No one who identifies themselves as a “Conservative Evangelical” is evil—no one. For God has fashioned us all in His image, and very few ever pursue the Christian life without the best of intentions and aspirations. We are all good people simply seeking the heart of God.
However, as much as it may be unpopular to express and I do so without any pleasure, so much of conservative right-wing Evangelical Christianity as a system and faith understanding harbors numerous tenets and values that are nothing less than pure evil—anti-Christ and diabolical for sure.
That’s the truth, and with all due respect, you should know it.
In fact, never has there been a more important time to open the blinds, connect the dots, and chase the evils of right-wing conservative Evangelical Christianity out of the shadows—countless lives are in the balance, and much of our future as a people and nation is at stake.
To be sure, conservative Evangelical Christianity can be so seductive to the flesh that even the strongest among us can be brainwashed by its witchcraft—many rendered completely desensitized to the evils in which they participate. That was me, 22 years spent as a right-wing conservative Evangelical pastor.
Yet, one need not look any further than to the callous person one can become and the cruel creeds one can adopt to see the rampant spiritual justification of hate and evil that spews out of significant segments of right-wing conservative Evangelical Christianity.
Perhaps it will serve as a challenge to your comfort zone, a deep offense to your beliefs, or blasphemy to your faith understanding, but I cannot be silent in laying before you the very evils that find their source, sanctuary, and sustenance in much of right-wing conservative Evangelical Christianity.
Stone me, crucify me, defriend me, withdraw your support, or turn your back altogether. Accuse me of painting with too broad a brush or speaking too harshly—I will not and cannot deny the evils I see nor shrink back from chasing them out of the shadows.
God help us all to wake up.
Grace is the Gospel, Not Repentance- Grace is the only power that changes anything—especially people. The good news isn’t that God offers us a gift but we must respond in order to receive it—that’s the conservative Evangelical interpretation of the Gospel and it’s not good news, it’s terrible news. For who knows when one truly believes, repents, and behaves well enough and properly enough for the exchange to truly occur, let alone remain. If it’s up to us in any way, shape, or form, there will always be doubt, fear, and uncertainty waiting eagerly in the wings—all sure fruits of evil.
Rather, the good news is that our unconditional irreversible inclusion in Christ with all its benefits is the gift—there’s nothing to receive only everything to believe. There is no such thing as a “relationship” with Jesus established and maintained by our proper responses to His love—that’s a sure evil construct of religion. Rather, there is only full communion in and with the Trinity, established and secured on our behalf from the foundations of eternity. He is us and in us, we are Him and in Him. Jesus is the message and manifestation of all that we already have and are—whole, saved, righteous, pure, affirmed, without blemish.
Faith is simply awakening and resting fully in this Truth—realizing it’s never been about our performance, always about His. Any repentance and relational aspects of Scripture must be understood, not as admonitions for our required response, but as cues to awaken to the fullness and sufficiency of Grace that is already ours, completely and irrevocably.
Sin Management Promotes More Sin- With all of its “to do” lists and prescriptions to grow spiritually through engaging in certain faith behaviors and commitments, conservative Evangelical Christianity is leading the way at imprisoning people to their sin and brokenness, not freeing them.
With every inspiring message peppered with new principles for living, lists of behaviors, and passionate admonitions to press in and try harder, we have created strung-out spiritual junkies addicted to the lures of the flesh to perform their way out of the sin and brokenness in their lives through some kind of partnership with Jesus. Becoming “successful” for Jesus and overcoming oneself and the trials of life through any kind of personal spiritual performance is the most diabolical trap in all the earth—loading people onto the train of sin-management and behavior modification with the promise to bless and emancipate their lives, only to end up in the gas chambers of the ministry of death—the Law.
