Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Trump, Meaning, and Evangelicalism

Different title today, but this post relates to Monday's.

Individual Americans look at their presidential races through different lenses.  The spectacle factory couldn't hold all the glass necessary for this 2016 contest.  To cut to the chase, let's go right to Trump. One poll says 37% of white evangelicals support him.  Support.  You may have noticed the foam coming from some of their mouths.  Then you have those who disapprove of him with the white hot disapproval of a thousand suns.  Both call themselves evangelicals.

On a regular basis, I go to twitter feeds of conservative evangelicals.  As the Iowa caucus neared, they took a break from promoting or reviewing Hollywood movies, hyping their favorite rock bands, plugging a prized television series, or acknowledging a cherished comic book character in order to protest the vulgarity of Donald Trump.  At Teampyro, Dan Phillips and Frank Turk hate Trump at unmatched fahrenheit.

Trump though really fits evangelicalism.  It shouldn't surprise someone Falwell Jr. endorsed him. Trump and the junk of Jesus junk have a lot in common.  Trump is vulgar.  Trump could be the picture next to vulgar in the dictionary, and yet nothing is as vulgar as what evangelicals do with Jesus.  At least Trump smears himself with his own vulgarity.  They sully Jesus with theirs. They top Trump's vulgarity by subject matter alone.

We should use rock music as an example.  Evangelicals rock.  They do.  They approve of rock.  They promote rock.  They use it in their churches.  A trap set will dominate a tiny platform in a small evangelical auditorium.  The post-millennial Douglas Wilson talks about his eclectic playlist with Dylan and Clapton and playing in his own band.  Dan Phillips can't get enough of or get over his beloved Chicago.  Grace Community and John MacArthur now feature the rock (not blaring but still rock) of the Gettys at their Shepherd's Conference.  The pianist channels Billy Joel.  I'm not talking about Charismatics here.  Mike Huckabee, who plays in his own rock band with his electric guitar, shares some commonality with Trump.  At least he's consistent in his lack of offense.

Rock music is vulgar.  Why protest Trump?  He's vulgar.  So what?  Or may be better, how do you know?  How can anyone judge anything to be vulgar?  If you say Trump is vulgar, it means there is some standard of vulgarity.  What makes evangelicals, who love Marvel comics and promote Hollywood movies and have no problem bringing rock music into church, protest vulgarity?  Sit down.  You have relinquished that right.  When you love worse than Trump, you can't complain or criticize.  You are then a hypocrite to a similar degree as the Pharisees.

In philosophy, evangelicals are right with Trump, worse than Trump.  At least all Trump does is besmirch himself.  He doesn't use profanity to blot the name of Jesus like the banality of evangelicalism.  How can folks fine with Dylan and Chicago and Clapton not like Trump?  He's right in their wheelhouse. 

Trump says "Two Corinthians" and throws his cash on the communion holder, thinking it's the offering plate.  Evangelicals guffaw.  They're so smart, so discerning, meanwhile rocking to Jesus, singing to him like the holy Son of God is their boyfriend or even girlfriend.  All approved.  Sick.  Sad.  Vulgar.

I've never seen more or worse vulgarity than evangelicals produce and approve.  They're worse than Miley Cyrus at a music award show.  How?  She shames herself.  They drag Jesus into the mire of their vulgarity.  Their motive is young people, the youth culture.  The yutes can't participate in praise without their brand or taste of commonality.

I would say to evangelicals.  Zip it on Trump.  Look in the mirror.  You are a joke.  A sad one.


Tyler Robbins said...

I have a Deacon who is a very good man. He is always down on himself because he never went to school past the 6th grade. He is very self-conscious about his lack of education. Nevertheless, the man is very wise. He has great spiritual wisdom, because he has the Holy Spirit. He explained to me his very simple yardstick for how he tries to conduct himself. Some folks may think it's too simple. I disagree.

He says, "If Jesus returned right now, and stood before you, would you feel comfortable asking him to join you in what you're doing?"

He used this to rebuke his Christian brother about why he watches filthy reality TV. He used it in a discussion about Christians and alcohol. He actually said, "If Jesus came back right now, would you really feel comfortable opening a can of beer for Him and handing it over to Him with a big smile?"

We can also use this simple yardstick when we think about how we do corporate worship and how we interact with the world as representatives and ambassadors of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Kent Brandenburg said...


I'm teaching through Hebrews in 7-12 Bible in our school after having taught through it in a week out in Maine last summer. In Hebrews 9, the author makes a big point of saying that things are purged with blood. God hates sin. But these articles of worship must be kept clean and pure, therefore, purged, and it was so serious that Moses purged them with blood from animal sacrifice. If those had to be purged, how much us. In 2 Timothy Paul writes that we must purge ourselves from these if we would be vessels of honor, meet for the Master's use. People don't get it. Rock music profanes God, profanes Jesus. Even worse, they use it, like the apostates of 2 Peter 2, to make merchandise of people, youths. They know it. They justify it as incarnational and such. It's sick. But I say it, and people ignore it and are unsupportive and think I'm too harsh. We can't react to anything according to true affection for God. We love God like we do meringue pie. This is the greatest danger in the church, even greater than the superficial gospel. God is seeking for true worshipers and they can't, because they worship themselves, their own feelings.

Believe me, I'm marginalized by people, as if I don't know. Do you think it occurred to Noah that there were only 8 left? When Jesus comes, will there be any faith on the earth?

Kent Brandenburg said...


I should have said this. I'm thankful for this man in your church. Thanks for the comment and I'm glad there are other voices in the wilderness. Praise God.