Kevin’s Conversations: An Apologetic (And A Rebuke) For Evangelicalism

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45 Responses

  1. Duane Arnold says:

    Kevin,

    Nicely said (and written). It is a mess, no way around it. For years I have defined myself as an “evangelical catholic”. Now, I say that I’m a catholic Christian in the Anglican tradition. As Anglicans grow increasingly crazy, I’m running out of labels. Perhaps “Christian” will have to suffice…

  2. Xenia says:

    This is a really good article, Kevin, and pretty much reflects my feelings.

    Every time someone like Franklin opens his mouth I am forced a little more to the Left and I sometimes forget that I am actually a conservative.

  3. richard says:

    Nice article, Kevin.

    You know, it often appears that Franklin wants the attention that his father received, but whereas Billy Graham focused on Jesus, Franklin focuses on politics.

  4. Michael says:

    Sometimes Kevin reads my mind…this is well done.

  5. Kevin H says:

    Thanks Duane, Xenia, Richard, & Michael.

    Xenia, I often have that very similar feeling of being forced Left by the way that some “conservatives” act and speak, and almost forget that I myself am still a conservative.

    I also saw a comment made by someone on Facebook this morning where a hard-core political conservative questioned someone else for thinking of themselves as a conservative when they didn’t support Trump and also believing in some gun controls. For some, it’s seemingly becoming more and more of an all or nothing approach, especially some of the loudest voices. Either you’re all-in on what they deem to be “conservative” positions, or else you’re a fake. The same dynamic seems to be playing out on the Left.

  6. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    richard – Billy Graham was as big a political influencer as Franklin – BG just had more charm than FG.

  7. Kevin H says:

    richard, I have seen plenty of times before where Franklin claims his focus is on the proclamation of the gospel and that he’s not focused on politics, at least not in a partisan manner. Yet his own words and actions betray him time after time.

  8. Kevin H says:

    Michael, I may read your mind, but I thought I was putting out the cleaner version. 😉

  9. Steve says:

    I didnt hear interview with Franklin so I cannot comment on what he said other than it appears he is stating his opinion. I’ll state mine for the record that I believe Ford was tramautuzed as a youth but I believe Kavanaugh had absolutely nothing to do with it and this hearing is not the place for Fords day in court. She had 36 years to do that. It’s past it’s due date and it stinks ro high heavens. In my opinion this is the saddest day in American Life to trash this man and family like this. Juriprudence in our country is finished if we let anyone destroy the pricess with their own agenda. The creepy porn lawyer apparently has more women who will come forward soon. This appears to be part of the lefts narrative. Like I said, I didn’t hear the Graham interview but he appears to be stating his opinion which appears to be similar to my own. I also feel it’s sad that we are attacking Graham. It’s just my opinion. I hope you can respect that.

  10. Michael says:

    Kevin H,

    It took a lot of soap to clean up my version… 🙂
    There are few people I have less respect for than Franklin Graham…but you all know that already.

  11. Kevin H says:

    Steve,

    The link to Graham’s interview is right there in the article, right when I first refer to it. As I point out in my article, Graham blatantly misrepresents and crudely speaks to the issue. He speaks in a factual manner when he cannot know some of the things to be facts. This interview was conducted by CBN, certainly a very friendly outfit to Graham and conservative causes, and even so, the woman conducting the interview pushed back on some of the things Graham was saying. If Graham is going to go on public television and wrongfully speak to the issue, then he is more than deserving to be criticized for doing so.

  12. bob1 says:

    Court evangelicals.

    That’s a good label for Trump suck-ups like Franklin Graham. Evangelicals have long cozied up to
    dictators, tyrants and strongmen. The problem soes back decades. far beyond the current situation.

    Glad to hear some evangelicals haven’t swallowed the Kool-Aid.

  13. bob1 says:

    One other observation: I think what’s really distressing about this situation is the lack of common
    morality displayed by evangelicals like Graham. I mean, your average guy/gal on the street seems to
    have a lot more morality than these folks. Appears that this extreme partisanship acts like dirt
    in the eyes, so one can’t really tell basic right from wrong, fair from unfair. Hopefully it’s more
    than the antinomianism common to some in the evangelical wing.

