Some conservative Christian leaders proceed to blast Kristen Kobes Du Mez for writing Jesus and John Wayne: How White Evangelicals Corrupted a Religion and Fractured a Nation, the Calvin College historian stated throughout a latest webinar on evangelicalism within the U.S.
Her 2020 e book paperwork white evangelical efforts to substitute the compassionate Jesus of the New Testomony with a ruggedly masculine and Christian nationalist Savior.
“What’s discouraging is that many of the pushback from sure evangelical leaders or teachers has not engaged my e book as a piece of scholarship, however have been makes an attempt to discredit me, personally, or to write down off the e book,” Du Mez stated throughout the Jan. 22 episode of the “Theology Lab” webinar collection hosted by Highrock Covenant Church in Arlington, Mass.
She added that many of the assaults have come within the type of photographs taken at her on social media. “I anticipated extra engagement of my e book as a piece of scholarship however acquired virtually none of that.”
However Du Mez, who’s a member of the Christian Reformed Church, stated the negativity she has endured pales compared to the constructive responses she has acquired from particular person Christians and clergy.
“Much less seen are the tons of and 1000’s of evangelical laypeople and pastors — together with many white evangelical, complementarian males — who’ve engaged my work with integrity and openness. As a historian, you can not ask for extra,” she stated. “The hits I take are a tiny proportion of the responses I get. Day-after-day I get letters of affirmation.”
Becoming a member of Du Mez within the dialogue was Walter Kim, president of the Nationwide Affiliation of Evangelicals, who stated the pushback towards the e book might derive partially from its critique of fashionable American figures — like John Wayne — who embody the tough-guy traits many evangelicals need to instill in Jesus.
“Evangelicalism, like each cultural motion, wants its heroes,” he stated. “One thing deeply difficult is going on on this work as a result of these heroes are being taken down a notch.”
However the hostility geared toward Du Mez and her e book is ironic coming from evangelicals whose Bible is replete with imperfect, damaged heroes who’re redeemed by God, Kim stated. “That turns into a mandate and we as evangelicals should be the quickest to be self-critical, and I believe this can be a failure.”
“We simply don’t like really being sinners.”
The e book additionally faucets into the discomfort evangelicals really feel when confronted with the sin of their very own motion, Kim stated. “We simply don’t like really being sinners. We will say abstractly that we’re, however when confronted with a sin we need to repudiate it, and I believe evangelicalism is experiencing that.”
Du Mez added that many evangelical leaders have misunderstood the tutorial nature of Jesus and John Wayne. “The pushback is on these theological factors as a result of they’re seeing the e book as theology fairly than historical past.”
Many evangelicals even have been confused by a false dichotomy between fashionable ideas of masculinity and the character and persona of Jesus, she stated. “Meekness and compassion shouldn’t be confused with weak point.”
But white evangelical tradition now believes that “meekness is weak point and female, and that compassion is for women,” she added. “You want aggression to combat for the reality. It’s that separation that has executed a lot hurt to the Christian witness.”
Du Mez learn aloud the fruits of the Spirit offered in Scripture, reminiscent of love, peace, kindness and gentleness. “These sound fairly female when you think about the trendy constructs of this rugged masculinity,” she quipped.
The non secular consequence of that disconnect is to drive a wedge between evangelicals and Jesus, Du Mez stated. “Celebrating a warrior Christ” cuts them off “from the entire Christ of the New Testomony.”
Evangelicals fixated on a rugged idea of Jesus are additionally introducing a stark dichotomy between genders that isn’t supported by the Bible, Kim stated.
“Within the Scriptures, variations (between female and male) are inbuilt, however that doesn’t essentially imply they’re oppositional. They are often complimentary. If a gendered method of taking a look at issues have been so vital, it will be commanded.”
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