Heresy of Evangelical Christians?

 

Most of my adult life I’ve been keenly aware of how the evangelical community has defended the Jews and Israel; I realize that this feeling is shared by many other Christian communities, but since the evangelical churches are under attack by their Progressive Christian brethren, I’m calling attention to them.

Signatories of the Boston Declaration covered in sackcloth and ashes. (Courtesy of Susan Thistlethwaite)

Recently I learned about one of the most blatant modern attacks on Christians by westerners that I’ve heard of, and I felt compelled to speak out.

Let me say first that I realize that every religion has had its internal conflicts; some of them have been deadly; others have simply been ugly; and still others have been encouraged by governments and politics. This latest struggle has been created by a group of Christian pastors and academics. They are attacking evangelicals as heretics, by distorting the beliefs and values of their co-religionists in a way that I believe is unconscionable and evil.

I heard about this organization when I was driving in the car, where I sometimes listen to NPR. The station was promoting a program called “The Three Wise Guys”—hosted by an imam, pastor, and a rabbi. Needless to say, they are all progressive. They were promoting an upcoming guest, the Reverend Doctor Sylvia Thistlethwaite, who would be on the program December 26. Since it has already aired, you can listen to the program here. She spoke about a major meeting, following the creation by two dozen people * of a document called The Boston Declaration; this is the opening of the declaration:

As followers of Jesus, the Jewish prophet for justice whose life reminds us to, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’ (Mark 12:31) we hear the cries of women and men speaking out about sexual abuse at the hands of leaders in power and we are outraged. We are outraged by the current trends in Evangelicalism and other expressions of Christianity driven by white supremacy, often enacted through white privilege and the normalizing of oppression. Confessing racism as the United States’ original and ongoing sin, we commit ourselves to following Jesus on the road of costly discipleship to seek shalom justice for the least, the lost, and the left out. We declare that following Jesus today means fighting poverty, economic exploitation, racism, sexism, and all forms of oppression from the deepest wells of our faith.

They formally introduced this document in Boston, MA:

The action by Christian theologians, who are grieving over the corruption of U.S. Christianity, took place outside a meeting in Boston, Mass., of the American Academy of Religion and the Society of Biblical Literature, the largest annual gathering of religious scholars and leaders in the U.S. In conjunction with the physical demonstration, the group of faith leaders and theologians launched The Boston Declaration at the Old South Church at 12:30 pm on Monday, November 20th. That church, established in 1669 and considered the “mother church” of Congregationalism in America, played a significant role in the American Revolution. From it, in 1773, Samuel Adams gave the signal that started the Boston Tea Party.

I was outraged by this statement. These Christians not only attacked evangelicals, but they tried to draw an association between their group and the American Revolution. They also tried to show a connection between the Barmen Declaration of 1934 when Christian theologians took a stand against Adolph Hitler’s control of the church. The inference was clearly intended to show a connection between today’s evangelicals and the Nazis.

They make no secret of the fact that their agenda is a political one:

‘We’re trying not to be dramatic,’ said Rev. Dr. Susan Thistlethwaite, teacher at the Chicago Theological Seminary and a spokesperson for the Declaration in an interview with People’s World, ‘but to bring some kind of repentance for conservative Christianity which has been hijacked by political hacks.’

Members of this group have committed to “interrogate” Democratic and Republican 2018 candidates regarding their concerns.

If you look at the Boston Declaration, you will find every Progressive issue listed, supposedly demonstrated by evangelicals: racism, sexism, empire building, homophobia, white supremacy and Islamaphobia, for starters. Ironically they criticize anti-Semitism while “standing with the plight for human rights with our Palestinian brothers and sisters.” Since they are essentially attacking any conservative Christian, whether the person considers himself or herself evangelical, all conservative Christians are targeted, and by extension, so are all conservatives.

I find this entire movement so detestable and hateful that I want my evangelical friends and Christians of any kind to know that this Jew cares about you, and I believe my statement applies to many others at Ricochet, whether they are religious or not.

What do you think of this group and the accusations they are making?

There are 193 comments.

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  1. The (apathetic) King Prawn Inactive

    They’ve obviously not read Russell Moore. Sadly, neither have a lot of evangelicals.

    • #1
    • December 29, 2017, at 10:05 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  2. Rodin Member

    I can imagine a dialogue with anyone in the group would be maddening. There need to be common terms of reference and at least some starting point of agreement. Having read their statements and comparing it to my own perceptions of reality and history, I despair over whether a dialogue could even occur.

    • #2
    • December 29, 2017, at 10:06 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
  3. BigDumbJerk Member
    • #3
    • December 29, 2017, at 10:11 AM PDT
    • Like
  4. Full Size Tabby Member

    I find the Left’s use of the language of unification to divide clever, but very infuriating. “We must love everyone, but if you don’t agree with us, we hate you.”

