Word&Way News: Nov. 4
Here’s the weekly roundup from Word&Way. In addition to a report on Christians supporting an anti-democratic candidate in Arizona that is free for anyone to read, paid subscribers to A Public Witness received an essay on climate change and the Bible.
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Top 5 at wordandway.org
Why the False Prophets of Christian Nationalism Don’t Speak for Me. Nathan Empsall of Faithful America argued that Christian Nationalism is the single biggest threat to both democracy and the church today.
Review: The Messiah Confrontation. Robert D. Cornwall reviewed The Messiah Confrontation: Pharisees Versus Sadducees and the Death of Jesus by Israel Knohl and translated by David Maisel.
Voting No on Missouri’s Amendment 4. Darron LaMonte Edwards made the case against a state constitutional amendment that would further erode local control over crucial resources in Kansas City.
Robert Jeffress’s ‘Reversal’ on Christian Nationalism. Rodney Kennedy wrote about the pastor of First Baptist in Dallas, Texas, deciding to embrace a term he previously rejected.
Calvin University Board Votes To Keep Faculty Who Disagree With Stand on Sex. Yonat Shimron reported on a Christian school in Michigan allowing professors to dissent from the school’s confession of faith.
This week: Christopher Beem on the Seven Democratic Virtues
Another noteworthy podcast this week:
Amanda Tyler of the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty joined former South Carolina state lawmaker Bakari Sellers on his podcast to talk about Christian Nationalism.
by Brian Kaylor, Word&Way Editor-in-Chief
On Sunday, several candidates showed up during church services as they pray for votes in the final days of the midterm campaigns. That’s not a surprise, unfortunately, because as we’ve documented in our “Partisan Pulpit” series, Republicans and Democrats try to turn worship into a campaign rally (and in doing so lead churches to violate an IRS rule). Illinois Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker this week even managed to hit four churches in one Sunday, which either means he’s very religious or just profanely pops in long enough to speak but isn’t actually there to worship.
But one candidate’s church visit this week did surprise me. Although Georgia Democratic gubernatorial nominee Stacey Abrams didn’t speak during the service, the pastor noted her presence during his sermon and clearly suggested people should vote for her. The surprise was whose support she decided to court that morning: televangelist Creflo Dollar.
Dollar is a controversial figure with perhaps the most on-brand name for a “prosperity gospel” preacher. In addition to his poor theology, his lavish lifestyle has sparked rebuke — including owning multiple houses worth more than a million dollars, two Rolls-Royces, and a $65 million jet that he urged people to give to his ministry so he could have it. He was even one of six televangelists (along with Trump spiritual advisor Paula White-Cain) investigated by Republican U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley in 2007 for potential IRS violations.
The crass answer to why Abrams showed up to get Dollar’s blessing was he leads a megachurch full of lots of potential voters. But when she preached at other churches during the campaign, she talked about justice. Jesus warned us we cannot serve two masters. We cannot honor justice and Dollar.
Other News of Note
Brian Kaylor wrote for the Missouri Independent on the ReAwaken America Tour starting today: “Missouri Leaders Should Condemn this Weekend’s Christian Nationalist Rally in Branson.”
Christopher Mathias reported for Huffington Post about the efforts of self-proclaimed prophets pushing Doug Mastriano’s gubernatorial campaign in Pennsylvania, including at a recent ReAwaken America Tour event.
Emily Belz of Christianity Today wrote about how some U.S. Christians are offering justifications for political violence. And Russell Moore wrote for CT about how the Pelosi attack shows too many Christians are willing to endorse political violence.
Maya King of the New York Times reported on a viral sermon by a Black preacher attacking U.S. Senate hopeful Herschel Walker (whose campaign has also been focused on church events).
Crux reported on the Catholic bishop in South Carolina urging Catholics to put their faith above party in midterm elections.
Peter Jamison of the Washington Post wrote about how the Christian home-school world shaped Maryland gubernatorial hopeful Dan Cox (whose Christian Nationalism was previously documented at A Public Witness).
Noah Berlatsky wrote at the Substack newsletter Public Notice about how some politicians and activists think they get to decide who is really Jewish.
Nicole Chavez of CNN reported on “the growing political influence of Latino evangelicals.”
Marcia Pally wrote for Commonweal about “how Christian ethics devolved into right-wing populism.”
Liam Adams of the Nashville Tennessean wrote about the impact of Christian Nationalism on politics in the state.
Eric Black of the Baptist Standard reported on the faculty at Hardin-Simmons University in Texas passing a vote of “no confidence” in the president.
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