…The white nationalists, the billionaire apologists, the authoritarians, cult of Trump.
I see it over and over again on Twitter. Where I tweet openly as “Rev. Ryan Gaffney” and people tell me “You’re a fake Christian” or “How dare you call yourself a reverend?” Or “You don’t worship any god I believe in” whenever I dare say something critical of the president.
Without fail when I visit those profiles, I see American flags and fox news logos, repetitions of right wing slogans, and nary a Jesus quote in sight. Oh! Jesus is mentioned, sometimes a cross or s fish is seen, but always in service to something greater. Always as a prop to make some point about some political issue.
Well listen: I don’t “call myself” a reverend. I am one. It’s my job. I do it every day of my life (but passively on Mondays because that’s my Sabbath) It’s not something that is open to opinion. Just like the fact that Donald Trump is the president. I don’t have to like it in order for it to be true. And It may be true (in fact I think it probably is) that I do not worship any of the Gods worshiped by the people who feel this way about me. But not because I fail to be a Christian. Only because I fail to be a Republican.
It’s a really simple equation. If –B=-A then A=B. If I don’t support your god because I don’t support your political platform, then your god is a political platform. It follows by equally simple logic that your god is not Jesus since Jesus is obviously not a political platform!
If you think I don’t worship Jesus because I don’t worship Trump, then you are very confused, and you think Trump is Jesus.
And why am I telling you this, dear reader, the choir who is unlikely to need to be persuaded away from this thinking? i say it, because I am doing more here than persuading you away from it. I want to demonstrate that it is straight up idolatry and needs to be condemned as such.
To be clear, I’m not saying everyone who voted for Trump, or who supports a republican platform is automatically worshiping a God other than the Christian one. I’ll say those people are wrong, but Christians are wrong all the time, that’s no problem. What I am saying is that those individuals who hold to something they suppose to be Christianity as a subset or as a consequence of their identity as republicans, are in fact a religion unto themselves, which is quite apart from Christ.
This is uncomfortable. Or at least it should be If I have made my case strongly enough. To say that a significant (and very loud) minority of Christian believers in this country are members of a new cult and are not saved. But it’s unavoidable if you take them at their word and follow the logic.
”But everyone who calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved” you’ll say. And I’ll agree. Romans 10:13
But operative in that confession is an understanding of who the LORD is. Who is the Kurios, the Boss, the Authority, the Big Cheese? Translations of the Old Testament use those four letters L-O-R-D in place of four other letters Y-H-W-H to represent the holy name of God. Who is that?
For most people in ancient Rome, the answer to that Question “Who is Lord?” would be “Caesar!” and they would not be counted among the elect. Not everyone who calls on the name of any lord, but only those that call upon the name of the LORD for salvation shall be saved. Grace, yes, but only grace from the true God, not from wherever you want it.
For many years, Christians like me have been taught not to criticize other Christians, not to “judge”, not to quibble over the nonessential points of theology where good Christians may disagree. And there is a kernal of valid advice there, but over time it has amplified certain extremist voices in a devastating way.
- If you believe evolution can be harmonized with Christianity, keep mum, for some might disagree But If you believe that they cannot be harmonized, speak out against the dangerous heresy!
- If you trust the best authorities in Bible Translation, that’s an opinion But if you think only the KJV is reliable for no good reason it’s a fact
- If you think the Gifts of the holy spirit were probably mundane things like learned languages. Shhhhh! But if you think you aren’t saved unless you speak in tongues that’s legitimate.
It’s gone so far that we not feel guilty for confronting errors in our churches, and feel vindicated when we propagate those same errors. It feels safer to hit “share” on a conspiracy theory link than it does to share a Bible verse about how we are supposed to treat immigrants, or the poor, or black lives. It’s past time to get over it.
It’s past time to stop calling them Christians. They who worship the Elephant God
Rev. Ryan Gaffney – ryangaffney.com