My Friend (So Long)

Welp, it’s happened again. Another evangelical American superstar appears to have bitten the dust: Kevin Max, 1/3 of dc Talk, one of the best Christian rock bands of all time, has pronounced himself to be an “Exvangelical.”

To use his own words, Max is “anti-war, pro-peace, anti-hate, pro-live, pro-LGBTQIA, pro-BLM, pro-open mindedness, anti-narrow mindedness, pro-utopia, anti-white nationalist agenda, pro-equality, pro-vax, pro-music, anti-1%rs, pro-poor, pro-misfit-pro-Jesus, etc…” (I’m not sure what he means by “pro-live”; I thought that was a sports streaming app. Also he is definitely in the 1%.)

Thus, while he has not denounced Christ as his Savior (he likes a “Universal Christ”), it would appear that he clearly is twisting the phrase “Evangelical” into that which the Christian music scene of the nineties was a caricature for: closed-minded, homophobic, Zionist, Pat Robertonism, Jesus-Freakdom. It’s basically the opposite of Kevin Max (and every pop-woke persona) in 2021. Forget the fact that he partially sang “Jesus Freak,” forget the sloughing-off of society’s hatred that “people think I’m strange, does it make me a stranger that my best friend was born in a manger?” Ignore the stalwartness of dc Talk’s quotation of Brennen Manning

The greatest single cause of atheism in the world today is Christians

Who acknowledge Jesus with their lips

And walk out the door

And deny him by their lifestyle

That is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable

*sigh* There goes more of my young adulthood. What if I stumble? Well, there is hope and forgiveness in the Red Letters, for all I want is to be in the light.”

Don’t dismiss him outright. I know that’s tempting, but Kevin is expressing the long-trodding slog of the path he has been walking for years. You can’t blame a dog for growling if his owner just beats him all the time. Modern Evangelicalism has always been searching for “relevance” ever since American Christianity sought conversion stories as proof of salvation. And if relevance is your modus operandi, then it’s only a matter of time before the greater societal pressure reflects a gospel contrary to the one you once heard (Galatians 1:5). In 2021, that gospel is the Woke Brigade. Jesus himself fails the test.

I will not condemn all of Evangelicalism here (because it isn’t a monolith), and neither will this article be the tired argument of liturgical remonstrances. Such arguments are as cheesy and easy to play as Michael W. Smith—who always sucked.

Instead, I will hold up Kevin Max himself, whom I pray is still a brother in Christ, in his own words on Track 5 of the album Supernatural, entitled My Friend (So Long):

I remember when you used to say

“Jesus is the way”

I never thought I’d see your light begin to fade …

We know exactly where you are when you’re gone (My friend)

Don’t know exactly where you’re coming from

(You’ve gone away…ooohhhh…[my friend])

We know exactly where you are when you’re gone (My friend)

Don’t know exactly where you’re coming from

(You’ve gone astray……)

Yes, that’s right. The song is literally about selling out your faith. Even on its face, the lyrics emphasize a turning away from Christ, from the fearlessness of being a Jesus Freak, for a “quicker way to scale the wall of fame.”

I don’t know what I don’t know, and I don’t know Kevin Max’s faith. It sounds like he doesn’t know it either. All I can ask is that the felicitous inconsistencies of Christianity are shown mercy on the day of judgment.

Until then … so long (my friend).