ANALYSIS: Are evangelicals fractured & losing influence in the public square?

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by gb93433, Jun 15, 2009.

  1. gb93433

    gb93433
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    The entire story is at http://www.bpnews.net/bpnews.asp?id=30677

    UPDATED June 12 to add clarity about "percent" and "point" in the section, "WHAT DO THE NUMBERS SHOW?"

    NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)--In the aftermath of the 2008 elections, liberals and moderates were quick to claim a sea change among religious voters, but the facts are not as convincing as the anti-conservative crowd would have you believe.

    Cameron Strang, founder of Relevant Magazine and namesake of Stephen Strang, founder of Charisma magazine, crowed, "Young Christians simply don't seem to feel a connection to the traditional religious right," according to beliefnet.com.

    "Many differ strongly on domestic policy issues, namely issues that affect the poor, and are dissatisfied with America's foreign policy and war," he said, adding, "The old religious right is dead. The new one is being formed.

    "If young evangelicals have anything to say about it chances are high it will not look a lot like the old one."

    The leader of the so-called evangelical left, Jim Wallis, was equally ebullient, declaring a "whole new faith coalition is coming together and reaching out to allies in other faith traditions, both Jewish and Muslim," the Christian Science Monitor reported.

    "The generational shift (among evangelicals and Catholics) is very significant," he added. "Many young Christians cast a post-religious-right ballot."

    But as the oft-attributed-to-Mark Twain saying goes, "Reports of my demise are greatly exaggerated."

    WHAT DO THE NUMBERS SHOW?

    Comparing President Obama's 2008 performance to John Kerry's failed 2004 campaign is one way of assessing his pull among evangelicals -- and this is the comparison made in the main by the mainstream media.

    According to CNN.com presidential exit polling information, in 2008, Barack Obama drew 24 percent of what CNN.com described as the White Evangelical/Born Again vote compared to Kerry's 21 percent in 2004 -- and pundits touted Obama's 3 point gain over Kerry as a surge among evangelical voters.

    However, the question remains whether in a larger historical context the 3 point increase represented a gain. At first blush, the evangelical vote would appear to be on the swing, but how does Obama stack up against other liberal and moderate presidential candidates?

    A better comparison than Kerry (who for all intents and purposes is the left's equivalent of John McCain -- a second or third choice candidate who managed to grab the party's top spot) would be Bill Clinton, another Democrat with the same kind of star power attributed to Obama.

    CNN.com data shows Clinton drew 26 percent of what CNN.com described then as White Religious Right Voters -- and this was in a 3-way race that included Bob Dole and Ross Perot.

    From this perspective, Obama not only made no gains with evangelicals in 2008, but actually lost 2 points against what had been won in 1996.

    The "slide" is even more pronounced if data from the 1992 campaign is added: According to the National Review, Clinton attracted 29 percent of the "Evangelical/Prot." vote in that 3-way race (which included Bush senior and Perot). In 2008, Obama lost ground with Evangelicals to the tune of 5 points compared to 1992! This actually is a 17 percent decline (5 percentage points Obama lost divided by Clinton's 29 percentage point base), which by any objective basis is a political calamity.

    Not only that, but consider in 2008 compared to 2004, according to the online Wall Street Journal, "there were ... 4.1 million fewer voters who attend religious services more than once a week. Americans aren't suddenly going to church less; something was missing from the campaign to draw out the more religiously observant."

    Pause just a moment to let this bit of information sink in.

    Obama, while drawing record crowds among some groups, offered nothing (nor did McCain!) to attract 4.1 million religiously faithful to the polls.

    YOUNGER EVANGELICALS

    What about claims that younger evangelicals are disaffected with previous evangelical priorities?
     
  2. preachinjesus

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    this whole line of articles is like akin to telling the passengers on the Titanic not to worry, the icebergs aren't really there.

    Will Hall is calling out members of the SBC and nobody in the aristocracy are saying anything but nodding in furrowed-brow approval. What a ridiculous thing.

