It is obviously an intentionally provocative opening line:

Christianity has died in the hands of Evangelicals.

The hard words that follow are a blistering indictment of evangelicalism. Surprisingly they come, not from the lips of one of the faith’s “liberal” despisers or elitist critics, but from a child of her own flock.  is a Southern Baptist ordained minister, scholar, social activist, and author. He describes himself as one who

as a young man, walked down the sawdust aisle at a Southern Baptist church and gave my heart to Jesus. Besides offering my broken heart, I also gave my mind to understanding God, and my arm to procuring God’s call for justice. I have always considered myself to be an evangelical

But for De La Torre, those days are sadly past. Today he writes,

I can no longer allow my name to be tarnished by that political party masquerading as Christian. Like many women and men of good will who still struggle to believe, but not in the evangelical political agenda, I too no longer want or wish to be associated with an ideology responsible for tearing humanity apart.

Whatever else one may think about the religious political drama unfolding in the US at the moment, it is clear that a great fissure has opened in the religious landscape of America. Evangelicalism is a house divided.

On one side of the fractured house are those who hold tenaciously to a narrowly focused rightwing social agenda. They will go to almost any lengths to promote their position on a short list of social causes. It no longer matters what may be the moral qualifications of anyone who puts themselves forward for leadership. As long as the person can tick the right boxes on homosexuality, gun control, abortion, and climate change science, they qualify as “God’s appointed leader” for public office.

On the other side of the house there remains a faithful, peaceful, respectful, justice-loving group of believers who love Jesus and their neighbour, hold to the imperative to serve the poor, and expend vast energy, thoughtfulness, and resources in acts of mercy and compassion. These evangelicals are kind and gentle; they embody the power of love in a way that testifies to the Spirit of Jesus at work in their lives.

It is this second group of evangelicals for whom I feel deep sadness in these difficult days. They are witnessing the unraveling of that faith in which they have discovered life and by which they have been challenged to live more mercifully, kindly, and authentically. These faithful and humble servants of truth and mercy should not be forgotten or discounted in the current turmoil in America.

It must be confusing and heart-breaking to watch as people you have considered brothers and sisters in the faith, continue to back leaders in the political arena whose lives exemplify so much you have been taught is contrary to the teachings of Jesus.

I do not believe that evangelicalism has, or could ever, kill Christianity. The Jesus faith is stronger and deeper than any temporary human movement. But I do believe it is time for those who seek to embody the Spirit of Jesus and yet continue to identify themselves as evangelicals to stand up and speak clearly in favour of those qualities that Jesus embodied. It is time to announce boldly and clearly that Christian faith stands for the Jesus agenda as it was outlined by Paul in the book of Galatians:

the fruit of the Spirit is
love, joy, peace, patience, kindness,
generosity, faithfulness, gentleness,
and self-control.

(Galatians 5:22,23a)

These fruit cannot ever be killed. They are the qualities Jesus embodied and will be found wherever the Spirit of Jesus is truly at work.


Tom Krattenmaker, is a writer specializing in religion in public life and the communications director at Yale Divinity School in his opinion, the “evangelical” label is simply no longer an effective marketing strategy:

As a veteran communications person and a writer who has done copious research on evangelicals, I am convinced that “evangelical” no longer means what it once did. And for the Jesus-following religious people it’s supposed to describe, it’s doing more harm than good…

…the label and reputation became marred over decades of culture-war politics and an often-hostile relationship with the rest of the culture over divisive social issues — issues on which today’s younger evangelicals often have a different take than their elders.

What was damaged has become irreparably broken over the course of Donald Trump’s campaign and presidency, obscuring the existence of millions of nonstereotypical evangelicals who are not white, or not anti-gay, or not anti-environment, or not anti-social justice, and not automatically Republican.

Now and probably for a long time to come, “evangelical” communicates a political fact more than a religious identity: the fact that 81 percent of white evangelicals voted for Donald Trump, and that many of evangelicalism’s most prominent leaders have wholeheartedly embraced him and his presidency.

The point here is not to add to the barrage of liberal criticism of Trump and his supporters. It is, rather, to worry about the standing of evangelicals, and Christians more broadly, outside the 30-something-percent-of-the-public bubble where the president can do no wrong.


Chuck Queen Senior Pastor at Immanuel Baptist Church in Frankfort, Kentucky seems to agree that there remain in the Church a body of faithful believers who practice the faith of Jesus. Queen writes,

There are disciples of Jesus in this country who sincerely, honestly and humbly aspire to be practitioners of the teachings of Jesus and to emulate his life. They are committed to doing their best to love all people as themselves. They are quick to acknowledge their many failures and faults. In confessing their faith they say, “This is what I believe, but I could be wrong.” They see the spiritual life as a journey and know they are in a constant state of development and evolution. They are dedicated to doing works of mercy and pursuing restorative social justice, especially for the most vulnerable and disadvantaged. They are willing to do so even though it involves risk and personal sacrifice. They pray for and seek the common good. They care for and stand with the marginalized and the disenfranchised. They believe their faith only has merit to the extent that they display these fruits of the kingdom of God.

But then he goes on to suggest that it may be that, not only the term “evangelical” has lost all credibility, it may in fact no longer even be possible to give the label “Christian” to those faithful believers who seek to conform their lives to the teachings of Jesus:

And in today’s American culture of Christian civil religion and national/Christian exceptionalism, we might just be doing them an injustice by calling them Christians.