Many atheists, humanists, and progressives look at the declining attendance numbers for Evangelical churches and wrongly conclude that Evangelicalism as a movement is dying. Numerically, Evangelicalism is dying, as an increasing number of younger adults exit stage left never to be seen again. As baby boomers continue to die off, their numbers are not being replaced by younger people. Instead, more and more people in their 20s and 30s are self-identifying as atheists, agnostics, or nones (people who are indifferent towards organized religion). Based on the sheer volume of articles I see on this subject from Evangelical “experts,” it is clear that churches and pastors are alarmed over attendance losses.
If we wait long enough, Evangelicalism will die from self-inflicted wounds. Unable to leave off their penchant for waging war on people different from their tribe, there will come a day when Evangelicalism as we know it will no longer exist. However, by then the damage caused by these Evangelical culture warriors, along with their Catholic and Mormon compatriots, will be irreversible. Evangelicals have traded piety, holiness, and commitment to preaching the gospel for raw, naked political power. Evangelicals are the power and money behind Trumpism, Qanon, 1/6 Insurrection, and countless attempts to destroy sixty years of social progress. The goal is to return the United States to the 1950s.
Evangelicals harnessed incrementalism to advance their agenda This fact is aptly illustrated in their frontal assault on reproductive rights. It is widely believed by conservatives and liberals alike that the Supreme Court will soon reverse Roe v. Wade, giving states the right to totally outlaw abortion. This outcome was birthed forty years ago when Jerry Falwell and Paul Wyrich started the Moral Majority. Year by year, Evangelicals chipped away at reproductive rights, using an incrementalist approach to strip women of their right to choose.
Next on the Evangelical agenda are issues such as legally recognizing fertilized human eggs as persons, outlawing same-sex marriage, banning interracial marriage, criminalizing homosexuality, and a host of other culture war hot button issues. Who do you think is behind the outrage over LGBTQ-friendly books in schools, critical race theory, Disney, and socialism? Evangelicals, that’s who. No longer believing there is a separation between church and state, Evangelicals, if left to their own devices, fully intend to establish a Christian theocratic state. Your Evangelical neighbors might be friendly, smile when they see you, and seem to all around nice people, but make no mistake about it, behind closed doors and at church on Sundays, they shout hallelujah and amen when their preachers call on them to take back America for the Christian God.
I was born in 1957, an era drastically different from today. Evangelicals look at the 50s and sigh, wistfully wanting a return to the “good old days.” Knowing they currently control the levers of power, Evangelicals are working tirelessly to return us to the days when President Dwight Eisenhower and the U.S. Congress added “under God” to the Pledge of Allegiance and put “In God We Trust” on our money. And make no mistake about it, this “God” is the Christian God of the Bible.
I grew up in a world where there was one God — the Christian God — homosexuality, abortion, and birth control were illegal, LGBTQ people were deeply closeted, Blacks knew their place, and the only thing Mexicans were good for was picking our crops. Christian morals and ethics were expected and demanded. School days began with the Pledge of Allegiance, Christian prayer, and readings from the Protestant Christian Bible. Patriarchalism and complementarianism were the norms. Divorce, sex before marriage, and pregnancy outside of marriage were frowned upon. This is the world Evangelicals want to return to.
It remains to be seen whether the Evangelical horde at the gate can be repelled. I am not optimistic. Liberals and progressives seem clueless about the real and present danger we face from Evangelicals. Our constitutional republic is weak, if not failing. Evangelicals know this and are using this weakness to advance their theocratic agenda. Their goal is Jesus on the throne in Washington D.C. and the Bible as the lawbook of the land. And when this happens, freedom is lost and people die.
Bruce Gerencser, 65, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 44 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.
In recent years, it has become fashionable to blame Baby Boomers, those born between 1946 and 1964, for every perceived American social and moral ill. According to Larry Tomczak, the blame for the legalization of same-sex marriage belongs to the ‘Summer of Love’ generation. In a post titled 6 Lies from the Pit of Hell, Tomczak traces the moral decline of the United States from the drug using, free sex days of the 1960’s to the recent U.S. Supreme decision legalizing same-sex marriage. Tomczak, a one time associate of C.J. Mahaney and Sovereign Grace Ministries, writes:
…Beginning with the shocking assassination of President Kennedy in the ’60s, a flickering of Camelot–inspired hope was extinguished. Prayer and Bible reading were banned from our public schools and the “God is dead” pronouncement of 1966 fostered an era of skepticism and cynicism bleeding through our land.
