The Previous Approach to Christian Witness in the Public Square Failed

I have featured here at least a couple of times Stephen Wolfe. He has written an insightful article in Chronicles that is worth sharing.

He invites us to think back to the period before the Obergefell decision that forced gay marriage on the entire country. Wolfe explains that evangelical leaders tried to gain favor with the secular liberal establishment back then by adopting a “winsome” pose– i.e., by being “nice” and likeable and unthreatening. This was considered to be a form of Christian witness.

At that time, biblical Christianity was already treated in a dismissive fashion by the secular liberal establishment– i.e., the media, education and large portions of the political class. But after Obergefell, we were quickly being treated in an openly antagonistic way. The “winsome witness” approach had little positive effect in winning over the secular liberal establishment elites.

Wolfe then points out that many evangelical leaders began to sell out to the popular culture after Obergefell.

I am publishing below several excerpts from his article, the title of which is “The Rise and Fall of the Evangelical Elite”. I urge you, however, to read the entire article:

The rhetoric and events from 2016 onward have shown that the “witness” approach to politics is nothing but a performance for the secularist liberal establishment. The coastal elites were their sole audience. This explains why on every political issue they pushed orthodoxy to its leftward limits. The concerns of Trump-supporting, working-class white Christians never entered their minds, except as objects of contempt. It never dawned on these elites that perhaps we should “listen to” and “affirm” not only brown people but also the concerns of poor whites, and maybe even the middle-class ones. But taking seriously the concerns of “racist” white people would alienate the evangelical elites from the anti-white liberal establishment they hoped to attract...

It was the elite evangelical response to COVID that finally destroyed their credibility. It solidified the already widespread suspicion that their role in society is to provide a theological veneer to regime narratives. They exhibited naïve trust in and absurd deference to institutions and the “experts” who openly lied and laughed off charges of tyranny as they closed playgrounds and schools, dumped sand in skate parks, locked people in their homes, and insisted that loved ones die alone...

It is now plain to everyone that the obsequiousness of the evangelical elite to their hostile secularist counterparts is harmful to the country, to churches, and to the advance of the Gospel. The evangelical elite know that they are in decline.

The energy in American evangelicalism is now on the Christian right, who have become emboldened in their efforts to return America to its heritage of faith. They affirm the goodness of Christian nations, an assertive Christian politics, and the predominate heritage of faith in American history. For them, Christian politics is not loser theology, nor meant only to carve out a safe existence for churches. The goal is the complete re-Christianization of civil society, institutions, and government. 

(S)uch pastors as Kevin DeYoung… want to reaffirm a “center” amid this chaos. But that is pure nostalgia for a neutral world that no longer exists and which will never return. In our age of secularist hostility, you must decide whether drag queen story hour is a blessing of liberty or a license to be destroyed; whether you want pagan nationalism or Christian nationalism; whether degeneracy or righteousness will prevail, and whether Satan or the Lord Jesus will rule over this land.


2 thoughts on “The Previous Approach to Christian Witness in the Public Square Failed

  1. What the secular liberals are following are :

    Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals which are a set of tactics for community organizers.

    Here are some of the rules:

    “Power is not only what you have but what the enemy thinks you have.”

    “Never go outside the expertise of your people.”

    “Whenever possible go outside the expertise of the enemy.”

    “Make the enemy live up to its own book of rules.”

    And most importantly…

    “Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon. There is no defense.”

  2. We have to understand, Fred, that we are dealing with Godless pagans. Alinsky was one of them. They are interested in TAKING and then holding power– politically and culturally. Alinsky was primarily interested in the process of initially TAKING power.

    They are not passive, and they seek to create a world in which cultural Marxism prevails and there is little-to-no religious liberty.

    We are in the process of getting rolled over. If we do not become much more assertive, we will be facing much more persecution and tyranny.

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