The Republicanization of American Christianity, in One Benediction

There were a lot of low points these last week at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, but perhaps the lowest of lows came the first evening, when prosperity gospel preacher Mark Burns offered up a benediction that quickly veered into blasphemous and offensive territory. Here it is in full, if you can stomach it:

There are so many things wrong and anti-Christian in there, I don’t even know what to say. Instead, I’ll encourage you to read Pete Enns’ post. Here is a taste:

Messiahs were to “make Israel great again,” but Jesus turned the tables.

His interest was not in reviving a political entity, as if God will only work through the system, but in drawing people of every tribe, nation, and political affiliation into the only kingdom that matters: the kingdom of God, which, as Jesus also said, “is not of this world” meaning it plays by entirely different rules—like justice, compassion, humility, true service and self-sacrifice . . . you know . . . none of the things we normally think about when it comes to American politics.

Thinking that God is aligned with a political party or any political system (including a democratic system) misses a very basic characteristic of the Christian faith. However politically involved Christians may be, those who get it truly know that God never aligns with any politician or political system.

I think Pete gets this absolutely right, and I’ve actually been working on my own post around this kind of theme. When I criticize Trump here, it isn’t to say that Jesus would be aligned with Democrats instead. In reality, Jesus, and by extension, all Christians, are called to a prophetic vocation outside of the political paradigm. The conservative Christian movement in this country has a hard time with this, historically, tying their own hopes to the Republican Party over the last thirty years. The fruits of that unholy union are on display this year, as they are forced to support and prop up one of the most anti-Christian political campaigns in American history.

Anyways, I don’t want to give away too much of my own coming post on this. Go read Pete’s post in full.

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One thought on “The Republicanization of American Christianity, in One Benediction

  1. Jon Brown-Schmidt

    I completely agree with your assessment of Mark’s Benediction. When I heard this, I cringed. More than his words, it was the cheers he received from the crowds that is very disappointing. This article really summoned it up for me: http://thefederalist.com/2016/07/19/why-mark-burns-rnc-benediction-was-terrible/

    Let me challenge one aspect of your piece. I think calling this out as the failure of ‘conservative Christians movement’, is wrong. This is more about the combination of political narrative and religion. These people should be labelled as the Republican Christians Movement. There are a multitude of conservatives, myself included, who are watching this election cycle believing we are watching the demise of our country. In fact, I would argue that Trumps supports is bolstered more by a progressive Republican movement (insert prosperity gospel) than a conservative Christian movement.

    Further, part of Trump’s appeal exists not in his Christianity, nor his actual views on issues (as those seem to change day-to-day); but in the nearly complete corruption within the Democratic Candidate. I think had Bernie won the nomination and the Democrats not acted as co-conspirators to their Candidates crimes, this political season would look much different.

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