    Well the honest truth is that when we look at our bloated, beaurocratically mind-numbing agencies and think that we'll be able to fiscally support them at this pace in another 10 to 15 years is unreasonable.

    At this point many of my peers and I are rolling our eyes and heading for the door. The church I get to serve in will still, and always, give to the CP but we do so with specified giving. Only a certain percentage goes to administrative costs and the rest directly to help missionaries who are reaching people with the Gospel and the seminaries training our future ministers and missionaries. I have no desire to see any of our monies, given by our good people, go to these bloated and outlandish agencies. When most of our dollars given to CP go to admin costs and not directly to help our missionaries we've lost our way and need to repent.

    Well I'll look forward to the rocks! ;)
     
  3. Revmitchell

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    Libbies keep trying to make the case that because the values of lost people have changed we should change our values as well. Nothing could be further form the truth.
     
  4. gb93433

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    That seems to happen to every organization when it does not keep its eyes on the goal and why they started? Look at what happened to Chrysler until Lee Iaccoca came along and rfired one VP each month for 32 months.

    When I was in seminary the administrative costs were around 7% and about 93% went to the field.
     
  5. Tom Butler

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    Can you suggest ways to cut the bloated democracy? For instance, what administrative costs can we do without? Some specifics would be helpful.
     
  6. gb93433

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    You must live in the south because I have never heard that anywhere else.

    The conservatives have done exactly as you have accused the liberals of doing. Why are they currently teaching CCM at SWBTS and even have a concentration in Jazz studies (http://www.swbts.edu/catalog/page.cfm?id=81&open=6_area)
     
  7. Freedom

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    I've never heard that except from you. Why don't you post your own beliefs instead of putting words in the mouth of "libbies?"
     
  8. gb93433

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    When a man can go from pastoring FBC Dallas at a salary of 160K to 200k as the man running the annuity board. Let the pastors select their own retirement fund wherever they want. After all most anyone knows they are playing the stock market and putting money into investments that would be obvious that Christians would not support. In essence get rid of the annuity board.
     
  9. gb93433

    gb93433
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    Remember there is a reason why OJ decided to live where the pastor lives.
     
  10. preachinjesus

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    I'm not a prophet or the son of a prophet...though I've been called a son of...nevermind...

    1. Eliminate the Executive Committee (the original SBC was not founded to have a central board but a LOOSE confederation of cooperating autonomous churches.)
    2. Eliminate the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (we pay lobbyists to go to Congress for us...read that again we pay for legislation. That is not what our denomination is about. Also the current leader has sold our denominational birthright for a bowl of soup to the Republicans.)
    3. Keep Lifeway (its pretty autonomous anyways and self-sustaining.)
    4. Combine NAMB and the IMB and then reduce overlapping staffing responsibilities.
    5. At the state level reduce all state denominational leadership and staffing by 50% by the end of the year. (We have consultants making more than most pastors who just drive around doing the same lame presentation ad infinitum and never providing real answers)
    6. Sell off the empty buildings in Nashville, Atlanta (Marrietta), and anywhere else. Take all the money (have an independent auditor monitor it all...I don't trust our leadership) and give it to start 1,000 new churches above the "Mason-Dixon Line" (the northern states) 20,000 new international churches and set up an endowment to fund our missionaries for their entire lives.

    Yes I know its people's jobs. Have you been to a denominational office lately? Really? I walk around the Georgia State HQ and think its a masoleum. Marble everywhere, HD monitors showing you the weather everywhere, ornate furnishings everywhere...then just ten miles south there is an amazing church planter trying to reach people in Midtown Atlanta and he's having trouble finding funs. We have a serious problem here.

    We need to get back to basics and recapture the mission of God among us. We've become Rome. I'm absolutely convinced of it. I mean great gravy Virginia has like 3 SBC state conventions. 3, each with its own multi-million dollar budgets! Seriously, we need to get back to basics. We need to vote on the HUGE six figure executive salaries of our agency employees and seminary presidents.

