State of Evangelicalism

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State of Evangelicalism

Postby Dave Roberts » Tue Mar 13, 2018 10:46 am

One of my friends pointed me to a lengthy article from Michael Gerson, former speechwriter for President George W. Bush. This Wheaton grad gives us a lot to consider.

https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2018/04/the-last-temptation/554066/?utm_source=fbb
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Re: State of Evangelicalism

Postby Sandy » Sun Mar 18, 2018 10:06 am

Two of the best summative statements of the article.

Michael Gerson wrote: Fox News and conservative talk radio are vastly greater influences on evangelicals’ political identity than formal statements by religious denominations.


And neither of those sources operates from anything close to a "Biblical worldview" to coin a term popular among Evangelical conservatives.

Michael Gerson wrote:Evangelicals remain the most loyal element of the Trump coalition. They are broadly eager to act as his shield and sword. They are his army of enablers.
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Re: State of Evangelicalism

Postby Dave Roberts » Sun Mar 18, 2018 3:28 pm

Sandy wrote:Two of the best summative statements of the article.

Michael Gerson wrote: Fox News and conservative talk radio are vastly greater influences on evangelicals’ political identity than formal statements by religious denominations.


And neither of those sources operates from anything close to a "Biblical worldview" to coin a term popular among Evangelical conservatives.

Michael Gerson wrote:Evangelicals remain the most loyal element of the Trump coalition. They are broadly eager to act as his shield and sword. They are his army of enablers.

I agree, Sandy, but Gerson is a Republican and former speechwriter for President Bush 43.
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Re: State of Evangelicalism

Postby KeithE » Sun Mar 18, 2018 8:51 pm

Sandy wrote:Two of the best summative statements of the article.

Michael Gerson wrote: Fox News and conservative talk radio are vastly greater influences on evangelicals’ political identity than formal statements by religious denominations.


And neither of those sources operates from anything close to a "Biblical worldview" to coin a term popular among Evangelical conservatives.

Michael Gerson wrote:Evangelicals remain the most loyal element of the Trump coalition. They are broadly eager to act as his shield and sword. They are his army of enablers.


Agreed, many “evangelicals” are following the wrong leaders - politically for sure.

Buce Gourley’s initiative The JesusWorldview comes far closer to authentic Christianity than what has been called the “Biblical Worldview” among the Evangelical conservatives these days (e.g. thou shalt say the bible is inerrant [but ignore parts], thou shalt be against abortion [no where mentioned in bible], vote republican [no where mentioned in the bible], label LBGTQs as sinners [OK that’s in Paul and Leviticus but Jesus sided with the outcasts], be against the social gospel [which is abundantly part of Jesus ethic], be against “political liberals” [no where mentioned in bible], and above all go to a “bible believing church” every Sunday [to get your Pharisee/Teachers-of-the-Law fix], ...). If I seem extreme and unloving (I’m not really), what can get the attention of those stuck in the Evangelical tribe.

The JesusWorldview pays attention to the Social Gospel - Read Matthew 25:31-46.

31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. 34 Then othe King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you wgave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you zvisited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 40 And bthe King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers,6 you did it to me.’
41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ 44 Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’ 45 Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ 46 And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into leternal life.”

underline mine. Not saying the social gospel is the entire gospel - there is plenty about love of God, one-on-one personal relationships, and being led by the Holy Spirit - but helping others/society is a very key element of being a Jesus Follower.

We may have to change out the word Evangelical to Jesus Follower to get Christianity back on track.
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Re: State of Evangelicalism

Postby William Thornton » Mon Mar 19, 2018 5:19 am

https://www.getreligion.org/getreligion ... nald-trump

The mysterious, monolithic, mythical evangelical. Expand your reading bro.
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Re: State of Evangelicalism

Postby Dave Roberts » Mon Mar 19, 2018 6:35 am

William Thornton wrote:https://www.getreligion.org/getreligion/2018/3/17/that-michael-gerson-think-piece-how-many-evangelicals-got-hooked-by-donald-trump

The mysterious, monolithic, mythical evangelical. Expand your reading bro.


It may be, William, that we take our awareness from Fox News that constantly presents us with Robert Jeffers, Franklin Graham, and Jim Bakker as the evangelical representatives. Perhaps if they devoted more attention to other voices, evangelicals would not look so much like Gerson's portrait.
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Re: State of Evangelicalism

Postby KeithE » Mon Mar 19, 2018 6:44 am

William Thornton wrote:https://www.getreligion.org/getreligion/2018/3/17/that-michael-gerson-think-piece-how-many-evangelicals-got-hooked-by-donald-trump

The mysterious, monolithic, mythical evangelical. Expand your reading bro.


