Quote of Note #30: American Evangelicalism and Tribal Deities


James S. French, 1800-1881
From Woodlawn Cemetery in Elmira, NY; photo by GAC

“Something had gone terribly wrong with American evangelicalism, or, perhaps, I thought, it had always been wrong and I was simply seeing the problem only now.  Over the forty-three years I had been a Christian, the orientation of American evangelicals had shifted from what many theologians call the ultimate to the penultimate.  We had descended fro the high and heavenly calling in Christ to earthly politics, partisanship, and nativist rhetoric and behavior.  We had traded a universal Savior for all people, all humanity, in all times, at all places, for a kind of tribal deity whose only interest was to preserve and protect a single group and their peculiar culture.”

Rob Schenk, Costly Grace: An Evangelical Minister’s Rediscovery of Faith, Hope, and Love. New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 2018, page 318f.

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