Attempting to explain evangelical support for President Trump, Brit Hume of Fox News wrote the following:
Hume has rightly identified the deception to which evangelicals have fallen captive: they regard their place in the wider culture in terms of combat. Their twin error is that they imagine that they have human enemies and that they must fight them, which leads them to believe that President Trump is fighting alongside them in the culture war.
This is why I believe that evangelicalism—the culture of evangelicals—is a worldly political culture seduced into adopting anti-Christ political attitudes and practices. It has become a movement oriented by disobedience to the Lord Jesus.
I say this because fighting against enemies is something explicitly forbidden by the Lord of the church. The church’s political orientation is toward enemy-love. Jesus told his disciples to “love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matt 5:44). If we ever identify enemies, our posture toward them involves creative hospitality, fearless peace-making and consistent service, not combat.
The Apostle Paul informed churches that their warfare is not against earthly entities or other people (Eph 6:12). The church’s struggle is one of resistance against the hostile cosmic powers that seduce us into imagining that we have earthly enemies or that we have a cause to advance against other groups of people.
For over a century now, fundamentalist and evangelical leaders have identified cultural foes for their followers and have called Christians to fight against them. From Billy Sunday through Billy Graham, Francis Schaeffer and Jerry Falwell, to James Dobson, Franklin Graham and Jerry Falwell, Jr., enemies have been identified, demonized and blasted: intellectuals, New Dealers, Communists, Civil Rights leaders, secularists, liberals, Democrats, and the list goes on.
This has fostered an evangelicalism with the deeply-felt sense that because the present cultural crisis is so intense and the stakes are so high, biblical commands for how to treat others must be relegated to a private realm of spirituality or limited to the sphere of one’s intimate circle of friends.
We feel that so much is at stake because we think we have been called by God to control the culture, to seize the levers of power in order to establish a Christian nation. This leads us to believe that any means to these ends are permissible.
This is tragically misguided, and such a Christian nationalist vision is an idolatrous lie, driving us to become a disobedient people. We end up seeing Jesus’ teaching about enemy-love as “impractical” and “naïve.” So we set it aside, along with Paul’s instruction about the church’s struggle. In a tragic irony, we betray Christian Scripture and disobey the Lord of the church by seeing our mission as fighting to defend them.
Evangelicalism has become a culture of anger and resentment against supposed “elites,” liberals and a variety of other groups, seemingly unaware of James’s warning that “human anger does not produce the righteousness of God” (James 1:20).
Following their high-profile leaders in thinking the worst of those they see as enemies, evangelicals are quick to denounce others, speak dismissively and sarcastically, repeating slanderous accusations. They ignore biblical commands to refrain from evil talk, thereby grieving the Holy Spirit (Eph 4:29-30).
The uniqueness of the church in Scripture—its holiness—is that it is thoroughly shaped by the cross. It surrenders earthly political power now out of confidence that it will inherit the earth when the kingdom comes in its fullness.
Tragically, evangelicals have been seduced by the promises of this-worldly political power and access and have compromised themselves utterly. Because of this, evangelicalism has become just another earthly social entity that can be quantified and analyzed by demographers.
My great fear is that because evangelicals seek for earthly power now in an effort to fight their enemies, they surrender any place in the coming kingdom of God.