At the feet of much of conservative Evangelical Christianity, we have nothing less than a spiritual holocaust in our country where the moral decline is ever increasing all because we have been preaching the cancer not the cure. Pure Grace is the only power of God to handle, manage, and transform brokenness and sin, and the people in which it resides. Any other message, prescription, step, action, or commitment is to extend condemnation and to rape one of the miraculous sin-busting freedom Christ bestows on us through our awakening to Grace. The Christian life is not a test, it’s a rest. Spiritual growth isn’t about becoming tomorrow who you aren’t today through ones spiritual performance, but rather the journey of our actions and attitudes catching up with who we already fully are in Christ—complete, whole, holy, pure, righteous, saved, and lacking no spiritual blessing. This is the foundation of Grace that enables in us and through us all good things, effortlessly—any other foundation is a sinking sand-spiral of death.
Jesus Is The Word, Not the Bible- Sadly, what a pacifier is to a baby, the Bible has become to much of conservative Evangelical Christianity—no wonder why we act so childish at times and elected one as our President. A pacifier is not a meal nor even a source of nourishment, so to it is with the Bible—for Jesus is the only Bread and the only Life offered. A pacifier isn’t the foundation of a child, not even for their growth—for Jesus is the only solid ground and the Bible simply an important catalyst and beginning to encountering Him, the true Word, Life, and Child in us all.
Yet, significant segments of conservative Evangelical Christianity suck on the Bible and their interpretation of it as if Jesus is secondary, or doesn’t exist at all. Nothing tells of their infantile dependency on the Scriptures more than when one pulls it from the clenches of their lips, challenging issues of inerrancy, proof-texting, and their weaponizing of its use. Kicking and screaming, they demand control and find no peace without declaring it infallible along with the exclusive authenticity of their interpretations. For their peace and faith is not in Jesus, it’s on the spiritual pacification their worship of the Bible affords them—forever perpetuating an evil spiritual adolescence. For no greater evils have come upon the earth than from Bible-sucking Christians whose faith is solely founded and directed by their Scriptural understandings, instead of the person, the only Word of God—Jesus, whose mind we possess and whose Life is ours.
The Way of Jesus is Inclusive, Sacrificial, and Nonviolent- With every push and plea for their values and beliefs to be legislated upon society, dominant in the public arena, given priority within our nation, and afforded special protections and privileges, conservative Evangelical Christianity departs from the way of Jesus and embarks upon its own evil imperialistic self-serving path.
The Kingdom of God does not come by way of weapons, demands, intimidation, legislation, or war, but through sacrificial service, nonviolent example, and all inclusive unconditional love—period. When the message of Jesus becomes militarized spiritually, emotionally, or physically, it is no longer the message of Jesus. With every moment conservative Evangelical Christianity fails to truly love its enemies, disagreers, and non-conformers as human beings created with divine dignity, freedom, rights, and value no less than theirs, they partner with the forces of evil to blaspheme the Spirit and twist Jesus into the hood ornament of their evil world bulldozer.
Carving itself away from those it deems to be inferior through efforts to escape the “world” and retreat into their churches, charter schools, businesses, groups, and clubs gives sure example that much of conservative Evangelical Christianity gives priority not to the ways of Jesus, but to the ways of the religiously pretentious.
Conservative Evangelical Christianity will always be an evil system as long as it continues to fail to produce the fruits of true enemy love, putting others above self, serving those it deems deplorable, welcoming and wanting all people, being in community with all humanity, and choosing the ways of meekness, humility, and sacrifice over power, self-preservation, and greed.
Jesus Equalizes Everyone- For Grace is the great equalizer—none are better, only different. All are loved, all are affirmed, and all are valued and equal in capacity—Jesus makes it so. Sadly, nearly everything about the conservative Evangelical creed speaks of and fosters privilege, the opposite of His Kingdom—we are the saved, you are the lost; we are the faithful, you are the heathen; we are the blessed, you are the condemned; we are the friends of God, you are the enemy; we are the sole possessors of Biblical understanding and righteous interpretation, you are the sure heretics; we are the faith upon which this nation was founded, you are the people that need to be converted and conquered.
No, it’s not going to be found written in the church bulletin or the carefully crafted mission statement of your local conservative Evangelical Church, but with white painted churches steepled with white crosses as far as the eye can see, Sunday mornings across America can be some of the most segregated hours of the week and a screaming indictment to the true fruits being grown on the vine of significant segments of conservative Evangelical Christianity—division, supremacy, sexism, racism, and classism, all of which, are deeply evil, intended or not.