"White evangelicals” are not monolithic religiously that is for sure. But there is a tribe of them, politically. You appear to be part of that tribe.

This “bro” has expanded his reading - both the Terry Mattingly and the more pointed David French article (that Mattingly heavily leans on). It seems that many evangelicals feel oppressed because some people disagree with them. They feel that discrimination against them needs to be redressed and Trump is the man to do so. (If he does so, it is to garner their votes).

First I find it incredulous that white evangelicals feel discriminated against when in fact they are among the most accepted demographic in the USA.

The French article mentions Christians are barred from graduating from “100’s of colleges and universities", but gives no examples. I searched for Have christian students been kept from graduating and only found one case (many editorials to that one case circa May 25 , 2017); and that was an intramural (within evangelicalism) argument about whether a Christian school should allow an a 18 year-old pregnant girl to walk (some of evangelicals said she was good by not having an abortion and therefore should walk; some others felt like it would show approval of teen-age, unmarried sex).

William, perhaps you can find some examples of someone (HS or College) that has been barred from graduation due to his/her’s Christian beliefs. I’m sure professors have challenged some Christian viewpoints. I was challenged in my UW Philosophy of Religion Class (but my paper supporting Christianity got an A). And I did watch the fictional God is Not Dead movie. But mass amounts of students actually being barred from graduating? I’m from Missouri (metaphorically speaking); so “show me". I find these claims of persecution or discrimination of “white evangelicals” way overblown and only shows their insecurity.

Many "white evangelicals” don’t distinguish between being opposed and being persecuted. Slavery that was true persecution - their choice of occupation was taken away, their freedom of movement was restricted. Christians in the 1st, 2nd and some of he 3rd century that was persecution - they were thrown into prison, martyred. Anabaptists in the 15th century - they were burned at the stake by the Calvinists.

Just heard this line on Morning Joe. 'Our morals sensibilities have been over overshadowed by our partisan divides’ (single quotes mean approximate wording and I did not catch the gentleman who said that). The sector of the Church that supports the decidedly unChristian Trump, needs the rethink things.
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Re: State of Evangelicalism

Postby Dave Roberts » Mon Mar 19, 2018 8:31 am

William, I hope you have read "The End of White Christian America" which sheds a lot of light on the response of many white evangelical groups who can read the demographics and know we will soon be just one of many minorities among the American populace, a fact brought on as much by the shrinking white birth rate as by the challenging of Christianity. No wonder Al Mohler was advocating the "full quiver" theology a few years ago, until he was personally challenged for only having two children himself. We are in a new world, Bro, and we had better learn how to relate to this world and join forces with African-American and Hispanic Christian groups. I am on Jorge Zapta's facebook list of friends, and the expansion of Baptists and other Christians in the Rio Grande Valley is one rapidly changing the dynamics even of Baptists in Texas.
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Re: State of Evangelicalism

Postby ET » Mon Mar 19, 2018 9:21 am

William Thornton wrote:https://www.getreligion.org/getreligion/2018/3/17/that-michael-gerson-think-piece-how-many-evangelicals-got-hooked-by-donald-trump

The mysterious, monolithic, mythical evangelical. Expand your reading bro.

William, thanks for posting this. I read the Gerson piece and thought it made some good points. I've given the one your reference a cursory read and will go back and dig into it more along with the referenced David French article. Some Monday lunchtime reading. :)
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Re: State of Evangelicalism

Postby Sandy » Tue Mar 20, 2018 4:33 pm

The getreligion piece is an interesting perspective, though I notice many assertions without a lot of support. Upwards of 81% of white Evangelicals who voted supported Trump, but the white Evangelical vote was down, by right at 10%, in 2016. The small shift of blue collar workers who moved to Trump in 2016 was countered by suburban, college educated women who moved to Hillary. He couldn't have won without white Evangelical support, and that support justifies the criticism of their sincerity and credibility. In every way.
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Re: State of Evangelicalism

Postby ET » Wed Mar 21, 2018 12:36 pm

Sandy wrote:The getreligion piece is an interesting perspective, though I notice many assertions without a lot of support. Upwards of 81% of white Evangelicals who voted supported Trump, but the white Evangelical vote was down, by right at 10%, in 2016. The small shift of blue collar workers who moved to Trump in 2016 was countered by suburban, college educated women who moved to Hillary. He couldn't have won without white Evangelical support, and that support justifies the criticism of their sincerity and credibility. In every way.

