Dave Brody over at the Brody File cited a recent Newsweek article covering the gains Democrats have made amongst young evangelicals, who voted for Obama in surprising numbers.
Interestingly, CBN News is re-airing a story on the emerging church (go here for a primer if you don’t know what that means) detailing how the movement is generating both buzz and controversy — the latter within older or more traditional evangelical circles.
With its emphasis on community, relationships, ministry to the poor, and adopting a welcoming posture toward people who typically wouldn’t darken a traditional church’s door, the emerging church has a lot going for it. But if the concentration of young evangelicals who support biblically suspect candidates and policies exists within the emerging church (as I suspect it does), evangelicalism may have a bit of a problem on its hands.
In response to Brody’s article, I sent him an e-mail outlining my concerns in summary fashion. Take a read and let me know what you think:
I was born in 1972, so I am a Gen X-er. I am also what official demographers would label an “evangelical,” but my age puts me between the more traditional evangelicals and the younger ones you refer to in your article. Nevertheless, I readily admit that I’m concerned by the willingness of younger evangelicals to throw in with the likes of Obama.
For my own part, I voted against Obama for a constellation of reasons, but my pro-life commitment was at or near the top of the list. As a Christian, I simply cannot vote for a pro-choice candidate in good conscience; quite frankly, I don’t see how any other Christian, whether young or old, could do the same under any circumstances.
To an extent, I share the concern younger evangelicals have for addressing a broader array of issues, including environmentalism and socio-economic justice. Surely, such concerns have biblical warrant — and when pressed with solid scriptural evidence to that effect, I imagine most older evangelicals would be forced to agree. I think the locus of the division between evangelicals of younger and older stripes centers on how we address these biblical concerns in actual practice.
This is where certain sectors of evangelicalism have gone badly awry in more recent days (e.g., the alliance of Rick Warren, Jack Hayford, et al with climate change alarmists). For example, I have always felt that if anybody is going to be an environmentalist, it ought to be a Christian. But Christian environmentalism would necessarily look different than the colloquial environmentalism typically espoused by closet Marxists and pantheists who proceed from decidedly unbiblical, anti-Christian worldviews. Conversely, Christian environmentalism would speedily lose both its meaning and its impact if believers merely link arms with existing movements in an attempt to be relevant or to demonstrate that the American Church is politically sensitive beyond traditional hotbutton issues.
Certainly, Christians need to be willing to address the breadth of ills that plague our culture. Let’s just be sure that we do it in a way that comports with the Living Truth we steward. Otherwise, we will fall short of being salt and light — good intentions notwithstanding.
On that note, I think younger evangelicals who heartily supported Obama need to ponder the following questions: Do you think it pleases or displeases God that you voted for a presidential candidate who believes the wanton destruction of countless unborn children is legally protected behavior? And, given that we serve the Lord of Life who calls us to defend those unjustly sentenced to death, what other social justice issues are deserving of higher consideration when you cast your vote?
aka The MonT-SteR