    • #4
    • December 29, 2017, at 10:14 AM PDT
    • 18 likes
  5. Full Size Tabby Member

    I note they claim the mantle of “Christian theologians,” but refer to Jesus merely as a social activist. I appreciate knowing this sort of nonsense goes on, but I just dismiss groups like this one as irrelevant.

    • #5
    • December 29, 2017, at 10:19 AM PDT
    • 21 likes
  6. MarciN Member

    Reading the “declaration” is like reading the writings of a person who has gone mad. It is wildly delusional, and you can feel the wall being projected: “Don’t try to tell me otherwise.”

    Wow.

    • #6
    • December 29, 2017, at 10:20 AM PDT
    • 10 likes
  7. EJHill Podcaster

    As someone who grew up in a mainstream Protestant church I can tell you all about the hijacking of religious doctrine for political purposes.

    These people are exhibits 1 and 1A. There are are large swaths of the Bible they no longer teach or observe. Their politics are 180° out of phase with most Biblical teaching. “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”

    But in their mind, their will is to be done, not God’s. For 2,000 years in the Christian church, and for 5,000 years in the Jewish Temple the role of the clergy has been to bring man to God. Now, by throwing out politically unpalatable passages (well, ignoring them, really) they make it their mission to make God hew to man. And that’s why we’re in the shape we’re in.

    • #7
    • December 29, 2017, at 10:21 AM PDT
    • 20 likes
  8. Kay of MT Member

    It’s nothing new Susan, the various sect of Christianity have been twisting the word of G-d for several millennium.

    This passage comes straight out of Leviticus 19:18. A different translation of the verse:

    http://www.inner.org/responsa/leter1/resp22.htm

    There are now so many Christian and Jewish groups that hate themselves and each other it’s hard to keep track of them. One group disavowing another group has gone on forever. They just have a better forum to get their word out. When my mother spent Easter in Jerusalem in April of 1960, she was taken aback, as an Ordained Christian Minister with a masters in theology, at what she experienced there. She and 5 other Christian ministers went to the Garden of Gethsemane and held their own service.

    • #8
    • December 29, 2017, at 10:22 AM PDT
    • 7 likes
  9. The Reticulator Member

    Susan Quinn (quoting): the normalizing of oppression

    I wonder how these people felt about President Obama normalizing oppression by his weaponizing of the federal workforce.

    • #9
    • December 29, 2017, at 10:23 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
  10. KentForrester Coolidge

    Susan, I become discouraged easily, and this kind of foolish statement by the “progressive” ministers leaves a dark impression in my mind that lasts for days.

    So from now on, I want only Pollyannish sentiments from you. Post only rosy predictions and refer only to news articles that describe sunny events.

    Is that asking too much?

    Kent

    • #10
    • December 29, 2017, at 10:31 AM PDT
    • 7 likes
  11. MarciN Member

    I can’t find my just-laugh-at-them button. These are truly scary obsessed delusional people.

    I know where this “movement” came from–it was those memes and personal declarations out there after Trump was elected that were promulgated by Clinton’s and Obama’s supporters. They were all over Facebook. Which is why I unfollowed almost everyone I had been following on Facebook. I can’t find it, but it said something like “I am no longer going to be silent in the face of racism. Blah blah blah.” I blame the press: see @kingprawn’s post on the Member Feed. I thought it would blow over–Trump is many things, but racist and sexist are not among those things. I thought the lack of actual evidence against him would mean that these attacks would go away. I was certainly wrong about that.

    It is impossible to prove you are not racist or sexist. It’s the thought police thing. It’s why the rules of evidence exist in courtrooms.

    This is a very dangerous group of people now. Churchill’s “gathering storm.”

    We really have to come up with a plan to answer this stuff. We won’t convert the present believers, but perhaps we can prevent the movement from growing.

    • #11
    • December 29, 2017, at 10:35 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
  12. La Tapada Member

    It is their document that is corrupting Christianity. It should read: “As followers of Jesus, the Son of God, whose life reminds us…”

    • #12
    • December 29, 2017, at 10:36 AM PDT
    • 14 likes
  13. Tutti Member

    I think that this “Boston Declaration” group is using progressive ‘new-speak’ in an attempt to redefine Christianity by labeling traditional teachings and values as racist, homophobic, misogynistic, etc.

    Our strength, however, lies in our steadfast adherence to these Judeo-Christian values. This is the bedrock upon which our country was founded.

