So where do we stand as traditional orthodox Christians? Too many stories for and against are surrounding these matters to grant a helpful strategic clarity on the ground. However, this is how the culture war is going to be fought in most hearts and minds: with sound bites and narratives. Evangelicals must realize this and steel themselves for the years ahead. That requires intellectual discipline and a firm will. As always, the best thing to do is find the Truth, follow Him, stand with Him, and—in the end—unite with Him.
As I mentioned yesterday, story matters. In fact, it matters so much, it can overwhelm and hide the facts of the case so as to harm one party and benefit another. An example resides in a recent article by Politico which asserts that young evangelicals are giving up their convictions on marriage. The article posits that Millennial evangelicals are starting to adopt same-sex marriage as compatible with Christian teaching. There, one finds mention of a Pew study regarding attitudes toward marriage.
First of all, a new and more in-depth study by Mark Regnerus undercutsPolitico‘s use of the Pew research. As Russell Moore and Andrew Walker point out, “[O]nly 11 percent of young Evangelicals actively expressed support for same-sex marriage.” In other words, the actual sexual ethic of young evangelicals proper isn’t going anywhere. What is changing is the rest of culture and–by extension–how Millennial evangelicals are going to deal with that conflict.
The story also cites examples of cultural retreat from evangelical leaders and cites Matthew Vines as the shining champion of evangelical acceptance of the LGBT agenda. The author, Jim Hinch, seems to believe that the Presbyterian Church, USA counts as an evangelical denomination. Oddly, one of the article’s subjects, Amy Tincher, leaves a United Methodist congregation to join the United Church of Christ (which is notorious for its plummeting membership). These are all Protestant Mainline denominations rather than the usual traditions that fall under the Bebbington quadrilateral. The UCC as well as liberal United Methodists and Presbyterians reject biblicism, crucicentrism, and conversionism; and thus hardly qualify as evangelical. Denny Burk commented on this a couple days ago.
Since the story is in Politico, we can conclude that it is targeted at the political class. The article is telling representatives, staff, and others that the strongest and firmest constituency for traditional marriage is abandoning its post. This signifies to political leaders that, in order to get elected, they need to get with the same-sex marriage program. In other words, this is a false narrative that dissuades magistrates from the pursuit of the common good.