The problem I see with that argument is that it does not take into account how Americans elect their president. We don't do it - thankfully - by popular vote across the whole nation whereby we are all ruled by the fads and whims of Californians and New Yorkers.

I'd argue Trump won because enough blue-collar voters in Wisconsin and Michigan voted for Trump, not because a bunch of evangelicals didn't abandon the Republican nominee. Given the makeup of the states that Trump won outside of those two states, it would be interesting to know just what percentage of "evangelicals' would have had to abandon Trump for him to lose if Wisconsin and Michigan had still gone his way.

Of course, the one question I rarely see addressed is this: What did you expect (white) evangelicals to do? If they didn't vote for Trump, did you expect them to vote for Hillary? Vote for a third party? Not vote?

I can understand why many/most of my fellow (white) evangelicals voted for Trump. What bothers me is the effort folks like Jeffress, Falwell Jr and others put into defending the guy. I won't soon forget someone posting on FB about the nasty attacks that have been launched at Trump since he got into office and attempting to throw out some Bible verse defending him or explaining why he was being attacked. My response was, "Really? I think the Law of the Harvest is in play. He is reaping what he has sown. Trump laid waste to the political landscape with his rhetorical flamethrower during the election, and now you want to complain that people are being mean to him?"
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Re: State of Evangelicalism

Postby Dave Roberts » Wed Mar 21, 2018 1:37 pm

ET wrote:
I can understand why many/most of my fellow (white) evangelicals voted for Trump. What bothers me is the effort folks like Jeffress, Falwell Jr and others put into defending the guy. I won't soon forget someone posting on FB about the nasty attacks that have been launched at Trump since he got into office and attempting to throw out some Bible verse defending him or explaining why he was being attacked. My response was, "Really? I think the Law of the Harvest is in play. He is reaping what he has sown. Trump laid waste to the political landscape with his rhetorical flamethrower during the election, and now you want to complain that people are being mean to him?"


ET, you are being far more perceptive than most conservatives from whom I have heard to acknowledge the role of Trump in stirring the very fires by which he keeps getting burned.
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Re: State of Evangelicalism

Postby Sandy » Wed Mar 21, 2018 9:07 pm

ET wrote:The problem I see with that argument is that it does not take into account how Americans elect their president. We don't do it - thankfully - by popular vote across the whole nation whereby we are all ruled by the fads and whims of Californians and New Yorkers.

I'd argue Trump won because enough blue-collar voters in Wisconsin and Michigan voted for Trump, not because a bunch of evangelicals didn't abandon the Republican nominee. Given the makeup of the states that Trump won outside of those two states, it would be interesting to know just what percentage of "evangelicals' would have had to abandon Trump for him to lose if Wisconsin and Michigan had still gone his way.

Of course, the one question I rarely see addressed is this: What did you expect (white) evangelicals to do? If they didn't vote for Trump, did you expect them to vote for Hillary? Vote for a third party? Not vote?

I can understand why many/most of my fellow (white) evangelicals voted for Trump. What bothers me is the effort folks like Jeffress, Falwell Jr and others put into defending the guy. I won't soon forget someone posting on FB about the nasty attacks that have been launched at Trump since he got into office and attempting to throw out some Bible verse defending him or explaining why he was being attacked. My response was, "Really? I think the Law of the Harvest is in play. He is reaping what he has sown. Trump laid waste to the political landscape with his rhetorical flamethrower during the election, and now you want to complain that people are being mean to him?"


The Electoral College only creates a situation in which the votes of some count more than the votes of others. It is an undemocratic abberation of American politics that came out of a murky blend of anti-royalist sentiment and the support for slavery. The fact that the most recent anomalies in popular vote vs electoral vote have taken place in the 21st century, and the discrepancies in the numbers, especially Clinton's 3 million vote win, are clear demonstrations of its subversion of the "will of the people." But it has no bearing on the effect of the "Evangelical vote". The blue collar/working class vote swing in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania wasn't quite 1% of the vote, and he won those states by a fraction of a percent of the vote. So the evangelical percentages were key in all three of them.

