Sunday, March 06, 2016

Another Surprising Development

(Photo from
Donald Trump's march towards the Republican nomination has perplexed pundits, party leaders, and preachers.

How can religious conservatives support someone who is so unlike "evangelical" Christians?
The professed Presbyterian referred to the sacramental bread as "my little cracker" during a meeting with conservative Christian leaders last year; more recently, he tried to put money in an Iowa church's communion plate ahead of the state caucus.
One of the problems with the "baseline premise of political analysis" that Republicans and religion go hand-in-hand is that there's no commonly accepted definition of evangelical. For example Barna Group religious researchers have a nine-point definition [numbers inserted for clarity]:
“Born again Christians" are defined as people who said they have made a (1) personal commitment to Jesus Christ that is still important in their life today and who also indicated they believe that (2) when they die they will go to Heaven because they had confessed their sins and had accepted Jesus Christ as their savior. Respondents are not asked to describe themselves as "born again."

“Evangelicals" meet the born again criteria (described above) plus seven other conditions. Those include (3) saying their faith is very important in their life today; (4) believing they have a personal responsibility to share their religious beliefs about Christ with non-Christians; (5) believing that Satan exists; (6) believing that eternal salvation is possible only through grace, not works; (7) believing that Jesus Christ lived a sinless life on earth; (8) asserting that the Bible is accurate in all that it teaches; and (9) describing God as the all-knowing, all-powerful, perfect deity who created the universe and still rules it today.
Using Barna's definition, only 8% of Americans are evangelical. If accurate, evangelicals' importance to the Republican nomination is much less important, another surprising development in a very surprising election year.

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