The key to evangelizing progressives

By Scott Lively

In my last article, I addressed the problem of Christian pastors being led into apostasy by “progressive evangelists” using “social justice” themes, especially “gay theology,” to capture an increasing number of Christian leaders who are intimidated by our culture’s relentless attacks on biblical truth and who desire to be liked by the world and be “relevant” to the Marxism-indoctrinated younger generations.

In this column, I want to explain how Bible-faithful Christians can turn the tables and successfully evangelize “progressives” and the younger generations influenced by the leftist worldview (and potentially overthrow the elite puppet-masters who rule over both of us through divide-and-conquer polarization).

Progressives are a particularly challenging mission field for Christians who use traditional evangelistic methods because they have been largely “immunized” against Christianity since childhood through anti-biblical propaganda and talking points pushed in public schools and colleges. We’ve lost something like 85% of young people from Christian homes in this contest and won very few young people from progressive homes.

But there is one form of Christian witness that is still has great potency because 1) the enemy has only recently started undermining it (to serve the transgender agenda), and 2) it shares a common logical foundation with a core ideology of the progressive movement. That witness is the self-evident nature of things. Let me tell you how I discovered this truth and developed it as a bridge to establish rapport with progressives.

Just after the turn of the millennium, I was running my Sacramento-based Christian Mediation Center (which I founded as the first business of my law career) and was serving as California state director for the American Family Association on the side. I was also fighting the LGBT agenda as a public speaker and media figure. All three tracks intertwined when I was asked by Phyllis Schlafley’s Eagle Forum to help stop a major escalation in pro-homosexual indoctrination at Santa Rosa High School.

One of my events in that effort was an evening presentation at a local community center. When I arrived the room was packed to the gills with hostile high school and college students. (We had been outmaneuvered by local LGBT organizers.) Not wanting to endure another session of obnoxious heckling and childish antics that usually dominate such meetings, I put on my “mediator” hat (while the moderator was introducing me) and silently prayed for guidance from the Holy Spirit on how to connect with these kids.

I had an immediate epiphany about the common ground pro-family advocates share with environmentalists: the recognition of a natural order that must be respected by humans to prevent harm. I abandoned my prepared notes and with real-time Holy Spirit guidance (per Matthew 10:19) I explained that environmental concepts like “bio-diversity,” “ecosystems” and “the interdependence of species” all rest upon the natural law presuppositions that the pro-family movement also holds: things are supposed to be a certain way in nature, and if you do things like poison the tide pools with chemicals, or clear-cut the rainforest, bad things will happen. I then said, “All I’m asking you to do is open your minds a little and recognize that humanity has its own ecosystem called the natural family. If you disturb that by, for example, removing one of the parents, it’s the equivalent of cutting down half the rainforest. Negative consequences will follow.”

Watching those young people visibly ponder that idea – one college student with purple hair literally scratching his head at its profundity, light bulbs switching on behind his eyes as he looked off into the air – was one of the most satisfying moments in my entire pro-family career.

A few years later I was invited to debate same-sex marriage at UC Berkeley (which is so liberal that the “moderator” was the Northern California director of the ACLU). I dusted off that natural-family ecosystem concept and built my entire argument upon it. Long story short: I started with a 100% extremely hostile standing-room-only crowd, but by the end had shifted about 25% of them to an attitude of respectful attention – a huge victory under the circumstances.

Fast forward to 2014. On the final day of my part-time “running-only-to-have-a-platform” campaign for governor of Massachusetts I decided to have some fun and hit the streets of ultra-leftist Northampton with a flyer featuring a still-further developed “natural-family ecosystem” theme, while being shadowed by a hostile film crew from HBO’s “Vice” program hoping for fireworks. Instead, I had such an amazing day of harmonious interactions with random strangers, including a Smith College philosophy professor who really liked the concept, that when I went home afterward I faxed over a copy to the Rainbow Green Party, whose person-in-charge offered to send my flyer to their whole list – until other leaders shut him down after discovering I was the author.

Two years later, in October 2016, I was in Kyrgyzstan in my capacity as a human rights consultant, helping (successfully) to pass a national constitutional amendment defending marriage. To highlight the universal appeal of the “natural life” theme while there in the Eastern Hemisphere with my Muslim hosts, we formed the Natural Life Movement, and I published the Declaration of the Natural Life Movement to frame its tenets in a final, concise form.

The key to “natural-life evangelism” is to shift your discussion away from traditional “right vs. left” arguments and perspectives toward the completely different paradigm of “natural vs. artificial.” The goal is not to flip them from “liberal” to “conservative” (a distinction exploited by the elites) but to establish common ground on the most basic and universal truths of the natural law. Once you reach that common ground on “the laws of Nature,” it is an easy pivot to a discussion about “Nature’s God” – and, depending on the person, turning either to the Declaration of Independence (where “the laws of Nature and Nature’s God” provided the logic for America’s founding), or directly to the Bible, where there are many mind-healing passages rooted in the witness of nature (e.g., Romans 1:19-20).

Further, to grasp the potency of the Natural Life paradigm as a tool to redeem the political realm, consider how easily we could win all our key culture war battles if the vast majority of world’s population who already embrace natural life presuppositions were united in that goal instead of (as now) being polarized across lines chosen by the elites to keep us fighting amongst ourselves instead of overthrowing their tiny-minority rule.

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