    As with all things progressive, the only unchangeable principle is the destruction of the family and the core values of our founders. To that end, everything becomes acceptable. Values and religion can change from day to day, year to year, generation to generation until it bears no resemblance to the original ideas and, at that point, values and religion become irrelevant.

    At that point, progressivism has won.

    • #13
    • December 29, 2017, at 10:37 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
  14. Stina Member

    The King Prawn (View Comment):
    They’ve obviously not read Russell Moore. Sadly, neither have a lot of evangelicals.

    Sounds like The Boston Declaration would be in agreement with Moore.

    If not, how would you say so?

    • #14
    • December 29, 2017, at 10:42 AM PDT
    • Like
  15. Old Bathos Member
    1.  Why listen to NPR? It is bound to be annoying.
    2.  This is another vastly over-publicized lemming rush to the cliffs by the Anglican/Episcopalian suicide cult that wants Christianity to disappear in favor of the NYT editorial page or of any and all au courant PC nonsense of the week.
    3.  In fairness, the overt politicization of some evangelical leaders can be a problem. Endorsements always need to be issue-specific and morally relevant. I don’t want Sunday sermons on how I should vote with respect to net neutrality or capital gains tax rates.
    • #15
    • December 29, 2017, at 10:44 AM PDT
    • 12 likes
  16. Percival Thatcher

    Susan Quinn: … costly discipleship …

    Spare me. What do they calculate the cost of their “costly discipleship” to be? The ignominy of being feted by their fellow travelers in the media?

    Check your eyes for planks, boys.

    • #16
    • December 29, 2017, at 10:49 AM PDT
    • 19 likes
  17. James Gawron Thatcher

    Susan,

    Well, they left out the Apostle Karl Marx and Rabbi Saul Alinsky. Just what we need more leftwing junk religion. These people are to real Christianity what J-Street is to real support for Israel.

    They get my official Nancy Reagan recommendation. “Just say no.”

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #17
    • December 29, 2017, at 10:52 AM PDT
    • 12 likes
  18. Stina Member

    EJHill (View Comment):
    Their politics are 180° out of phase with most Biblical teaching. “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”

    I had a pastor talking about God’s righteous anger and how it is obvious it is righteous. I pointed out it is anything but obvious. Uriah, Priscilla & Aquila- you come away from reading those completely confused. But I believe God is good and righteous, so I must come to terms that what, in my estimation, doesn’t appear good or righteous, is my own flesh and human understanding. One reason to just leave certain things to God. We can never fully understand his reasons.

    Once you reach the conclusion our understanding is flawed, it’s a lot easier to accept harder parts of scripture as they are rather than computing our own flawed concepts of righteousness. One example is Jesus telling the gentile woman that he came for the Jews first. The master feeds his children before he feeds the dogs. She was rewarded for accepting the assessment and having faith that even the crumbs would be enough to save her. These people would have puffed their chest in self-righteous indignation and cursed the Son of God as a blasphemer for such a comparison.

    • #18
    • December 29, 2017, at 10:52 AM PDT
    • 8 likes
  19. EJHill Podcaster

    MarciN: I can’t find my just-laugh-at-them button.

    • #19
    • December 29, 2017, at 10:57 AM PDT
    • 13 likes
  20. Seawriter Member

    It reminds me of the parable of the pharisee and the publican.

    Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector.

    Those supporting the Boston Declarations sound just like the Pharisee.

    Seawriter

    • #20
    • December 29, 2017, at 11:04 AM PDT
    • 19 likes
  21. Postmodern Hoplite Member

    Having just read the actual The Boston Declaration I’m not surprised to find that they only cite Jesus once (Mark 12:31) and the Apostle Peter once (Acts 10:34-35). Both citations are taken grossly out of context. It is a common trick of Satan to carefully select passages of scripture and use them to deceive and separate us from the love of God. The rest of the “declaration” is boilerplate Marxism, routinely accepted as the foundation of all Progressive dogma. Given that Marxism expressly and avowedly rejects the existence of a higher power, much less the necessity for sacrificial redemption through the intercession of a savior, it strikes me as disingenuous at best to rely upon Marxism in an attempt to “bring some kind of repentance for conservative Christianity.”

    If the advocates of the Boston Declaration want to faithfully express the love of Jesus, they might start by carefully and prayerfully re-reading the Gospel of John. (John 14:6, 15:5 and 15:18-19 would be a good start.)

    It is not for me to judge the heart and spirit of anyone. That authority rests with God (John 3:18-19). As far as I know, a Christian is one who has “confessed with their mouth that Jesus is Lord and believes in their heart that God raised him from the dead” (Romans 10:9). If we can start with that, then we have the foundation for shared belief. I hope that my Christian walk is a faithful witness of those truths, ever mindful that I no less than anyone else am in need of the Great Physician (Luke 5:31-32).

