I well remember how many predicted the end of Evangelicalism after the Moral Majority years. Now the same people are predicting the end of Evangelicalism after helping elect Trump. They will once again be proven wrong. Evangelicalism is essentially conservative Protestantism, and conservative Protestantism isn’t going anywhere, polls or no polls. Center/Left self-professed Evangelicals are behind most of these predictions, hoping that somehow their version of Evangelicalism will rule the day. It does not, and it cannot. They are in the caboose of the Evangelical train and actually owe their careers to Evangelicalism. They can’t leave, because they have no place to go except to mainline liberal Protestantism, who would not accept them. And they cannot leave mainstream Evangelicalism because it is the cocoon which protects their place and status. They’re not going anywhere.
Evangelicalism is not an institution that can be led or hand-fed. It is a people movement. It will do what it wants to do, with no debts to pay or leaders to coddle. Those who attack it have nothing to strike. It’s like punching a cloud. It can be influenced, but only for a time. It bounces back and shape shifts as it works out of a historical/traditional Christian paradigm for doctrine and life. It has shown itself highly adjustable to time and place but never moving far from its compass points. It is capable of shucking institutions and coalitions and moving on.
Evangelicalism can be a three-ring circus at times, but it is all under the big tent. It has its crazy sideshows. But it has some sense of how big the loss would be if it spends too much energy policing boundaries as long as the center is clear.
Besides, Evangelicalism has no place to go to. To go anywhere is to no longer be itself. And that is not an option.
So, having been in the thick of it my whole life and driven mad by the craziness of it, I have never thought that better options were anywhere else. I will die an Evangelical.