Trueman on the Future of Protestantism

Carl Trueman sees the future of Protestantism after passage of the (*ahem*) Respect for Marriage Act, and it’s not pretty:

First, as the terms of membership in society’s officer class change, those who value their social status will likely change too. I anticipate that the standard “personally opposed but publicly supportive” argument that has served Catholic elites so well for so many years will become a standard part of the elite Protestant playbook, replacing the current penchant for specious “third ways.” It will, of course, only be selectively applied when necessary to slough off the practical implications of embarrassing points of orthodoxy—such as those connected to sexuality—which might interfere with club membership. Do not expect its power of absolution ever to be extended to those who voted for Trump or who reject critical race theory.

Second, Protestant leadership will pass very swiftly to a new generation. The older generation who matured in the shadow of the Battle for the Bible assumed that it would be Christian doctrine—belief in the Incarnation, the Resurrection, the miracles—that would be the fault line within the churches and the reason why the outside world would repudiate Christianity. That generation thus lived in a world where such things played no role in actual membership in wider society. They might make Christians look foolish, but they did not make us look evil. And in that world Christians could compensate for their perceived foolishness by combining Christian orthodoxy with a certain cultural savvy and sophistication. But those days are over and that leadership is ill-equipped for what is now happening. Being mocked for believing in miracles is much easier to handle than being hated as a bigot. And it is now obvious the Christian position on the key issues of membership in society today—those of sexual identity, gender, abortion—cannot but implicate one in public debates and will merit the title of bigot.

Orthodox Protestants in America can now have clarity on the way forward and the choices that lie before them. The elites are accommodating, as I predicted they would be. And new leadership is now needed, one that understands the exile nature of the church, the inevitable opposition of the world, and the importance of opposing the abolition of man at every turn.

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