  14. Steve says:

    Kevin,

    Ok, I just listened to interview. It certainly didn’t change my opinion on Kavanaugh. If we want to make it about Graham I never was a big fan. But I don’t have the animosity that some have towards him. I don’t like the mixing of politics and church that Graham represents but at least he doesn’t hold an office himself or running for one. He is the same as the rest of us with his own opinion. I wish he didn’t have such a large voice or following. But I honestly think you are barking up the wrong tree in scrutinizing Fanklin so harshly. I could be wrong but I don’t see it.

  15. Michael says:

    Steve,

    I’ve been at odds with Graham long before Trump.
    He’s a manipulative power whore and a despicable representation of the faith.
    That’s my opinion…

  16. j2theperson says:

    Xenia, I’m a little surprised that Franklin Graham or conservative evangelicals in general would have much influence on your political opinions given that you are not an evangelical and could be considered a weird quasi-Christian by some evangelicals. I say this not accusingly but out of genuine curiosity–particularly in light of my own personal experience attending an Episcopal church and no longer identifying as an evangelical. I no longer keep up with what evangelical leaders are saying or doing and whether they’re doing good things or bad things they are irrelevant to my religious, moral, and political views. What is it about them that is still influential and important to you even though you’ve been Orthodox for so long?

  17. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    The problem with evangelicals in this issue is that you guys know who all the “big guys” are – you chase celebrity – and then you get disappointed in that celebrity.

    I doubt more than 10 % of Lutherans know who the synod president is and I would be surprised if 5% know who their district president is – let alone who pastors the LCMS church in the next town.

  18. Kevin H says:

    Steve,

    The purpose of my writing was not to influence or debate one way or the other on Kavanaugh. But a portion of my writing was to point out how and where Evangelicals do things wrong which then helps to bring about the scorn that is heaped upon them by others. What Graham did was a prime example because he has a very big audience and is very influential and what he did was very public and very wrong. And for that reason, he is not the “same as the rest of us” because he has a far bigger platform and far greater influence.

  19. Jim says:

    Journalism is dead. “News” media are influencers and their audience is the influenced.

    As Christians, we really need to learn to not care what they think of us.

    Here’s the third most popular comment to the Cato opinion pice published by the Times:

    “We will never forget that 80% of evangelicals supported Trump and formed the core of his base.

    Proving that Evangelical faith was nothing but ethnic tribalism and white supremacy all along.

    Despite attempts by columnists like this to distance Evangelical faith from racism, the numbers did not lie and the people know it.”

    That is the voice of the influenced. Disregard their opinions.

  20. Xenia says:

    Hi J2,

    While I might be Orthodox, I still consider myself to be a member of Christianity at large and when someone claims to speak for Christ, especially someone from my former religious group, I still pay a little bit of attention. I haven’t written them off a godless heretics that don’t deserve a listen. Moreover, my entire large family in North Carolina are evangelical conservatives and I have not written (most) of them off as people I should ignore. When they quote Franklin, or Fallwell, I cringe and want to move away from what these men are saying on behalf of Christianity. I still have plenty of friends from my CC days who are very pro-Trump and I listen to what they have to say, with increasing dismay, though.

    All the best,
    Xenia

  21. j2theperson says:

    Thanks Xenia. I haven’t written evangelicals off; I hope I didn’t come off sounding like that. They’re just a branch of Christianity I don’t keep up with much anymore–outside of what I read here. What you say makes sense.

  22. Xenia says:

    J2, I don’t read evangelical literature, I don’t listen to evangelical radio programs, etc. I am kinda stuck with the relatives and old friends I have, so I pretty much have to listen, if only out of politeness. As the years roll by, I find I have less and less in common with them except for the fact that we both love our Lord and Savior.

  23. bob says:

    So just for the record, do you all believe Kevin is lying when he said he didn’t do it…
    And you believe the accuser who said he did?

  24. bob says:

    sorry, Brett!

  25. Kevin H says:

    bob,

    Your nonsense is adding nothing to the conversation. If you post anything more, please make it sensible dialogue.

