Oct 12, 2021Liked by Michael & Melissa Wear

This essay is exactly why I am subscribed to this newsletter. I picked up on some of the same key themes of your Q talk as well as piercing analysis of all of the relevant actors in this drama, Mohler and Galli in particular, that elevates even my own thoughts in response.

Reflecting on my own personal experience of evangelicalism, I think it’s worth emphasizing that it means more than just existing on the boundary between Christendom and the world, but a particular mode of engagement with that boundary, a mode that I would argue we see throughout the New Testament.

Unlike the accommodationists, who look to the world for additional insight to spice up their faith, or the fundamentalists, who conceive of the relationship as inevitably antagonistic, the evangelical approach exhibits a winsome confidence.

In that light, I find it helpful to identify the changes we’ve seen as amounting to shifting alliances within these three groups. The emphasis on adopting a Christian worldview was shared between the fundamentalists, who sought separation from the world, and the evangelicals, who wanted to be able to represent that faith coherently to the world.

Some of the fissures at the time portended greater split. For instance, the parents of my youth group had wide disagreement about the appropriateness of introducing world religions like Islam in youth group. I didn’t think much of it at the time, but looking back, I can see how those two distinct groups’ motivations had only managed to converge for a time before the cudgel or scissor of the Trump era would lay those differences bare.

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Oct 13, 2021Liked by Michael & Melissa Wear

Outstanding insight, that also challenges us with the reality of personal piety ("Christlikeness") and public theology that is for the common good. For example, I love this sentence: " you’ll find individuals who have made great strides toward putting on the character of Christ while the intellects of instititutions so often miss the mark."

And this paragraph moved me and articulates better than I could much of what has motivated me as a pastor over many years, but that only cost me deeply after 2016. Which I now understand that as a kind of former mega church pastor, I was an "institutional elite" pastoring "populists evangelicals" or at least a lot who fit that description. Here's the description that at my best I have aspired to in pastoral leadership: "I know that the only evangelicalism I want to be a part of, the evangelicalism I was introduced to as a high school student, was for the world, not for itself. It cared what others thought, because it cares for others. Of course, evangelical beliefs should not be dictated by the world, but we should also never forget our beliefs are for the world. This is because what we believe are not *just* beliefs. We believe what we believe because we think it is real, and real for everyone."

I am thankful for Michael Wear, and also for the "Divine Conspiracy" to overthrow evil with good, both in the world and yes, even with the narrow confines of a white American evangelicalism that needs deep renewal.

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Oct 11, 2021Liked by Michael & Melissa Wear

Thanks for this, Michael and Melissa. As an alumnus of evangelical Christian higher education, I think this charts a course forward for schools like my alma mater as well as anything I’ve seen. An evangelicalism for the world that humbly cares for others with grace and truth because we believe that what our faith has to offer is not only good and meaningful and beautiful, but true and true for everyone.

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Excellent. This really accounts for some of the nuances that have been missing from this discourse lately. I kept thinking of Lewis's "Meditations on the Third Commandment," which you ended up referencing. Especially with Galli's reference to the Ten Commandments. As you said, politics is about prudence. Yes. In fact, maybe we should go a step further and say this whole public evangelical project is about prudence. Not just morality. It's about warring moralities and immoralities. Mixed agency. Powers and principalities. Not just principles. As is the case with every OT story. If you only read the accounts in the OT on a moral level, you will miss (and dismiss) their deepest meanings. Imagine reading the story of Jacob that way. Of course, I am not comparing Trump (or, let's say, Mark Driscoll) to Jacob! Far from it. I'm simply saying, I was never predisposed to like or trust Trump or Driscoll in the first place. Nor am I predisposed to like Jacob. But it's worth asking whether my negative judgment of all these characters comes from some deep well of moral fortitude that I have which others lack...OR...are there more powerful and complex forces at play that we haven't quite accounted for (e.g. white collar sensibilities and blue collar pragmatism--both are a kind of prudence, no?). Not that I doubt my judgment of any Trump or Driscoll (or Jacob!) on a moral level. I just don't think that's the deepest level of analysis. There is something deeper than morality. Why do the prophets keep haunting David's descendants with the message, "Why can't you be more like David?" David's moral failure seems worse than some of theirs. In fact, many of them "did right in the eyes of the Lord," but still...they left the high places un-destroyed. They coexisted peaceably with the wrong principalities, while David did not. Why does Jesus let the woman's perfume be poured out on his feet rather than take Judas's advice and give the proceeds to the poor? Because worship comes first, and decides whether your good morals are as good as they sound. You cannot serve two masters, even if you "do right" by both. Anyway, great great piece.

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I have felt that those evangelicals that voted for Trump were doing so to support only certain issues such as prolife or Christian legal rights while ignoring the issues of caring for the poor or political refugees or the rights of minorities. Where did we lose the whole biblical picture as opposed to a pick and choose morality?

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