KRISTOF, Nicholas D. "God, Satan and the Media." New York Times, March 4, 2003

by Robert Brow  (

Kristof is right on: "Nearly all of us in the news business are completely out of touch with a group that includes 46 percent of Americans. Evangelicals have moved from the fringe to the mainstream." Unfortunately he identifies Evangelicals with Tim LaHaye's Christian "left behind" series about the apocalypse. It is true that 50 million copies of those books have been sold, but it is patently false that all Evangelicals believe in the Rapture.

Kristof also quotes a new Gallup poll showing that "48 percent of Americans believe in creationism, and only 28 percent in evolution (most of the rest aren't sure or lean toward creationism)". But I don't think I am the only Evangelical who believes in God as Creator, and has no doubt that evolution has occurred. In baking a cake one can set out the stages of its evolution, but to imagine it came by chance is ludicrous. The modern Mercedes car has obviously come from the wheelbarrow, but can we imagine no creative mind was involved in its evolution?

Kristof adds that "I tend to disagree with evangelicals on almost everything. For example, evangelicals' discomfort with condoms and sex education." That is the same logical fallacy as saying that some media writers behave like alley cats, therefore all media writers are alley cats. Nor should the media define Evangelicals as those who think the books of Daniel and the Revelation are the heart of the Gospel.

We can excuse the author of this article because he grew up near Yamhill, Oregon., which has 790 people and five churches. He says "My science teacher at Yamhill Grade School taught that evolution was false, and a high school girlfriend attended a church where people spoke in tongues." But he admits that this girl friend "was an ace student, smarter than many people and fluent in more conventional tongues, like French and Spanish." The New York Times might be surprised that many of the best scholars in the Ivy League were raised as Evangelicals.

Kristof then quotes Professor Philip Jenkins' new book to point out that "fundamentalist Christianity is growing rapidly" all over the world. "The number of African Christians has soared over the last century, to 360 million from 10 million, and the boom is not among tweedy Presbyterians but among charismatic Pentecostalists." There again it is true that some charismatics and Pentecostalists are fundamentalist (taking literally some of the metaphors and imagery of the Bible). But he could also report that Aid agencies are discovering that it is the money channeled through Evangelicals that is least likely to end up in Swiss bank accounts

Having faulted Kristof for some caricaturing of Evangelicals, that does not detract from the importance of the article. Some in the media might wake up to realize that Evangelicals are some of the best news in the world. But Evangelicals also need to note that we have done a very poor job of making our good news known to the media. Would they ever know that I write for this website which gets an average of 500 people coming in every day, 15,000 a month, many of whom are from that caricatured Evangelical world?

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