    • #21
    • December 29, 2017, at 11:10 AM PDT
    • 7 likes
  22. Kay of MT Member

    The reason the Tax Collectors were so hated at that time was because they cheated the tax payer. The Romans wanted so much per person for taxes. As long as that “per person” amount was given over, the tax collector was free to extract however much more he could from the tax payer.

    • #22
    • December 29, 2017, at 11:15 AM PDT
    • 8 likes
  23. Michael Brehm Member

    “‘We’re trying not to be dramatic,’ said Rev. Dr. Susan Thistlethwaite”

    That’s mighty rich coming from a group that posed for a photo in ashes and sackcloth. They look like a sorry lot of tedious, self-aggrandizing speedbumps, if you ask me.

    • #23
    • December 29, 2017, at 11:26 AM PDT
    • 16 likes
  24. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    The King Prawn (View Comment):
    They’ve obviously not read Russell Moore. Sadly, neither have a lot of evangelicals.

    Not being a Christian, I wasn’t familiar with him. But his credentials are excellent. Thanks KP.

    • #24
    • December 29, 2017, at 11:42 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  25. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    Full Size Tabby (View Comment):
    I find the Left’s use of the language of unification to divide clever, but very infuriating. “We must love everyone, but if you don’t agree with us, we hate you.”

    The conflicts among their ideas are mind-boggling. Clearly they haven’t really examined their own belief system, FST.

    • #25
    • December 29, 2017, at 11:43 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  26. Hypatia Inactive

    La Tapada (View Comment):
    It is their document that is corrupting Christianity. It should read: “As followers of Jesus, the Son of God, whose life reminds us…”

    Yes, I was gonna say! These bozos aren’t even Christians. “Jewish prophet”? If we thought that, we’d be deifying Isaiah, Moses, Zechariah.

    The OP doesn’t mention this, but

    You

    can

    bet

    these ideoidiots are also opposed to recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s Capitol.

    Do not get me started on PCUSA.

    The Christian Left has lost its mind. And you know what the Bard said:

    “Lilies that fester smell far worse than weeds.”

    • #26
    • December 29, 2017, at 11:44 AM PDT
    • 10 likes
  27. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    EJHill (View Comment):
    But in their mind, their will is to be done, not God’s.

    Exactly. Thanks, EJ. The arrogance and lack of self-reflection are so apparent.

    • #27
    • December 29, 2017, at 11:45 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  28. Western Chauvinist Member

    Ashes and sackcloth!! Hahahaaa! There is no way you’re going to break through such moral vanity. No. way.

    I love it when lefties repent for other people’s sins and offer forgiveness when they’re not the ones trespassed against. /not really.

    Tangentially related — Mr. C and I recently watched Poverty Inc., about the perpetuation of poverty and exploitation of the poor by the paternalistic aid industry. I also watched most of Uncommon Knowledge on The High Price of Good Intentions. To be fair, conservative Christians are involved in this, too, although I think we’re more likely to be convinced by evidence that not all do-gooderism does good.

    Pretty sure the Boston Declaration’s signatories are impenetrable to any suggestion that they’re not already perfectly Perfect in every way. “…and you will be like God…” — Satan.

    • #28
    • December 29, 2017, at 11:46 AM PDT
    • 9 likes
  29. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn Post author

    Kay of MT (View Comment):
    It’s nothing new Susan, the various sect of Christianity have been twisting the word of G-d for several millennium.

    This passage comes straight out of Leviticus 19:18. A different translation of the verse:

    http://www.inner.org/responsa/leter1/resp22.htm

    There are now so many Christian and Jewish groups that hate themselves and each other it’s hard to keep track of them. One group disavowing another group has gone on forever. They just have a better forum to get their word out. When my mother spent Easter in Jerusalem in April of 1960, she was taken aback, as an Ordained Christian Minister with a masters in theology, at what she experienced there. She and 5 other Christian ministers went to the Garden of Gethsemane and held their own service.

    That’s a great link, Kay. I think all groups (Jews with Jews, too, as you say) fight about the true meaning of the Bible. The Greek messed with the Bible for their own translation, and now we are paying the price.

    • #29
    • December 29, 2017, at 11:48 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  30. MarciN Member

    These people are creating a prejudice against evangelicals.

    The human tendency toward prejudice and persecution has never been addressed sufficiently in the halls of western civilization’s universities. Thus the tendency remains in tact because their focus has always stayed on the victims rather than the errant mindset that led to the victimization in the first place. We just keep creating new targets.

    • #30
    • December 29, 2017, at 11:50 AM PDT
    • 7 likes
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