The Spirit of the Antichrist: How the evangelical right has come to turn against what Jesus stood for.

AuthorHendricks, Obery M., Jr.

So how, then, has the love-affirming evangelicalism of the past become todays forward legion of division and exclusion, a raging Christian faction openly supporting persons and policies that are essentially antithetical to the message of Jesus Christ?

I believe an answer is offered by the very Bible that evangelicals profess to live by. They have succumbed to what the First Epistle of John in the New Testament calls "the spirit of the antichrist," 1 John 4:3

Now, when I use this term I am not talking about a monstrous supernatural being like the "beast" in the Book of Revelation (which, by the way, never mentions an antichrist). No, what I'm talking about are ideologies and public pronouncements that cynically distort the teachings of Christ--in the name of Christ--to serve the interests of a particular individual or group.

It is a spirit of antichrist that has weaponized right-wing evangelicals to support and even lead assaults on truth and decency; to cosign expressions of hate rather than striving to spread love; to spew spiteful invective against other faiths rather than accepting them as fellow children of God; and, most appallingly, to extol Donald Trump as God's chosen vessel in the highest corridors of earthly power, even as his malevolent words and deeds dishonored God by sowing chaos and deadly disunion among us.

Rather than striving to build harmony, these evangelicals applauded the construction of spiteful walls of division. Rather than standing on moral consistency, they offered shameless excuses for the rankest of hypocrisies. Rather than suing for peace, they embraced the death-dealing agenda of the National Rifle Association. Rather than spreading gospel affection, they demonized Muslims and "liberals" and accused those who question them of being part of absurd, murderous conspiracies.

How did this come to pass? Who or what caused modern-day rightwing evangelicals to be possessed by this spirit of antichrist?

Signs of this transformation can be found in evangelists' outraged opposition to Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal.

But their full possession by a spirit of antichrist can be considered to have occurred when their leaders made a devil's bargain with Donald Trump to defend his avalanche of lies, hate mongering, blatant moral indecency, and outright attacks on the democratic rule of law in return for his support of their agenda to dominate American society. For this, they chose to ignore all that Jesus has taught about truth...

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