The Failure of Evangelical Elites

There are times in history when Christianity feels its place in society coming under threat. As it finds itself pushed to the margins, two temptations emerge. The first is an angry sense of entitlement, an impulse to denounce the entire world and withdraw into cultural isolation. In the early twentieth century, American Fundamentalism offered a good example of this tendency, renouncing public engagement and defining itself against alcohol, evolution, the movies -- characteristic productions of the society by which it felt attacked. Arguably, we see something of the same thing today in evangelical support for Donald Trump, though in this case populist Protestantism is contending for America's future rather than retreating from its present. I dare say readers of The Christian Century wish that truculent evangelicals would take the Benedict Option.

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