audience. My target audience is those who say that human life in the fullest sense begins at conception. Because unfortunately, any arguments about women’s rights, poverty, trauma and suffering by rape/incest victims, etc., don’t mean jack squat to people who believe that. “Saving the baby’s life” is the only thing on their minds. And the only way I see to break that deadlock is to point out that what is now considered biblical unchanging dogma was once, quite recently, NOT considered as such, and by many of the very folks who happily checked all the other evangelical/fundamentalist boxes.

            Frankly, as i was transitioning out of evangelicalism, the abortion question continued to haunt me. And then someone pointed out to me that recent change in beliefs- a change that even my prestigious seminary papered over in their own Ethics class. I realized that I had been sold a bill of goods… and i got PISSED.

      • Christiane says

        Hello Senecagriggs,

        might be time for our country to do some positive work to help young parents:


        just sayin’

      • When these same people pass living wage laws and generous welfare benefits for the poor and especially children, I might start believing their motives are actually care of the innocent.

        No one is saying abortion is wonderful, but that doesn’t give lawmakers a right to do evil in order that good may come of it. The raw fact is that the laws are excessive and create cruelty against the already born, all as part of seeking a political win.

        Also, evangelicals did not always believe abortion was always murder. That only came about when it became a political tool to get power in the late ’70s. I think Eeyore pointed that out to you above.

  13. Klasie Kraalogies says

    There is a beautiful thread on Twitter today regarding the abortion debate of late. I encourage everyone to read it. It says it sk much better than I ever could:


  14. Steve Newell says

    What is at “the heart of the evangelical crisis”?

    I believe that we no longer trust the power of the Gospel to change a sinful person. Instead we trust human actives such as culture, politics, economics, our personal experiences or emotions.

    • Christiane says

      when ‘christians’ became synonymous with ‘far-right Republicans’, something broke down in their witness

      maybe it was the substitution of trying to control others politically rather than doing the ancient work of ministering in the Holy Name?

      I don’t know.

      Not every Republican Christian is a trumpist, no. Not every Republican Christian approved of the caging of border children and the separation of children from their parents, no. But if only these people had STOOD UP AND SAID SOMETHING AS A GROUP IN PROTEST . . . . but no . . . and the ‘silence’ was deafening and I can still hear the silence and it breaks my heart

      what happened to these people?

      • Being a lone voice in the wilderness is a tough gig. I was already well out the door of evangelicalism when this storm broke. If I was still in, with zero friends outside my congregation… it would be tough to speak out, especially if de gacto excommunication would be the result.

  15. john barry says

    Steve Newell, I believe the people who respond to the Gospel message, if sincere, do change, that is a basic of what most evangelicals believe. I am not what I once was. What we have now is because of our rapid communication and opinionated society people want Christians to “prove” their Christianity by works, by supporting a certain social and political agenda, by their votes not on issues but on what their faith requires of them personally as perceived by others. I believe in enforcing our national laws on illegal aliens and have a secure national border, cannot be a real Christian, would be one example. Think there is only two sexes, must not be a good , loving Christian , perhaps a hater of those different . How can a Christian vote for Trump, answer is they are not really Christians , they just think they are, we know because we are the real Christians who get it. Impossible to separate secular political decision from your faith The real Christians voted for HRC.

    I have never really heard of any reputable Christian who really would say salvation is found in politics, economics, emotions or the culture. Perhaps I misunderstand your point. The “heart” of the Christian crisis not the evangelical crisis is that people of faith are not only becoming the minority but a minority that is losing its voice and influence.

    Like our old bar joke from my totally hedonistic day, if the ladies at the bar do not meet our standards we will lower them..

  16. Dana Ames says

    Christiane (and perhaps anonymous) is the only woman who has commented so far. So I’ll step into the ring.

    Re the claptrap in the women preaching and being the center on Mothers Day: That’s the kind of thing that results from a church culture that is confused on several levels – an outworking of the “just read the Bible and all will be clear” mentality. Nobody “just reads the Bible” and it is often not clear. In my Church, we pray a prayer of remembrance for all our mothers, foremothers and godmothers on Mothers Day, and our priest wishes all the mothers and godmothers present a happy day; that’s all. The holiday itself is not on our calendar. And in my tradition, we routinely honor women. Certain women are recognized for bringing whole people groups to Christ, so some preaching was involved…. In fact, today is the feast of Sts Andronicus and Junia, whom St Paul calls apostles and co-laborers.

