I’m even more bothered, however, by what Mr. Moore’s popularity says about the sorry state of evangelical Christianity.
Evangelicalism is a Christian movement committed to the authority of the Bible, the necessity of personal conversion and evangelism and the exaltation of Jesus Christ, especially his death on the cross.
.. To begin with, sin is a problem from which no one is exempt. If God’s love required the suffering and death of the Son of God in order to redeem us, we should not underestimate the consequences of sin in our own lives.
.. It is thus wrong to attack one’s critics, as Mr. Moore did recently on Twitter, as “the forces of evil” and attribute their questions about serious allegations to “a spiritual battle.” It is wrong to excuse one’s own moral failings while rushing to judgment over the sins of others, as he also did. We are to love and forgive our enemies, as God has loved and forgiven us.
.. Today’s evangelicals have mostly abandoned those limitations, but we seem especially blind to other kinds of worldliness.
Evangelical politicians fall prey to the allure of money, sex and power at the same rates as just about everyone else. This shouldn’t surprise someone who believes that sin is a universal and persistent problem. So why would evangelicals believe that all would be well if they could take America back — that is, if “people like us” were in charge?
.. Why would someone who believed that rebellion against God was the fundamental obstacle to human flourishing also believe that all would be well if we could just “turn markets loose” or interpret our Constitution in line with its original meaning?
Why would someone who believes that God will win in the end and that we are all accountable to him stoop to reprehensible political tactics and vilify his opponents instead of loving them?
Why would someone who believes that sexual relations should be limited to the context of traditional marriage make excuses for aggressive sexual advances against teenage girls?
.. Evangelicals may love their country, and may even believe that it has been, on balance, a force for good, but they cannot affirm that the United States (much less its military) is the world’s hope. Nor can they affirm that a political party (or an institution like the Supreme Court) is the hope of the United States. Whatever their opinions about the political issues of the day, evangelicals must place their hope in Jesus, period.
.. Roy Moore’s success among evangelical voters — like Donald Trump’s — is a consequence of the fact that we evangelicals seem to have conveniently forgotten certain fundamental truths.