  26. Kevin H says:

    Bob,

    Maybe I just understood what you meant. You didn’t mean to type my name in your first post but meant to type Brett (Kavanaugh). In that case, I understand what you were trying to ask. However, this post wasn’t meant to debate who we believe between Kavanaugh and his accuser and I would prefer to keep it that way.

  27. Xenia says:

    I will confess to being biased against Kavanaugh because he looks like, and is in that class of, privileged frat boys who grew up to be entitled rich jerks who lie and manipulate and are protected by their rich friends. I am not inclined to believe this type of person. On the other hand, his accusers remind me of my college profs and fellow museum volunteers, women I admire and am very much inclined to believe.

    So I am predisposed to believe he’s a liar. However, that doesn’t mean he IS a liar.
    I am predisposed to believe his accusers. However, that doesn’t mean they ARE telling the truth.

  28. bob1 says:

    Bob,

    You keep missing the point here. Kevin’s piece wasn’t centered on the Kavanaugh nomination.
    Think more widely!

  29. bob says:

    Yeah, I meant Brett (Kavanaugh somehow Kevin was on my mind, sorry! FWIW, Frank ‘s opinion means nothing to me…

  30. Papias says:

    Franklin Graham speaks for his 1.7 million Twitter followers. If that evangelicalism, then OK.

    Anybody who is pulling in close to $1Mil a year in the name of the Lord isn’t someone who speaks for me.

    “Mr. preacher on the t.v. screen
    Tells me that he knows just what I need
    He’s “been there before…and back again”
    But with that fancy suit I find it hard to believe
    He says the Lord will be so faithful, that he’ll protect
    But only if I’m faithful with my monthly check
    I’ve never sent him my money
    Probably never will
    I guess that means I live
    My life on the edge!?!!??”

  31. richard says:

    MLD,
    I believe you are right as to Franklin and Billy. My memories of Billy are more to the quips or bits of his crusades, but he did fly to Washington more than a few times to hobnob with all the politicians.
    As you said, Billy was better at it, but the apple doesn’t fall from the tree.
    And to your second comment about celebrity christians, I applaud the Lutherans for their humility. “Let’s make it about Jesus and not ourselves” is good advice for all.

  32. Kevin H says:

    Papias,

    Franklin Graham doesn’t speak for me either. The hard part is that he is broadly identified as an Evangelical by the world at large, and so for many, what he says is representative of Evangelicalism. When he preaches the gospel, that’s good. When he speaks garbage like this, it reflects poorly on all the rest of us who would identify as an Evangelical. Worst, of all, it reflects poorly upon Christ because representing as an Evangelical is a subset of being a representative of Christ.

  33. bob says:

    @papias… very well spoken!

  34. Papias says:

    Kevin – when I meet people I just tell them I’m a Christian. 9 times out of 10 they don’t press further than that. If they do ask if I am an Evangelical (or some other label) I will counter with “What do you think that means?”. Those discussions are usually very enlightening and its cool when people respond with “I haven’t met too many Christians like you.”

    I have never been a big fan of being placed in a box…..

    The quotes are from a song called “A Guy in a Suit and the Pope” by the band The Crucified.

  35. Dan from Georgia says:

    Papias…+100 for the The Crucified reference!

  36. j2theperson says:

    Bob, at this point I do not believe that he assaulted Ford. Her account now does not line up with her account in 2012, and all 3 of the other people she said was at the party have denied all knowledge of it. I don’t know that she is flat out “lying”. My biggest wonder is if something did actually happen to her but it was someone else who did it and she worked so hard to bury that memory for 3 decades that now she just doesn’t remember it accurately. I don’t know if Brett Kavanaugh is a good person, but the idea of destroying his reputation and career with zero evidence is not something that sits well with me.

  37. CM says:

    Another court evangelical is pastor Robert Jeffress. Recently in his zeal to defend and excuse Trump’s womanizing, he threw Ronald Reagan under the bus and said Reagan was a womanizer too. Needless to say, this provoked a reaction from Michael Reagan, who stated that Pastor Jeffress should F himself. Interestingly all those conservatives pundits, politicians, talking heads, and evangelicals who for years said how much they loved Reagan said absolutely nothing to condemn or criticize Jeffress for his wild accusation. Makes you wonder how much will the evangelicals cling to Trump. Maybe Trump is the vehicle God will use to bring his reproach to the church in America.

