Friday, 24 November 2017 / TRUTH-OUT.ORG

These "Evangelicals" Are Not Evangelical

Wednesday, January 11, 2017 By Rev. Nathaniel Manderson, Speakout | Op-Ed
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I've noticed members of the Christian left trying to redefine the evangelical church. I have also noticed that the Christian left never seems to gain any traction. They publish one book after another, they speak up and speak out, but they simply can't change the conversation. The best evidence was the Christian evangelicals' 80 percent support for Donald Trump. That's unity in a voting block like no other. I'm not sure any Democrat stood a chance against that kind of number. In fact, for 40 years, the Christian right has dominated the political landscape and taken control of the Christian voice. I'm not sure what it would take for the conversation to change and for people to truly open their eyes to the obvious hypocrisy of the Christian right. Personally, I have been around it my entire life.  

I grew up in a conservative church and studied at a conservative seminary. I have been surrounded by that culture for the majority of my life and for the majority of my time in ministry. The only path I can see to change how that 80 percent sees Christianity is to speak the type of language that the Christian right speaks. The Christian right speaks with great authority, and great criticism and from a place of abundant righteousness. I understand my evangelical brethren and I understand what needs to be done. The Christian right needs to be exposed with the same type of biblical language that they have used against any group that they want to stomp upon.  

These evangelical leaders are mostly self-serving hypocrites focused on false evangelical issues. The message over 40 years was clear: Evangelicals can get involved in politics as long as the message be consistently filled with hate and judgment. The right-wing evangelical agenda appears to stand against LGBTQ folks, those who are pro-choice, women, liberals, Muslims and anyone who happens to mention taxing the wealthy. The problem is that the Bible, which they claim to follow, commands its followers to stand side by side with the very people they are rejecting. Christ gave a warning against the religious leaders of His time and His words ring true today. This scripture is a blueprint on how to approach the Christian right.  

Matthew 23: "They tie up heavy loads and put them on men's shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them. Everything they do is done for men to see."

These evangelical leaders seem to preach a message that the poor should be ashamed of their poverty and debt. Pastors like Joel Osteen demonize the people in poverty by preaching the prosperity gospel, which basically means God likes the rich a lot and you can tell because God gave them more stuff. This is why a man like Trump, who believes in worshiping money, can be the evangelical candidate. These prosperity preachers think monetary success is success with God. Thus, it's easy for them to stand in opposition to laws that could lessen the burden on the working class and poor of this nation, because they see the poor as victims of their own sin. They celebrate themselves, noting any charity that they are involved in. The evangelical right has nointerest in truly lessening the burden on the poor and working class because that in no way serves its own best interests. 

"Woe to you … You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel … You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence."

Many of these Christians leaders are wealthy, and love to talk about how they tithe before taxes and they show their perfect family and large four-bedroom, 2.5-bathroom home like this phony Mike Pence. People like this have used man's law to become rich, just like Trump, and they have preyed upon the weak to make themselves strong. Perhaps these evangelical "Christians" have remained within the law, but they have ignored the law of God. These leaders would never provide a voice for the poor. Instead, they bring their hateful agenda toward the LBGTQ population, they call women "murderers" for having abortions, all while ignoring the children born into poverty. These evangelical sinners are filled with hate and they reject all forms of forgiveness and love. They only understand the language of rules and law without mercy and grace.

"Woe to you, blind guides! You say, 'If anyone swears by the temple, it means nothing; but if anyone swears by the gold of the temple, he is bound by his oath."

Many Christians truly believe that their big homes and nice cars and million-dollar sanctuaries in which they worship have something to do with God. Trump himself "worships" in the Trump Tower and he gives honor to the gold that surrounds him and he counts it all as God's blessings. Both Trump and these wealthy evangelical leaders believe they are blessed by God and they live in great comfort thinking God is with them. The truth is that that God condemns the wealthy and builds His great church with the poor and the oppressed. That means a rejection of the currentevangelical leadership and a rejection the Trump agenda. 

"Woe to you … You build tombs for the prophets and decorate the graves of the righteous. And you say, 'If we had lived in the days of our forefathers, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets."

It is amazing how these so-called religious leaders try to rewrite history. Many of them love to quote Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his wonderful message. The truth is, if MLK's message for the poor was preached today, these evangelical leaders would reject him again, just as their predecessors did. They never understood Dr. King's message to follow Jesus into the slums of America, and they never will. The right-wing Christian movement may preach about love and grace, mercy and forgiveness on Sunday, but the rest of the week, they practice and preach and live by Darwinism. This is why they voted for Trump. They have chosen the path of greed, pride and arrogance. I hope that many will start to open their eyes to the false teachings of theseevangelicals and reject the type of pastors that support this hateful agenda. In the end, the evangelical right has been exposed for what most biblical believers always knew them to be: They are self-serving, greedy, racist, sexist, hypocrites who have lost their own faith. It's time to turn away from these evangelical leaders and return to the path of love, grace, peace, forgiveness and humility.

Copyright, Truthout. May not be reprinted without permission.

Rev. Nathaniel Manderson

Rev. Nathaniel Manderson is an ordained minister through ABSUSA and a self-identified white, working-class poor, Bible believing Christian. He received his Masters in Divinity from Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary. Throughout his professional and ministerial career, he has been a dedicated pastor, counselor, adviser and advocate. As an academic adviser/counselor, he has served first-generation and low-income students that are trying to gain access into higher education for the past 13 years. During his career, he has also stood against his own seminary and spoken out against all forms of the evangelical right-wing political movement. He has sought to speak up for all those that have become disenfranchised by today's political, spiritual and economic elite.

