Sunday, July 7, 2019

Fake God

You have heard of fake news. Now there is fake God. Last weekend Robert Jeffress, pastor of First Baptist Dallas and evangelical advisor to the president, demonized Democrats who talk about their Christian faith. He said that they worship a fake god. Speaking at the Faith & Freedom Coalition conference in Washington, D.C., Jeffress warned attendees not to believe Democratic presidential candidates when they talk about their faith.

He said, “When they talk about God, they are not talking about the real God — the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God who revealed Himself in the Bible. These liberal Democrats are talking about an imaginary God they have created in their own minds: a god who loves abortion and hates Israel. The true God of the Bible, the real God, is a God who hates abortion and loves Israel.” (For the full story please see these links: HuffPost and Christian Post.)

Welcome to Evangelical La La Land. It is a land where only one type of Christian is a true Christian, only one understanding of God is the correct one, and only one political party is acceptable for Christians.  Jeffress said that the Democratic Party is a “godless” organization “completely antithetical to the Christian faith.” La, La, La.

How different than the America I used to know, where people respected the faith of others – and where pastors did not have the gall to think they knew the political affiliation of the Almighty. An America where there was no religious litmus test or list of issues that defined Christianity. An America that believed God was the Lord of all nations and peoples and not a just white American evangelicals.

I have lived long enough, and traveled the way of Christian pilgrimage far enough, to know that there are sincere people of faith who disagree with me on theological, ethical and political issues. I am not just speaking about Christians of other denominations. I am talking about Jews, Muslims, Sikhs, Buddhists, Hindus, Baha’is, and many others, whose sincerity of spiritual faith and practice puts mine to shame.

God is bigger than Christianity. Christianity is bigger than the white evangelical Trumpism. Way back in 1952 (before Jeffress was born), Bible translator JB Phillips wrote a book entitled “Your God is Too Small.” The purpose of the book according to Phillips is “first to expose the inadequate conceptions of God which still linger unconsciously in many minds, and which prevent our catching a glimpse of the true God; and secondly to suggest ways in which we can find the real God for ourselves.”

I humbly suggest that Pastor Jeffress read the book and consider the possibility that his brand of evangelicalism might be myopic. Perhaps even consider the possibility that what he said of the liberal Democrats’ god may be true of his own conservative Republican god – that it is nothing more than “an imaginary God they have created in their own minds.”  In other words, a fake god.


Richard Knox said...

Amen, Marshall.

Cathy Crooker said...

Thank you for so eloquently shining a light on a trend in modern politics and religion that so many of us find disheartening.