Michael Gerson and the Last Temptation of Evangelicals

A couple thoughts on Michael Gerson’s cover story in the new issue of The Atlantic.– about the current state of affairs among evangelicals.

  • Read it. Gerson’s an evangelical insider–a Wheaton College grad–and President Bush’s former speechwriter. It’s worth hearing what he has to say.
  • Gerson’s mostly talking about white evangelicals. And mostly Northern white evangelicals. Southern Baptists, for example, are absent from his history of the movement. And evangelicals of color–for the most part.
  • He also seems unaware of Pentecostals.
  • Gerson mentions PEPFAR--the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief. The program has its critics–but it saved millions of lives around the globe and was inspired by George W. Bush’s evangelical beliefs. Bush spent more than Bill Clinton did on AIDS relief.
  • He argues evangelicals should become more like Catholics–developing more social teaching and becoming more diverse.
  • He argues that William Jennings Bryan should have attacked eugenics — and not evolution.
  • He misses the demographic changes in the US that have led evangelicals to think that they’re losing the home-field advantage.
  • The piece is part of a larger soul-searching about the future of the evangelical movement.