  38. Dan from Georgia says:

    Just read your article Kevin, and liked it. Maybe we could call ourselves “follower’s of The Way”…or is that too 70s-ish?

    Anyways, I have been bothered by this intermingling of Christianity and Republicanism ever since someone placed a flyer on my car back in 1990 or so claiming that it was a sin to vote for Bill Clinton…done so while I was in church no less. I cannot comment on Trump or Graham or Dobson et al without anger boiling up inside me (a sign of TDS), so I will leave it at that.

    Lately my batttles have gravitated towards another site where many pro-Trump people are eviscerating women who say they have been abused, all in the name of a utilitarian purpose…to get their guy on the Supreme Court so he can stamp his approval on overturning Roe V. Wade. In all honesty, this seems rather diabolical. Many women don’t report abuse because they fear they won’t be believed, and judging by the comments on this other site, that fear has merit. This shouldn’t be done at the hands and keyboards of those who claim to follow Christ.

    And no, that is NOT an opinion or judgement against Judge Kavanaugh. Just a thought that perhaps we need to stop being so partisan in everything under the sun.

  39. Kevin H says:

    Amen, Dan.

  40. Dan from Georgia says:

    Thanks Kevin. Oh, and I want to add for any reading my comment and assuming I’m liberal…I am not…I am a historically Republican voter like the good little Christian boy that I am, never voted for a Democrat, and did not “hold my nose” or “voted for the lesser of two evils” in 2016…did not vote at all because conscience.

  41. Jim Vander Spek says:

    My parents were saved during the 1955 Billy Graham crusade in Toronto, making him my spiritual grandfather. He openly regretted the way he was manipulated by politicians, but never missed a chance to present the gospel in a compelling, humble manner. His sterling character and obvious anointing contrast sharply with that of Franklin, who is an embarrassment.

  42. Duane Arnold says:

    Kevin,

    On “court evangelicals”… We might remember that Eusebius of Nicomedia was a “court bishop” to Constantine and involved in all the intrigues. Meanwhile, Athanasius was exiled five times. Eusebius tailored his theology to “the moment” and always sought power and advancement. Athanasius was a pillar of orthodoxy. Within just a few years of their deaths (and continuing through history), Eusebius is excoriated, while Athanasius is honored. The only court in which we should seek advancement is the court of heaven…

  43. Kevin H says:

    Duane,

    Good thing you remembered those accounts of Eusebius and Athanasius as they seemed to have escaped my memory (maybe because I didn’t know them in the first place 😉 ).

    Seeking advancement of matters in the court of heaven certainly should be our highest priority. And seeking advancement in any other court should only happen if it’s in conjunction with, or at least not damaging to the advancement of the court of heaven. Our human nature of wrongfully seeking advancement in the wrong court probably long pre-dates even Eusebius and Athanasius.

  44. Headless Unicorn Guy says:

    “Some days I just want to turn in my Evangelical card for one that simply says “Christian” to avoid all this mess. I wonder if that new simplified card might someday end up in the same muddled boat? ”

    Don’t wonder — it will.
    Over the years, we’ve had similar problems in Furry Fandom. Groups attempting to distance themselves from the Loud Crazies split off, adopt another term than “Furry” (such as “Anthro”), only to have the Loud Crazies co-opt the new name as well.

    Like that George Carlin bit about how “Shell Shock” became “Combat Fatigue” became “Post Traumatic Stress Disorder”, just adding more and more wordy synonyms for Teh Crazy.

  45. Headless Unicorn Guy says:

    “in 2016…did not vote at all because conscience.”

    In 2016 both major parties ended up with their Worst Possible Candidate. On the D side, Triumph of the Clinton Machine Will; on the R, “I’m Mad as Hell And I’m Not Going to Take It Any More!” hitting critical mass.

    Result? Cersei Lannister or Benito Mussolini — “you have to choose one or the other!”

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