It’s not like there was one defining event that triggered our current confusion, but when the turbulent 24 months of ’67 and ’68 erupted on the scene, clues emerge. Cultural analysts call this a “tipping point.”
The year 1967 was dubbed, “Summer of Love.” Scores of us naïve youth fell in line behind pied piper Scott McKenzie as we grabbed our knucklehead buddies and love beads and swayed with the wind all the way to San Francisco. Do you remember the song? “Are you going to San Francisco? You’re going to meet some gentle people there. … ” It almost moves you to put some flowers in your hair!
Millions of us idealistic young people and our counterpart “hippies” believed we were ushering in the long–awaited “Age of Aquarius” with all our peace symbols, free love and free speech. American psychologist Timothy Leary, took LSD and told us, “Turn on, tune in and drop out.” Seduced by our foolishness we declared, “Never trust anyone over 30!” while Pete Townshend and the Who exclaimed, “Hope I die before I get old!” (He’s now 70 and still cashing in on his musical career!). Soon thereafter, hundreds of thousands were sloshing in the mud at the Woodstock Festival—can you believe it’s been almost 50 years?
Jim Morrison, lead singer of the Doors, was my idol as I was a drummer in The Lost Souls. His moronic philosophy: “I’m interested in anything about revolt, disorder, chaos, especially activities that appear to have no meaning. It seems to me to be the road to freedom! ”
Slowly but surely, years of “freedom” took its toll. Time magazine called 1968, “A knife blade that severed past from the future.”
Casting off restraints to protest and launch the Gay, Women’s and Black Power Movements, the Sexual Revolution and the Drug Counterculture, we soon morphed into meltdown. The Civil Rights Movement was one positive initiative.
Pop idols Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix and Jim Morrison all were dead at age 27—overdosing on drugs, sex and unrestrained freedom. AIDS (GRID – Gay-Related Immune Deficiency, as it was called) followed. Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr. were assassinated. Student riots paralyzed Chicago. The Altamont Rock Festival degenerated into murderous mayhem right before Mick Jagger’s bloodshot eyes. Kent State University erupted in campus shootings over the still-simmering Vietnam War. Hippie communities and gay bathhouses started folding like houses of cards as Barry McGuire sang “Eve of Destruction.”
Abortion demands intensified as all the “Make love—not war” mantras spawned unwanted babies. Soon abortion was legalized.
Divorce laws were liberalized (today 80% of divorces are “no fault,” translating into 45 million divorces since the end of the ’60s!) Sexual standards evaporated and resulted in rampant pornography, skyrocketing out-of-wedlock births, one in every four teens strapped with a sexually transmitted disease, drug abuse, school violence, teen suicide, spousal and child abuse, violent crime, prison overpopulation, sexual anarchy, gender confusion, glamorizing and promotion of homosexuality, lesbianism, bisexuality, and transgenderism with gender reassignment surgeries. All of this proliferating since the now infamous “Summer of Love” soured to a stench…
Multitudes of people need a reality check to bring them out of a sentimental yet distorted remembrance of this period. We must remove the romantic recollections of this turbulent ’60s era. In contrast to PBS nostalgic specials highlighting the supposed peaceful and musical ’60s time period, we need to come down to earth and recognize the devastation that resulted. This was not a time that was all groovy, lovey, peaceful with flowing-hair, girls in granny dresses twirling in the park amid syrupy-faced guys with tambourines and doves flying around their heads as they harmonized in childlike unity, singing “Kum ba ya” and playing flutes while innocently getting high. This is a fantasy that needs to be shattered immediately…
Like many of his ilk, Tomszak pines for a return to the 1950’s; a time when Negroes knew their place, abortion and birth control was illegal, sodomites were still in the back of the closet, women stayed at home, divorce was rare, and Christianity ruled the land, In Tomczak’s mind, everything began to go downhill when God was thrown out of the public schools and hippies spent all their time smoking dope and screwing.
Premarital, extramarital and traditionally abnormal sex are moral and healthy.