    Do you really think the Presidents need a new Cadillac every other year with a driver provided, a personal chef, etc etc etc?

    We've become Rome. We should hang our heads, tear our clothes, weep and mourn for how we've misspent God's treasure from his good and honest people.

    Well that was unexpectedly long...:saint:
     
  11. Freedom

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    Makes no sense to me at all.
     
  12. Servent

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    I'm not a pastor or a deacon or a prophet, I'm just an electrician who loves the LORD and loves to be a witness form Him. I agree 100% we need to get back to basics. stop wasting money start helping those who are in the trenches.
     
  13. sag38

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    Personally, I'm thankful for the Annuity Board. And, GB you are free to put your retirement funds anywhere you want to. I don't have to use any products of the Annuity Board and neither do you. Nor do you have to use the services of any state baptist foundation.

    No one is compelled to join in with any of these services. Seems to me that if they were so so bad that pastors, staff, and churches in the convention would quit using them. And, in that case they would go away for lack of funding and support. But, that isn't the case is it? They are used and evidently appreciated.

    Your attitude represents the attitude of those who would have liked the convention to have remained in the hands of liberals. Your group lost. Move on, support your beloved CBF, and quit taking pot shots.

    As to the suggestions of pj I can see some reasoning but also see some resentment such as his accusing the convention leadership of being in the hip pocket of the Republicans. I would ask, who else can we vote for? I for one cannot support gay marriage, hate crimes legislation, abortion on demand, expanded government interference in free enterprise, the belief in the global warming hoax, cap and trade legislation, a misinterpretation of the 2nd Amendment, a head in the sand approach to the global war on terror, holding the hands of labor unions, failure to support school choice, open boarders, amnesty to illegal aliens, allowing illegal aliens to vote, etc... We sure can't vote for democrats for this is their platform. And, at least, for the most part, Republicans don't support these pet projects of the democrats.
     
  14. preachinjesus

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    There is no resentment, I would suggest it is righteous indignation. The leadership of our convention has so closely aligned us with the Republicans that it is hard to tell where the lines begins and ends. That is absolutely never the pursuit of the Church nor should it ever be in the interest of the Gospel.

    There is a telling passage in Judges 9:7-14...we have allowed the bramble to rule over us.

    Yeah this, and what we'll get into below, are going to show that we a probably in different camps in our personal political philosophy. I readily suggest that for major national offices there is always an alternative. For the last three presidential and senatorial elections I've voted for a 3rd party candidate.

    When we suggest that because someone is "3rd party" they aren't worth our vote we miss the point of the federal constitutional republic our founders created in this country. Nevertheless this is another conversation that we probably can have elsewhere. (And one I'm happy to have btw.)

    There are people in both parties who favor this, there are people in both parties who oppose this. Currently the sitting President of the United States opposes this.

    While I oppose this I also ask the question "What purpose does state recognized marriage serve?" Just curious. The reality is within 5 to 10 years gay marriage will be legal. I'm opposed to it and frankly won't be happy about it. That is reality though.

    I don't why this makes the list. While I agree that all crimes are hate crimes there are many people in both major parties who favor and oppose this. It isn't a big deal for me.

    I know plenty of people in both parties who oppose this. One of the personal choices I have made is not to support someone who favors this. If there are two candidates and both of them support open abortion (it happens) I don't vote for either. My abstension is my voice.

    That is not a biblical thing imho. I don't really care either. Free markets make free people. I 'm a huge free markets guy but the last Republican administration did more to mess with the free markets in their last 6 months than most every administration before it. I don't know how this is a big deal.

    I believe that global warming is happening. I believe it is partly man made. I also believe that we should be good stewards of our environment. I'm a creation care guy.

    How does this make the list? Really? This is a great concept.

    I've stated this elsewhere, I'm in favor of gun control but could care less about a politicians stance. I don't own guns I will not own guns I will suggest that it is not wise to own guns. Do we seriously believe that we need to keep high velocity, military caliber weapons available to the public.