Jeffress, Falwell, Franklin Graham, and other evangelical leaders who keep having to re-interpret the Bible's definition of "sin" to continue showing a happy faced approach to support for Trump are only reflecting their constituents, on whom they are dependent for their own personal wealth. The politically active conservative Evangelical movement has no real policy foundation except opposition to the Roe decision, and to legal recognition of same-gender marriage. Everything else they endorse politically sacrifices core Christian principles and replaces them with Republican policy, so they wind up being opposed to things that can be characterized as helping the poor, advocating for basic human rights, peace, and equality of treatment. The criticism of their abandonment of these core principles of Christian faith is legitimate. The other foundational principle on which their political movement was built was the importance of the character, integrity and faith of the individual politician. They were consistent and unrelenting in this when it came to Bill Clinton. They have thrown it out completely when it comes to Trump. These guys see themselves as leaders, and their actions reflect what they think their constituents, who pay their bills for them, will approve.

I think the Democrats, and Hillary included in that, offer more in terms of policy that is compatible with Christian values, than the Republicans and Trump even come close to offering. Yeah, they're not going to push to overturn Roe, but then, the Republicans really haven't done a lot there, either. And they are going to extend civil rights to all Americans regardless of their sexual orientation, but those same protections also apply to race and gender, and I don't believe God holds specific Christian leaders, or the church in general, or even the whole country, accountable for giving freedom to everyone in all things. They're responsible for their choices, not the country or its politicians. The US doesn't have a covenant relationship with God. Hillary did get 19% of the white, evangelical vote, and she also got a much higher percentage of the Latino and African American Evangelical vote. It's a political choice, not a spiritual one.
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Re: State of Evangelicalism

Postby ET » Thu Mar 22, 2018 11:45 am

Sandy wrote:The Electoral College only creates a situation in which the votes of some count more than the votes of others. It is an undemocratic abberation of American politics that came out of a murky blend of anti-royalist sentiment and the support for slavery. The fact that the most recent anomalies in popular vote vs electoral vote have taken place in the 21st century, and the discrepancies in the numbers, especially Clinton's 3 million vote win, are clear demonstrations of its subversion of the "will of the people."

By your definition the Senate is undemocratic, some votes count more than others and also thwarts the "will of the people". I suppose it should be abolished on those grounds, also. Why should the folks in Vermont hold as much power in a branch of government as the folks in New York?

Around 3/4ths of Hillary's popular vote win was due to voters in the People's Republic of California, so long live the electoral college. If not for it, voters in NH, WY, RI, ND and other small states would probably never lay eyes on presidential candidates. Why would they even bother?

As for "giving freedom to everyone for all things", does that extend to florist, bakers, photographers and others to not participate in something if they do not want to?
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Re: State of Evangelicalism

Postby Sandy » Thu Mar 22, 2018 4:10 pm

ET wrote:
Sandy wrote:The Electoral College only creates a situation in which the votes of some count more than the votes of others. It is an undemocratic abberation of American politics that came out of a murky blend of anti-royalist sentiment and the support for slavery. The fact that the most recent anomalies in popular vote vs electoral vote have taken place in the 21st century, and the discrepancies in the numbers, especially Clinton's 3 million vote win, are clear demonstrations of its subversion of the "will of the people."

By your definition the Senate is undemocratic, some votes count more than others and also thwarts the "will of the people". I suppose it should be abolished on those grounds, also. Why should the folks in Vermont hold as much power in a branch of government as the folks in New York?

Around 3/4ths of Hillary's popular vote win was due to voters in the People's Republic of California, so long live the electoral college. If not for it, voters in NH, WY, RI, ND and other small states would probably never lay eyes on presidential candidates. Why would they even bother?

As for "giving freedom to everyone for all things", does that extend to florist, bakers, photographers and others to not participate in something if they do not want to?


The senate is one branch of three, in a balance of power. Nothing "undemocratic" about it since the balance also extends to Vermont getting one representative in the house, and California getting 52.

Hillary didn't extend the percentage or number of votes for the Democratic candidate in California or New York, or in any of the traditionally Democratic states. She did increase Obama's totals, and made races narrower than 2012 in Texas, by almost a million votes, in places in the west like Nevada, Arizona and Colorado, across the south, particularly Georgia and North Carolina, and in Virginia.

