Before the January 6 uprising at the US Capitol put the country’s unrest on display, many evangelical leaders in the US saw signs of the escalating tensions from their own pulpits, deepening their call to preach and teach a gospel that puts God over country.
Nine months ago, Texas pastor Brian Haynes got a text message from a member of his congregation who noticed fellow believers sharing conspiracy theories online and felt “overwhelmed by the amount of fear and disunity.”
Haynes, lead pastor of Bay Area Church outside Houston, wrote a 500-word response and posted it on his blog. When the post got 200,000 views in a matter of days, he realized just how big the issue had become.
“I’ve really had to seek wisdom for it. As a shepherd, how do I love these people who I think are believing something that is a lie?” said Haynes. “It’s been very exhausting for pastors. You either just said, ‘I’m not dealing with it,’ or you leaned ...1