Timely words from Gideon Strauss:
The political sentiments reported in polls like these suggest a dismal but unsurprising possibility: that very few American evangelical churches offer their members the opportunity of a discipleship that gives attention to the history of Christians over the past two millennia struggling to follow Jesus in their times and places.
Dismal because such a discipleship—alongside sacramentally-centered worship and Jesus-centered public proclamation of the good news of the reign of God—is what constitutes the life of a church.
Unsurprising because shallow and misguided discipleship is a persistent reality in the life of churches recorded already in the Acts of the Apostles and the letters of Paul and his fellow epistolators.
This possibility does not call for pride (in the superiority of my own political judgment), scorn (towards morally misguided evangelical voters), disgust (at the pandering polemics perpetrated by Messrs. Trump and Cruz), or despair (at the dismal state of discipleship in so many Christian congregations).
Instead, it calls for repentance (of my own arrogance), compassion (towards the many people bereft of congregations with a long memory of Christian discipleship), intercession (for the work of the Holy Spirit in the lives of all of America’s present and aspiring political officeholders), and catechetical resolve (to contribute to discipleship in those congregations where I am able to make a difference).
At depth the problem is not the politics of evangelicals or the nominalism of many self-identified Christians or the secularization of America in our times.
The problem is the perennial distraction of Christian churches from the core practices that make them churches, or perhaps more accurately, the distortion of these practices by personal, communal sins and cultural pressures.
As someone intimately familiar with the tremendous power of such sins and pressures, I also know what a grace it is to be exposed to the work of God in the celebration of baptism and the eucharist, in public prayers and worship songs, in preaching and communal Bible study, and in the dear and demanding friendship of fellow followers of Jesus.
You can read the whole thing here.