The Spirit Changes People, Church Imprisons- In the face of a cosmically creative God, conformity is the sure work of evil hoping to thwart the brush strokes of the Divine. For conformity and forced unity kills spiritual growth and imprisons the soul, rendering it nearly incapable of genuine encounter with Jesus and the Spirit who sets us free. Perhaps the most frightening evil subtly being wielded across the planet is the false unity and forced conformity being fostered in many a conservative Evangelical Church where differing beliefs, perspectives, and values are feared and quickly labeled for assimilation or rejection—never community. Diversity is welcomed as far as it does not compete with nor challenge long held beliefs and traditions and people don’t outgrow the walls of the conservative evangelical system of beliefs and behaviors. Where the Spirit changes people and sets them on a path of free exploration, so much of the conservative Evangelical system manifested in churches is set up to conform people into compliance and condemn diversity that contradicts and challenges their spiritual Borg.
Condemnation and Conditions Are Messages of the Devil- Jesus didn’t die to riddle your life with condemnation. Jesus doesn’t love you to fill your heart with conditions. Jesus didn’t create heaven to lose you to the possibility of hell. For any message that declares condemnation from God or places conditions to love, falls drastically short of reflecting God and understanding Him who is Love. Sadly, the most popular talking points being spouted from conservative Evangelical Christianity are “God loves you BUT,” “Turn or burn,” and “Hate the sin, love the sinner.” All, sure messages of conditions and condemnation. For in God’s eyes, there is no such thing as loving the “sinner” because He doesn’t see anyone in that way nor make that label even a true possibility. Instead He calls them “friend,” “saint”, “child,” “blessed” “righteous” and “heirs” in the Kingdom, seeing all people included in Himself as Himself, unconditionally.
A gospel hinging on repentance is no Gospel at all—it’s evil.
A Christian life of sin-management and behavior modification is no life at all—it’s evil.
Worshiping the Bible instead of Jesus isn’t worshiping at all—it’s evil.
Twisting and using Jesus to spiritually justify hate, war, violence, supremacy, nationalism, greed, self-preservation, and power isn’t following Jesus at all—it’s evil.
Extending to the world a kingdom filled with racism, sexism, discrimination, classism, and marginalization isn’t extending the Kingdom of Jesus at all—it’s evil.
Doing church in ways that promote conformity, false unity, and the suppression of spiritual growth, diversity, and differences, isn’t doing church at all—it’s evil.
Mixing Grace with condemnations and mixing Love with conditions isn’t manifesting true Grace or Love at all—it’s evil.
Stone me, crucify me, defriend me, withdraw your support, or turn your back altogether. Accuse me of painting with too broad a brush or speaking too harshly—I will not and cannot deny these evils I see nor shrink back from chasing them out of the shadows.
God help us all to wake up and dismantle deception.
Grace is brave. Be brave.
Really enjoy reading your thoughts. You can articulate a lot of my thoughts and feelings that have developed over the years concerning the intersection of politics and evangelical Christianity. Fortunately I belong to a church that doesn’t espouse such nonsense (at least from the pulpit!) but unfortunately I have many friends and family that fall into these seemingly innocent traps. Your writings could easily make up a new version of “The Screwtape Letters”!
Harry, thanks so much for reading this article and I’m so encouraged to hear you belong to a healthy church! I’m no C.S. Lewis, but I sure do appreciate the compliment!!!
Thank you for your unwavering tenacity for clarity and commitment to exposing all the ego-driven philosophical oxymorons of Evangelicals.
They should be the loudest faction denouncing all of Trump’s littany of a abhorrent behavior and support of white supremacists but they look the other way and sigh and utter the lame re “oh well… it would be worse if it was Hillary”
Marc, thank you so much for appreciating my work and the intention behind it. Sure am thankful for you reading my work and adding to this conversation.
A breath of fresh air! The image you paint of Jesus is one I love. If anything good is to be won in this world, it will be done by love. Not a sword, a bullet, a bomb….a prison. This is the true mystery of the kingdom of god- nothing works as we humans believe it ought to. You bring cheer to my disillusioned heart. Bless you!