    Re the abortion bills: This is the kind of thing that results from confusion in the wider culture about what human life is and means, and that marks many issues. (Sen. Gillibrand is completely confused on this.) Christians are making a mistake coming at the problem by means of legislation. If Roe v. Wade is overturned, the issue will devolve back to the individual states, and it will be legal in most of them. Abortion is a violent act perpetrated upon a woman as well as upon the child within her, and advocating for abortion up to the moment birth is advocating for barbarity. And did you know there are atheists and other secular people who also believe abortion is wrong? It’s easy to find their web sites. Having a consistent life ethic is not only a the the purview of religious people (though all too rare among those who describe themselves as “conservative”). However, reality is that abortion will not return to being an illegal act in this country; we’re too invested in violence in general. The majority of Christians in this country have no theological clarity about the violence in our society, let alone the ability to link that to what it means to be human. Interestingly, polls have demonstrated that while Americans favor “abortion rights” the majority also wants limitations similar to those in European countries. We can’t do even that much because we’re too polarized about every cotton pickin’ thing.

    As to the Tweeter Klasie referenced, I too want to see abortion eliminated because women won’t need to consider it. I believe Christians ought to take the lead and be the ones who (as in the first years of Christianity) make sure the needy and ill are cared for, no matter what the government does or does not do, and that homes are provided for children who are “unwanted”. There are, in fact, Christians in our country who do this, but it doesn’t make news, and they wouldn’t want to be spotlighted anyway. (Many of them are Catholics; unfortunately, many people can’t get past the word “Catholic”, for various reasons). If we’re going to advocate for policy, then we need to at a minimum 1) stop the gutting of the EPA – it’s a scandal that there is no longer any municipality in our country that has truly clean water, and poor neighborhoods are affected the most; and 2) figure out how to provide (continental) European-style health care coverage for everyone (where you can choose your own doctor and private – non-profit – insurance companies have a place).

    I am the worst of sinners in this; my involvement is miniscule, impersonal; I give a few dollars a week to Catholic Charities, who are doing the bulk of this type of hands-on care for people in my area. I would love to be involved with a local group of Christians who are making a difference in practical ways, but I feel too frightened and overwhelmed to start such a group, plain and simple.


    • Christiane says

      “The majority of Christians in this country have no theological clarity about the violence in our society, let alone the ability to link that to what it means to be human.”

      thank you, Dana

      if nothing more, the Holy Gospels of Our Lord can really help people understand what it means to be ‘human’, if only people will take the words, and the example of Our Lord to heart . . . if only

      there is a toleration of ‘unkindness’ among some Christian people that is frightening to me

    • Rick Ro. says

      Nice post.

    • Josh in FW says

      Thank you for your many high quality posts. You are among a handful of commenters that are responsible for me not skipping the comments section entirely.

  17. Cool quote from the “Mother of All Rebellions” article:

    When a pastor invites a woman to sin by taking over the pulpit, he drags her and the women of his church right back to post-Fall Eden. He trashes the rank and repute of our God-given high and holy role of mother and implicitly says Being a woman isn’t good enough. You have to steal the role of men to be valued and esteemed.

    She’s supposed to keep her head covered too, but that rule got lost in the power struggle.

    • Robert F says

      And maybe Eve stole Adam’s right to take a bite out of the apple first….

      • It was his Adam’s birthright to sin first! She’s just another Jacob! The trickster!

        Oh, well, she meant it for evil but God meant it for good.

        I’m mixing metaphorical patriarchs here, but it makes about as much sense as any of this.

        • Robert F says

          It makes perfect sense — the priests are trying to maintain their monopoly on the temple holy of holies.

    • “He trashes the rank and repute of our God-given high and holy role of mother and implicitly says Being a woman isn’t good enough”

      So… Woman = Mother. No wonder single women, infertile women, career women, trans women, widows, ad infinitum., don’t feel welcome. Seriously, does simply having a womb mean your entire life MUST revolve around it?

Speak Your Mind