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These "Evangelicals" Are Not Evangelical

Wednesday, January 11, 2017 By Rev. Nathaniel Manderson, Speakout | Op-Ed
  • font size decrease font size decrease font size increase font size increase font size
  • Print

I've noticed members of the Christian left trying to redefine the evangelical church. I have also noticed that the Christian left never seems to gain any traction. They publish one book after another, they speak up and speak out, but they simply can't change the conversation. The best evidence was the Christian evangelicals' 80 percent support for Donald Trump. That's unity in a voting block like no other. I'm not sure any Democrat stood a chance against that kind of number. In fact, for 40 years, the Christian right has dominated the political landscape and taken control of the Christian voice. I'm not sure what it would take for the conversation to change and for people to truly open their eyes to the obvious hypocrisy of the Christian right. Personally, I have been around it my entire life.  

I grew up in a conservative church and studied at a conservative seminary. I have been surrounded by that culture for the majority of my life and for the majority of my time in ministry. The only path I can see to change how that 80 percent sees Christianity is to speak the type of language that the Christian right speaks. The Christian right speaks with great authority, and great criticism and from a place of abundant righteousness. I understand my evangelical brethren and I understand what needs to be done. The Christian right needs to be exposed with the same type of biblical language that they have used against any group that they want to stomp upon.  

These evangelical leaders are mostly self-serving hypocrites focused on false evangelical issues. The message over 40 years was clear: Evangelicals can get involved in politics as long as the message be consistently filled with hate and judgment. The right-wing evangelical agenda appears to stand against LGBTQ folks, those who are pro-choice, women, liberals, Muslims and anyone who happens to mention taxing the wealthy. The problem is that the Bible, which they claim to follow, commands its followers to stand side by side with the very people they are rejecting. Christ gave a warning against the religious leaders of His time and His words ring true today. This scripture is a blueprint on how to approach the Christian right.  

Matthew 23: "They tie up heavy loads and put them on men's shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them. Everything they do is done for men to see."

These evangelical leaders seem to preach a message that the poor should be ashamed of their poverty and debt. Pastors like Joel Osteen demonize the people in poverty by preaching the prosperity gospel, which basically means God likes the rich a lot and you can tell because God gave them more stuff. This is why a man like Trump, who believes in worshiping money, can be the evangelical candidate. These prosperity preachers think monetary success is success with God. Thus, it's easy for them to stand in opposition to laws that could lessen the burden on the working class and poor of this nation, because they see the poor as victims of their own sin. They celebrate themselves, noting any charity that they are involved in. The evangelical right has nointerest in truly lessening the burden on the poor and working class because that in no way serves its own best interests. 

"Woe to you … You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel … You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence."

Many of these Christians leaders are wealthy, and love to talk about how they tithe before taxes and they show their perfect family and large four-bedroom, 2.5-bathroom home like this phony Mike Pence. People like this have used man's law to become rich, just like Trump, and they have preyed upon the weak to make themselves strong. Perhaps these evangelical "Christians" have remained within the law, but they have ignored the law of God. These leaders would never provide a voice for the poor. Instead, they bring their hateful agenda toward the LBGTQ population, they call women "murderers" for having abortions, all while ignoring the children born into poverty. These evangelical sinners are filled with hate and they reject all forms of forgiveness and love. They only understand the language of rules and law without mercy and grace.

"Woe to you, blind guides! You say, 'If anyone swears by the temple, it means nothing; but if anyone swears by the gold of the temple, he is bound by his oath."

Many Christians truly believe that their big homes and nice cars and million-dollar sanctuaries in which they worship have something to do with God. Trump himself "worships" in the Trump Tower and he gives honor to the gold that surrounds him and he counts it all as God's blessings. Both Trump and these wealthy evangelical leaders believe they are blessed by God and they live in great comfort thinking God is with them. The truth is that that God condemns the wealthy and builds His great church with the poor and the oppressed. That means a rejection of the currentevangelical leadership and a rejection the Trump agenda. 

"Woe to you … You build tombs for the prophets and decorate the graves of the righteous. And you say, 'If we had lived in the days of our forefathers, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets."

It is amazing how these so-called religious leaders try to rewrite history. Many of them love to quote Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his wonderful message. The truth is, if MLK's message for the poor was preached today, these evangelical leaders would reject him again, just as their predecessors did. They never understood Dr. King's message to follow Jesus into the slums of America, and they never will. The right-wing Christian movement may preach about love and grace, mercy and forgiveness on Sunday, but the rest of the week, they practice and preach and live by Darwinism. This is why they voted for Trump. They have chosen the path of greed, pride and arrogance. I hope that many will start to open their eyes to the false teachings of theseevangelicals and reject the type of pastors that support this hateful agenda. In the end, the evangelical right has been exposed for what most biblical believers always knew them to be: They are self-serving, greedy, racist, sexist, hypocrites who have lost their own faith. It's time to turn away from these evangelical leaders and return to the path of love, grace, peace, forgiveness and humility.

Copyright, Truthout. May not be reprinted without permission.

Rev. Nathaniel Manderson

Rev. Nathaniel Manderson is an ordained minister through ABSUSA and a self-identified white, working-class poor, Bible believing Christian. He received his Masters in Divinity from Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary. Throughout his professional and ministerial career, he has been a dedicated pastor, counselor, adviser and advocate. As an academic adviser/counselor, he has served first-generation and low-income students that are trying to gain access into higher education for the past 13 years. During his career, he has also stood against his own seminary and spoken out against all forms of the evangelical right-wing political movement. He has sought to speak up for all those that have become disenfranchised by today's political, spiritual and economic elite.