Margo, thanks so much for reading and taking the time to comment, well said!!!
Like a piercing arrow from your heart straight to mine. I have to think about the implication that repentance is not central to the gospel, but reflecting on the recorded sayings of Jesus, it was “believe” and/or simply “follow.” Maybe the mini-repentances and multi-“rededications” of my childhood should have been a daily emptying of self–leaving the fishing nets and just following. I am brokenhearted over how the institutions and even some of the people who showed me the way to Him seem to have lost the way themselves. Thank you, Chris Kratzer, for saying what I have not been able to put into words or have been too intimidated to say.
M. Lesh, so honored to have you read this article and for you courage and vulnerability in sharing its impact on you. I hope we can stay connected, would love to hear more of your story. You are not alone!
“Grace is brave. Be brave.”
I am surrounded by evangelical Christians. They are at work, church, school, in the neighborhood, everywhere. It’s hard to be brave when I stand to lose my entire network of friends. Nonetheless, I will be brave. Some days, the most courage I have is to click “like” on an article such as yours that speaks the truth. But, I will be brave.
Marie, absolutely, being brave is in the simplest of moments where we challenge our own limits for the sake of another. So proud of you and the bravery you are exuding. You are not alone, I stand with you!
Marie – If you can’t be your true, authentic self with the network of friends that you are surrounded by, maybe they are worth losing. It is possible some feel the same exact way. Be authentically you, doubt, faith, love, openness, whatever it is that sits your soul and allows peace you only know internally, that is grace, that is brave. When you open your network of people, and present yourself authentically in time (and it may take some time and hardship) you will be surrounded by an abundance of people you never have to worry about losing. And that even starts right here with these people all trying to do the same thing.
I resonate with so much of this.
Thanks JF, you are not alone my friend! Let’s stay connected and be brave together!
You say things in such a well thought out way–things I feel, and think, but haven’t yet found the words for. Thank you for being so brave. I, too, am a “follower.” This past week in a counseling session I was attending, the person with the next appointment didn’t show, and somehow our conversation found its way to “how” I have managed to live through the life I have. I was able to share with P. something of grace, God’s greatness, goodness, and inclusion…that we are already forgiven! The counselor was sort of stunned–he’d never heard anything like “the good news” I’m learning to speak because of you. Thank you. Gratefully, humbly, . . .
Gale, that is such a powerful story and example of the cosmos shifting implications of Grace, In a moment, a brief conversation, life altering mind blowing changes can occur. So proud of your courage to be a force of Grace right where you are at. Condemnation is the root of so many issues in people’s lives, the message of Grace is the only thing that disarms condemnation, everything else empowers it. So thankful for you reading and commenting on this article. Let’s be brave together! 🙂
The Gospel of Grace, Chris, succinctly articulated by a truly gifted writer! You keep me brave!
Paul, thank you so much! You are a great encourager to me!
Ho-ly shit, this.is.AMAZING. Get out of my head. You wonderfully and succinctly articulated EVERYTHING in my heart/mind/spirit. Love, love, LOVE this. Wish everyone everywhere could read this article. Thank you for this. Keep going, friend. Your voice is so necessary! Much love, respect, humble admiration, and solidarity!!
Pete, thanks my friend, it’s an honor to have you read and comment! Let’s keep on holding religious feet to the fire and being brave!
Grace certainly is brave. It can also be lonely but I would rather speak my truth and risk isolation from others who don’t agree with my unconditional Grace filled views. That’s why forums such as this are so important. Thanks Chris.
If Christianity still holds any value, hope, or merit it should do so steeped in grace, and this article comes very close to describing what true grace, the heart of Christianity, should look like…
Thank you SO much for voicing the reasons I left evangelical christianity 35 years ago. I have tried explaining this to others still in it before but have fallen far short of being able to do so.
Brigit, thank you for reading and commenting, sure am glad this article has had a positive impact for you.
“Serving those we see as deplorable”
Serving those you see as deplorable?
That would be Donald Trump and those who voted for him?