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Controversy History Politics Social Justice

Evangelical Third-Way Political Theory and Its Historical Problem

The following was published initially on Twitter here.

That phrase – “…we’ve never known before” frustrates me deeply. Let me start here: Ray & I, as best I can tell from his tweets, see Christian faithfulness in 2020 in profoundly different & significant ways. I do, however, think he is a brother and I want to respect our common confession of faith & him as an older believer to the greatest degree I can. So, my frustrations: This newly discovered, high-minded, third-way-is-faithfulness approach that Ortlund is praising (and that shows up the writings of The Gospel Coalition, David French, Thomas Kidd, etc. – to name some recent examples) is particularly exhausting for those of us in the evangelical camp who were saying we were politically homeless years and years and years ago.

For myself, it was McCain & Romney. Others reading this tweet thread will go back further than I. Collectively, we represent evangelicals who long ago concluded the GOP was untenable for Christians who really wanted to see meaningful action taken on first-priority issues, abortion in particular. Want proof? Read this:

Jeff Wright: The Time I Threw My Vote Away from August, 2015.

That’s my receipt. Others can provide their own. When we said this stuff in public the big-name evangelicals & Christian thought leaders who were used to sitting on big stages (here, again, Ortlund or
David French are good representatives) scoffed & outright

mocked us a political ideologues, naive daydreamers, simple people who didn’t understand the complexity of bartered goods in modern politics. I, and I think others, remember this.

Now Trump makes these guys feel icky. And as a result 3rd party voting & political

homelessness is the revealed way of Christian political virtue?

Thanks but I’ll keep my own counsel. Here’s what I know: progressives are literally – literally – burning cities, destroying lives, mutilating adolescent bodies in the name of transgenderism, attempting to, w/o any attempt at secrecy, overthrow the Western world, and continue bathing in the blood of the unborn in a way that the worst ethical monsters in history would recoil at.

Now is when voting gets complex? Now is when the third way is needed? Sure guys.

To begin landing this plane, remember: there are a bunch of us who got here long before you did. We got here earlier for better reasons. We got here when the conflict in society wasn’t nearly as pointed or high stakes. And we remember your laughter. We remember you taking the exact same condescending, above-your-petty-concerns, pedantic tone of voice – coming from you then in favor of voting for the established parties.

Now, when we hear it again you remind us you don’t have principles. You are culturally hide-bound and the culture you are hide-bound to isn’t the local church, at least not in a way you can be accused of consistency on.

Want some of the credibility you jettisoned back? Point out your political principles and the specific policies you think are a necessary conclusion from those principles. Show us either how you’ve held them for longer than 10 minutes or own that you changed in light of a mistake you made.

Otherwise you’re going to continue looking like a boat loosely tied to the evangelical dock, drifting first one way then the next according to whatever the current of culture is telling you. We specifically won’t see you as credible guides to faithful Christian political lives.

That phrase – “…we’ve never known before” – isn’t true for those of us paying attention & looking for help when you were scoffing. And every time you use it you remind us who you were then and who you are now.

Think I’m a nutty MAGA guy? Think again. I’ve got receipts here too:

Jeff Wright on Donald Trump, Various Writings

The problem isn’t blind support for Trump. Or white privilege & maintaining white power. Or – good night – QAnon.

You are the problem; your track record is the problem.

What you have been consistent on is a mocking, condescending tone toward believers who came to different political conclusions.

As I’ve mentioned, we remember. And remembering lets us recognize the pattern today.

So please, own your failure. Or otherwise just do us all a favor and send that next tweet in a text message to your friends & stop trying to bind our consciences to yours.

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