I grew up with a similar evangelical background. Recently, I have decided to go one step further and become ex-evangelical. No, I have not denied the Messiah. But this group of evangelical churches has proven both in history and present day that it is NOT representative of the true faith of the Sacred Scriptures. Indeed, it seems we have done the very OPPOSITE of Yahweh´s commands to love Him wholeheartedly and love our neighbours.
For example, the Catholics persecuted the Protestants when they broke off from the main flock. Then the Protestants persecuted the Anabaptists. And they all came over to the New World and slaughtered millions of indigenous peoples. After, they/we marginalised these same people until this day, taking the best land and leaving the table scraps (which are now being sought for the ground´s oil and minerals a la Avatar-style). Then, we kidnapped aboriginal kids from their families and communities and placed them in residential schools where their culture, language and humanity was beaten out of them.
And recently, the US has put up with 8 years of rule under the godless and cruel taskmaster Dick Cheney with his puppet spokesman George Bush Jr. And Canada is suffering under years of Stephen Harper and the Conservatives now. Both Republicans and Conservatives in the respective countries were largely supported by evangelicals, many of whom blindly follow their leaders who decided that ruling churches, denominations and parachurch organisations is not enough.
Not enough power: they want to rule the country and call the shots, all in the name of Christ. Well, their Christ is not the Messiah of the Bible. They have turned the Prince of Peace into the Prince of War. Militarism, oppression of the poor, fanatical nationalism, discrimination against Muslims, atheists and other groups, the worship of Mammon, all these things are proof that this religion has turned into one non-stop Woodstock festival of godlessness. We fulfill Romans 1 and especially Romans 2. Jeremiah, Isaiah, Amos, Peter, Jude, John on Patmos Island, etc. are all pointing their fingers at us. The name of Yahweh is blasphemed among the nations because of us.
What we need to do is drop out of this corrupt system, and first purge ourselves from the deceit of the Matrix. Then form groups in homes, restaurants, coffee shops, office buildings and parks where we can seek the true God of the Scriptures, and love the widow and orphan in their distress. Love the single parents in our communities. Love the bullied homosexual students. Love the dropouts of society. Love Muslims and tell them that we don´t believe the hype that they are all terrorists.
Love First Nations/Native Americans and restore justice in this land, getting out of their way so that they can rebuild healthy communities, families and individuals. Love atheists and thank them for pointing out where we´ve gone wrong, especially on the social and political plain. Love even the misguided corporate hacks who desperately need an alternative to the love of money and power. Love our neighbours as ourselves as we turn again to the true Lord of heaven and earth who revealed his love, power and freedom through His Son and the One who will liberate the poor, broken and misguided people of our society, including ourselves.
Young people (and older ones too), don´t ever think you can reform this beast of evangelicalism. It won´t reform. This old dog won´t learn new tricks. But dropping out completely is not the answer. You need to reform your own hearts first, then build new communities of faith outside the bounds of Christendom. We need a new brand of Messiah-followers who will stand against injustice. We need multiple communities of Scripture-doers all over Turtle Island (an aboriginal term for North America; just look at the map). Drop out and re-form. What will this new religion that is de-Constantine-ised look like? Only you can tell us the answer.
There is a true Messiah, there are true Sacred Scriptures needing to be fleshed out in a dark world. Problem is, we have hardly seen it for 1800 years. Let´s rise up and build a lasting structure on the Rock, Yeshua, and leave the houses on sand to get wiped out by the waves and wind by themselves. Rise up and seize this historic moment, not to make a name for yourselves or your groups, but to re-dignify the name of Messiah, who has been blasphemed! Rise up and take your place in history! Rise up and be whom you were created to be! Rise up and bring Isaiah 61 back to Turtle Island and its suffering people:
“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me,
Because the Lord has anointed Me
To preach good tidings to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives,
And the opening of the prison to those who are bound;
2 To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord,
And the day of vengeance of our God;
To comfort all who mourn,
3 To console those who mourn in Zion,
To give them beauty for ashes,
The oil of joy for mourning,
The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness;
That they may be called trees of righteousness,
The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.”
4 And they shall rebuild the old ruins,
They shall raise up the former desolations,
And they shall repair the ruined cities,
The desolations of many generations.
5 Strangers shall stand and feed your flocks,
And the sons of the foreigner
Shall be your plowmen and your vinedressers.
6 But you shall be named the priests of the Lord,
They shall call you the servants of our God.
You shall eat the riches of the Gentiles,
And in their glory you shall boast.
7 Instead of your shame you shall have double honor,
And instead of confusion they shall rejoice in their portion.
Therefore in their land they shall possess double;
Everlasting joy shall be theirs.
8 “For I, the Lord, love justice;
I hate robbery for burnt offering;
I will direct their work in truth,
And will make with them an everlasting covenant.
9 Their descendants shall be known among the Gentiles,
And their offspring among the people.
All who see them shall acknowledge them,
That they are the posterity whom the Lord has blessed.”
– Isaiah 61: 1 – 8 NKJV