Two scathing posts I've read in the past 24 hours on how much of what calls itself (or used to call itself) “evangelical” has moved so far from its original moorings – humble acknowledgment of and repentance for sin and then saving faith in Christ.
Perhaps only a few American readers will know the name of John Profumo. … In 1963, as Minister of War, he was caught in a scandal involving a prostitute who had connections to a KGB officer. It finished his political career and contributed to the collapse of the government of Harold Macmillan. Sadly, that is how he is remembered — the Tory who slept with a prostitute, lied to the House, and destroyed a government. Few now recall that he was also a war hero, landing on the Normandy beaches on D-Day itself; nor the fact that, when he died in 2006, he was the last surviving Member of the 1940 Parliament and had been in the House of Commons on that fateful day in 1940 and voted against his own party whip in the Narvik debate, thus helping to destroy the premiership of Neville Chamberlain and bring Winston Churchill to power. Even fewer perhaps know that, after his fall from grace in 1963, this 5th Baron Profumo hid himself from public life, volunteered as a toilet cleaner for a charity in London's East End, and spent the rest of his days in this way, making humble amends for what he had done.
I do not know if Profumo had any Christian faith; but I always think of him whenever I see the `rehabilitation' of some American evangelical celebrity, hear their tear-laden confessions on a prime time chat show, or spot their confessional memoirs on the book table at Barnes and Noble. The latest, as brought to my attention yesterday by Todd Pruitt, is Ted Haggard who, it appears, is to appear in his own reality TV show
A man who betrays his wife can be forgiven; but I am not sure he can be forgiven for making it an opportunity to further his career. When Haggard talks of acceptance and does it on a TV show, and others cover their sleaze with blog talk of `sins of relational mobility', is it any wonder that the world looks on with utter contempt?
When you hang your head in shame, the last thing you should be thinking about is whether the camera has caught your good side.
And then there's this blisteringly brilliant piece by Frank Turk of Pyros fame, “Open Letter to Brian McClaren“. Read it all, for full effect – Turk calls McClaren out on his double-talk. Apparently all grace and generosity but, in reality, highly critical and dismissive of whole sections of conservative evangelicalism. Here's the key paragraph (and it really doesn't matter what the presenting issue they're talking about is – in this case, sexual ethics -the principle is much wider than that),
If you want to establish a religion in which there is no ethical or moral difference between heterosexual unions and homosexual unions, I say swing for the wall. Please establish that religion — but please stop trying to make this into an issue about what Jesus would “really” do.
What Jesus would really do is take the list of sins found in the Old Testament and proclaim them all from a mountainside, making all people doubt that they have any hope at all of being seen as righteous before God, and then when he had their attention and their conviction under the law of Moses, he would tell them that God saves sinners who repent. And then he would get on a cross and die for the sake of the sins of world, and raise himself from the dead to prove he wasn't kidding.
I think I'm going to invent a new term for this kind of thing; “Marshmallow”. These guys present as sweet and acceptable as marshmallows but the reality is they're as pliable and initially tasty as the aforementioned whipped and processed sugar, but just as dangerous to the health, and wouldn't stand up to even a little roasting in the fire.