    Here's the thing, take Japan, England, Korea, and France and put them in a focus group. Last year they had maybe 150 gun deaths combined. Their combined population is about the same size as the United States. Last year we had nearly 30,000 gun deaths. We don't have a control problem we have a gun problem.

    I wouldn't make this a voting issue. We can't fight terrorism with force.

    Wow everyone one of these is a political, religious far right position. I disagree with a ton of them. Most of them don't even matter when I cast my ballot.

    What our convention has done is wedding so much Republican philosophy with spirituality that we have bankrupted the faith. How does illegal immigration matter to the faith? How does gun control matter to the faith? How does school vouchers matter to the faith?

    It means nothing and has no place being advocated from a position of power in an evangelical, Christian denomination is my point. Yet our leadership has done just that and captured a whole generation of people who think Republican=Right and Democrat=Wrong.

    We don't vote for parties we vote for people. I vote across party lines because I make sure I meet the people. I sit and read their postions. I talk with them. I ask questions.

    If anything the only governing that really matters is what happens at the local and state levels. Who are your local town/city council members? Who is your superior court judge? Who is the state legislatures? Those people matter.

    This huge list of Republicanism above is nothing more than a clever diversion created to distract the people of God from the purpose of God. (I will suggest that several of the positions are worth pursuing at a significant level like abortion, gay marriage, and one or two others) How effective are our churches at being political verse being spiritual?

    Republicans have the SBC in their pocket and have absolutely abused us and used us in ways that would make Hosea's wife blush.

    There is no universal position that one must hold on any of these issues. From top to bottom in both major parties different people hold varying positions.

    I vote for a variety of candidates. I vote for Republicans, Democrats, and 3rd party candidates across the board. To be Christian means that I know government is never the answer.
     
  15. Freedom

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    I think far worse than losing our political influence is the fact the we are losing our spiritual influence. By focussing so much on politics many of the lost (certainly the half that don't belong to "God's political party") ignore evangelical christians as not caring about their human condition (parable of the good Samaritan) or their eternal soul but only their vote.
     
  16. sag38

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    Those railing against the SBC are in fact in liberal in their approach to politics. They support a party that at its base is immoral and godless and can't stand the fact that the majority of baptists don't agree with them.

    Funny, freedom, you and pc are the one's who first brought up politics. I didn't. So whose really being political? It's ok for liberal Christians to bring politics into the picture but it's not ok for conservatives. Can anyone say hypocrite?
     
  17. preachinjesus

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    Ah yes, the "when all else fail label/libel them" and "if we call them liberals everyone will believe us and hate them" defenses. Deeply engaging duo at that.

    What if it isn't conversative vs. liberal but something else? Something not pulled into the ostracizing battlefield of politics. What if it is something better?

    See one of the problems with engaging in politics is that you end up using political tactics to engage those who disagree with you but are still respectful. Politics have no place in the Church! When we tie the pulpit with the political party we ruin our people and devastate the holiness of our message.
     
  18. sag38

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    Again, you are the one who first brought politics into the discussion. Personally, I cannot separate how I vote and who I vote for from my Christian convictions. To do so would be a cop out.

    As to labels. I have no problem being called a conservative or even a fundamentalist if you want to go that far. I'll wear both labels with pride if you care to pin them on me. And, if you are a liberal why be afraid of it?
     
  19. Freedom

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    I brought up the SBC's effectiveness as a soul winning organization. If you must consider that to be only politics that's a good example of the problem.
     
  20. Revmitchell

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    Conservative vs.liberal is not just a political "thing". Left vs. right, conservative vs. liberal covers theological and world views in general. Those who try to reduce that to politics only expose themselves.

    Making that distinction expresses the difference in views and where the individuals are coming from. The difficult part for some is the conservative label does not have the stigma the liberal label has. In defense liberals try to turn these labels into a negative but the fact remains they express the larger point of view that drives the one single point being made.
     

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