“Yes, I am a Christian, just like those over there”

Published January 27, 2023

WORLD Opinions

There are a number of ways to look at the current divisions that are emerging in traditional Protestant and evangelical circles in the United States. The old fault line between those who affirm and those who deny the reality of the supernatural—the line that marked the old liberal-fundamentalist divide of the early 20th century—is not particularly helpful, given that the most significant debates do not focus on that particular kind of issue. Rather, other buzzwords—Donald Trump, abortion, gender, sexuality, Christian nationalism, social justice, critical race theory—reflect the points of contention.

Protestants thought they owned the USA. They no longer do, and they are struggling to adapt to this new reality where they still think their voices count but how to make them count is not clear. Thus, one way to understand our divisions is as a set of conflicting responses to our new social order.

Another way, however, is to see what is happening as the exposure of a class division, long latent but now increasingly clear. It has been interesting to see the muted response in some evangelical quarters to the Dobbs decision.

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Carl R. Trueman is a fellow in EPPC’s Evangelicals in Civic Life Program, where his work focuses on helping civic leaders and policy makers better understand the deep roots of our current cultural malaise. In addition to his scholarship on the intellectual foundations of expressive individualism and the sexual revolution, Trueman is also interested in the origins, rise, and current use of critical theory by progressives. He serves as a professor at Grove City College.

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