Candidates never laid eyes on Wyoming, Rhode Island or North Dakota. Because of the Electoral college, they are worthless, in terms of vote total, and they are predictably one party or the other. Eighty percent of the campaign took place in Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania. Nevada, Colorado, North Carolina, Virginia and Michigan got some attention. But in spite of their political position, people in California, New York and New England are just as equally entitled to have a voice in a national election as those in Texas, Alabama or West Virginia. That's where most of the people live, and that's where most of the vote comes from, so that's how it should be counted. Or perhaps we could adopt a Republican principle, and count states votes by the economic contribution they make. That would double California's influence. We do not use a similar method in any other election, for any other office, which is the best evidence by far to show that the principles that created the electoral college are long outdated and it is long overdue for being abolished.

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Re: State of Evangelicalism

Postby Rvaughn » Thu Mar 22, 2018 7:43 pm

Dave Roberts wrote:It may be, William, that we take our awareness from Fox News that constantly presents us with Robert Jeffers, Franklin Graham, and Jim Bakker as the evangelical representatives. Perhaps if they devoted more attention to other voices, evangelicals would not look so much like Gerson's portrait.
I guess I'm not watching Fox News enough. I thought Jim Bakker had gone the way of the Dodo Bird! :o
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Re: State of Evangelicalism

Postby Sandy » Thu Mar 22, 2018 8:56 pm

Dave Roberts wrote:It may be, William, that we take our awareness from Fox News that constantly presents us with Robert Jeffers, Franklin Graham, and Jim Bakker as the evangelical representatives. Perhaps if they devoted more attention to other voices, evangelicals would not look so much like Gerson's portrait.


Here's the latest from Bakker.

http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing- ... vil-war-if

The very fact that this man has any credibility with Christians at all is detrimental to the reputation of the church.

The Hill wrote:He also warned that Christians are in danger of losing their voice in American society.


They aren't in danger of losing their voice because of some left wing government conspiracy to take it away. They are in danger of losing it because those who are touted as leaders are mostly scammers interested in how much money they can bag. Bakker is on his second go-round of fleecing the flock. It is difficult to hear the gospel through all of the mixed messages. What kind of beliefs do people have who can be duped by scammers like Bakker?
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Re: State of Evangelicalism

Postby Dave Roberts » Fri Mar 23, 2018 9:20 am

Sandy wrote:
The Hill wrote:He also warned that Christians are in danger of losing their voice in American society.


They aren't in danger of losing their voice because of some left wing government conspiracy to take it away. They are in danger of losing it because those who are touted as leaders are mostly scammers interested in how much money they can bag. Bakker is on his second go-round of fleecing the flock. It is difficult to hear the gospel through all of the mixed messages. What kind of beliefs do people have who can be duped by scammers like Bakker?


The very existence of these voices may be a powerful indictment of the church in that we have done such a poor job teaching basic theology to the people in the pews. People who get little or no theology in what they receive will fall inevitably for bad theology from the prosperity gospel. Don't hear much from them about Paul in prison, do you?
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Re: State of Evangelicalism

Postby William Thornton » Fri Mar 23, 2018 4:03 pm

I have never known ANYONE who has the slightest interest in or appreciation of Bakker. Waste of time to bring that charlatan up here.
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Re: State of Evangelicalism

Postby Dave Roberts » Fri Mar 23, 2018 5:38 pm

William Thornton wrote:I have never known ANYONE who has the slightest interest in or appreciation of Bakker. Waste of time to bring that charlatan up here.


The sad reality is that he is back on "Christian Television" getting money from folks, probably in our churches.
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Re: State of Evangelicalism

Postby JE Pettibone » Fri Mar 23, 2018 7:18 pm

Ed: Uh Sandy; The Senate is a part of one of the three branches of American Government, The Legislative. The other two parts are the Executive and the Judaical.
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Re: State of Evangelicalism

Postby Sandy » Fri Mar 23, 2018 7:32 pm

JE Pettibone wrote:Ed: Uh Sandy; The Senate is a part of one of the three branches of American Government, The Legislative. The other two parts are the Executive and the Judaical.


Duly noted and corrected. Some kind of Freudian slip, or just being sixty.
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Re: State of Evangelicalism

Postby Sandy » Fri Mar 23, 2018 7:37 pm

Dave Roberts wrote:
William Thornton wrote:I have never known ANYONE who has the slightest interest in or appreciation of Bakker. Waste of time to bring that charlatan up here.


The sad reality is that he is back on "Christian Television" getting money from folks, probably in our churches.


He sells books, gets preaching engagements and is sometimes cited as an "Evangelical" expert. There are people who don't believe any of what happened, claiming it's a devil's deception.
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