A passionate pastor is preaching a warning to the countless evangelical Christian leaders who have embraced President Trump.
John Pavolovitz, the outspoken pastor of North Raleigh Community Church in North Carolina, writes on his blog, “Stuff That Needs To Be Said,” that evangelical churches, which with more than one-quarter of all churchgoers in the U.S. today, are “slowly dying.”
John Pavlovitz, a former megachurch pastor who now serves as pastor of North Raleigh Community Churc… https://t.co/Njp0S8nKgK
— Miss Cleo (@ImMissCleo) May 7, 2018
He warns: “Your buildings are clearing, your pews are emptying, your congregations are ageing away,”
“You’re dying,” he explains, “because of your hypocrisy.”
“People see the ever-widening chasm between who you say you are and what they regularly experience in your presence,” writes Pavolovitz.
“They see the great disparity between the expansive hospitality of Jesus and the narrow prejudice you are so often marked by,” he continues.
“They see Christ’s deep affection for the poor, hurting, and marginalized – and both your indifference and open hostility toward them,” he writes.
“They’ve listened to you preach incessantly about the immortality of the world,” warns Pavologitz, “the dangers of greed, the corrupt nature of power, the poison of untruth, the evils of sexual perversion – and watched you willingly align with a president embodying all of these.”
“The biggest and most obvious hypocrisy,” writes Pavolovitz, “is the way that evangelical leaders such as Franklin Graham and Jerry Falwell Jr. have latched onto Trump – a man whom Pavolovitz says embodies none of what Christians should strive for when searching for leaders.”
Pavolovitz knows how the megachurch leaders work because he was once one of them. After growing up in Syracuse, New York as a Catholic, he went to college, but his faith was shaken by many things, most notably when his brother came out as gay.
"To still be supporting this man in these days with all that we have seen, is to declare war on decency, on equality, on any semblance of forthrightness or goodness."#SundayMorning https://t.co/qXBMrdcAG0
— John Pavlovitz (@johnpavlovitz) May 6, 2018
Then he fell in love with a woman who was not Catholic and the only church that would marry them was Protestant, and soon he had shifted his faith in a new direction.
He became the youth pastor of an evangelical megachurch in Pennsylvania for a decade but was fired when they told him he did not “fit in.”
He realized his efforts to fit in had actually been stifling, and he began to understand there were things that needed to be said and done in another way.
“The pressure to conform, to agree with derisive comments about Democrats or the “gay agenda,” to prioritize boosting attendance over addressing genuine lapses in faith, was intense, he is quoted in a November 2017 article by IndyWeek.com.
“Unabashedly liberal, Pavlovitz has come a long way from his roots as an acquiescent megachurch pastor,” continues IndyWeek, discussing his varied blog posts.
“Trump’s election, in particular, has provided him with fuel; he’s covered immigration, white supremacy, and health care, and often directly addresses Trump supporters in posts like “If You Voted for Trump, You Owe My Children an Apology.”
“He is unremitting in his derision for voters who he believes must take responsibility for the chaos and violence that’s occurred since the election.”
In Raleigh, Pavlovitz has found a large following of Christians who feel as he does about the right-wing war on science, the demonization of LGBTQIA Americans, and the perverted, twisted logic of evangelicals who blindly explain away Trump’s penchant for constant lying, serial adultery, and the litany of other sins that he proudly wears on his sleeve.
In his newest blog post, he warns that those who blindly follow Trump will be led to ruin, pointing out congregants are not blind and stupid.
“They know whoever and whatever God is – doesn’t appoint Presidents or sanction weapons or attack people with tornados,” he posts.
“You’re dying because of your devotion to cruelty,” he warns.
“They’ve watched you so revel in being the bully to those you’re called to protect.”
“You’re dying because of your complicity in violence.”
“They’ve seen you so often be a safe haven for misogynists, domestic abusers, sexual predators, and white supremacists—who all receive protection in your antiquated words, your personality cults, and your enabling culture.”
“They see your pastors and leaders misuse their positions and leverage their influence to victimize the most vulnerable.”
These narrow-minded views are killing the old-fashioned, unchanging churches, he warns, but the good news is that there is “something else being born.”
“Rising in these days is a diverse, sprawling community of disparate people, who want to create something life-giving here, who don’t care what it’s called and who gets the credit.”
“Yes,” predicts Pavlovitz, “this bloated, mean-spirited version of you is slowly and most surely passing away; the hypocrisy and the enmity, all the violence and racism—these things are correctly being seen as irrelevant by a watching world who will no longer abide them or participate in them.”
If this uplifting message is indeed the future, then Trump and his ilk have more to worry about than the Special Prosecutor or even impeachment.
"Your Jesus is the reason so many people want nothing to do with Christianity anymore.
It's why the Church is hemorrhaging.
It's why the pews are emptying.
It's why people run from Christians." https://t.co/nXRL7nGBiU
— John Pavlovitz (@johnpavlovitz) May 7, 2018
They have to worry that the people they have lied to in order to get campaign donations, votes and praise, are beginning to see through their false values, unkept promises and manipulative deceit, which portends a future where truth is again truth and not an alternative to the truth.
And that would be very bad news for Christians who preach the sanctity of marriage and family but endorse a president who flaunts his marriage vows, wears his religion like a Halloween costume and constantly lies to serve his own greedy agenda.
Thank you, Pastor Pavlovitz, for this message of hope.