There should be no sanctity of human life in law.
Drug use makes great recreational sport.
Divorce offers an easy escape from marriage.
Marriage should be redefined to include same-sex unions.
God is dead—at least make it appear that way by systematically airbrushing Him from society.
In typical Evangelical fashion, Tomczak shows he has no understanding of what those outside of his cult believe. He also assumes that the only legitimate standard of morality is his fundamentalist interpretation of the Christian Bible. Using Tomczak’s infallible moral standard, premarital, extramarital, and homosexual sex become abnormal, immoral, and unhealthy. An unwillingness to believe life begins at conception means that you believe human life has no value and should not be legally protected.
I don’t know many people who think that drug use is a “great recreational sport” or that divorce “offers an easy escape from marriage.” Do some people treat drug use as a recreational sport? Sure, but I have yet to see anyone suggesting we start the ADUL, the American Drug Use League. Long before the ‘summer of love’, humans were using drugs, legal and illegal, to alter their mood or emotional state. 2,000 years ago, Jesus turned water into wine. Unless Tomczak thinks Jesus turned the water into Welch’s grape juice, the wine provided by Jesus at the Wedding at Cana, was a mood altering drug.
And when it comes to divorce, what is really behind Tomczak’s objection to an “easy escape from marriage?” Is it because divorce is forbidden by the Bible or is the real reason women are now able to free themselves from abusive men? Perhaps the real issue is uppity women who dare to think they should be treated equally. Kick them shoes off, clean the house, cook supper, and have lots of little Christians, ladies! That’s your calling. Leave the hard work to men like Larry Tomczak.
The real reason men like Tomczak rage against liberalism and secularism is because they no longer have a preferred seat at the cultural table. They are upset that progress has moved the United States beyond the zenith of Evangelicalism, the 1950’s, when In (Christian) God we Trust was added to our paper money and allegiance to the Christian God was added to the Pledge of Allegiance. More and more Americans are indifferent or hostile towards Christianity and this has Evangelicals looking for someone to blame. For Tomczak, the blame rests squarely on the shoulders of long-haired tie-dyed wearing hippies.
Three things are essential for us to see societal transformation.
1. We must recognize the gravity of the situation.
2. We must cry out to God for wisdom and a sense of urgency.
3. We must pray and proclaim the gospel and truth at every opportunity as we engage outsiders in a winsome way.
This presupposes that we know the issues, the truth, and have the courage and confidence to speak out. “Walk in wisdom toward those who are outside, wisely using the opportunity. Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you should answer everyone” (Col. 4:5-6).
Seeing the gathering storm clouds on the horizon, I recently pulled apart with my wife to a secluded cabin in the mountains of Tennessee. My assignment from God was to write a book that would be a tool to help shape informed influencers to make a difference in today’s confused culture. I pinpointed the 30 “hot button” issues of today.
God gave me a practical plan: Challenge people to take 30 days and invest 15 minutes a day in a 3 step process to develop a biblical worldview and confidence in addressing our country’s controversial issues: 1. Review a video—3 min. 2. Read an article—10 min. 3. Reflect and pray—2 min. The title of the book is Bullseye and it’ll help us “hit the mark” in sharing the gospel and biblical truth to dispel deception and foster spiritual awakening.
I invite your prayer support as we finalize this project. May this be one of many divine strategies given by God at this tipping point in America’s history.
“God” gave Tomczak a practical plan that is sure to “dispel deception and foster spiritual awakening.” For 30 days, 15 minutes a day, Tomczak wants like-minded Evangelicals to:
Review a video—3 min
Read an article—10 min
Reflect and pray—2 min.
Oh, and he is writing a book he wants everyone to buy. There’s a-lw-a-y-s a money angle.
On his blog, Tomczak calls his plan the Bullseye Challenge (link no longer active). According to Dr. Michael Brown, a former “heroin-shooting, LSD-using Jewish rock drummer” and the “world’s foremost Messianic Jewish apologist”, Tomczak’s plan will turn Game of Thrones watching, NASCAR loving Republicans into a “confident communicator and change agent in today’s confusing culture.” So far, Tomczak’s blog post has ONE Facebook like and ZERO retweets on Twitter.
Want to know more about the Bullseye Challenge? Check out Tomczak’s video: