Cross Purposes

One believer's struggle to reconcile
the peace of Christ with the rage of The Far Right


Bob Welch

 

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Reviews

"In this autobiographical work, a Christian writer grapples with the entwined relationship between far-right politics and evangelicalism. As author or co-author of more than two dozen Christian-themed books and whose writing has been awarded a Gold Medallion from the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association and appeared in James Dobson’s Focus on the Family magazine, Welch has an ingrained familiarity with evangelical culture. But the presidential election of 2016 made it difficult for him to “reconcile the peace of Christ” and the core tenets of Christianity ('flee from idols,' 'show humility,' 'love

courageously') with the 'hard-edged politics of the Far Right' as personified by Donald Trump. In this book, the author blends a memoir, including his own internal monologues as he grapples with Trumpian evangelicalism as well as conversations with family and friends across the political spectrum, with a well-researched case for the incompatibility

between far-right conservatism and Christianity.

"The work’s down-to-earth account offers sound criticisms of Christianity in the United States without resorting to clichéd, ad hominem characterizations of evangelicals. Complementing its goal to educate rather than to simply expose unsavory and hypocritical ideas held by conservative Christians, the volume includes discussion questions for book clubs and a quick reference guide to tomes, podcasts, and documentaries that provide insular evangelicals with alternative sociopolitical perspectives. A nuanced, convincing critique of the current state of American evangelicalism."

—Kirkus Book Reviews

"Cross Purposes is at once a detailed history of the merging of far right and Christian politics and a memoir of Welch’s sometimes uneasy dual life as an evangelical working for years in the largely liberal, thoroughly agnostic mainstream media. 'My faith and my profession had long been at odds with each other, but Trump brought the simmering to a boil,' he writes. 'As an evangelical, I was scorned by the very media of which I was part. As a journalist, I was maligned as an enemy of the people. Thus I had a unique perspective from which to watch the Trump parade.'”

"But by 2020, Welch writes, he had realized that silence was no longer an option. He began to research and write the most uncomfortable book he’s ever set out to do. A longtime successful writer for the Christian as well as the secular book markets, with 18 titles to his credit and a guest appearance on the 700 Club, Welch was shocked but not surprised when his agent 'passed without hesitation' on the book proposal. He decided to self publish, 'knowing I could make more money dishing up kung pao chicken at Panda Express.'”

"At 360 pages, this is a hefty book. But it invites deep skimming with its mix of personal anecdotes and occasional startling declarations. 'I began wondering if evangelical churches today would welcome Jesus himself were He to show up,' Welch laments at one point. 'He might be considered too radical. Too woke.'”

"Full disclosure: I worked with Welch at The Register-Guard, where for some years he was my editor in the features department. To be honest, without that experience I probably would never have read this book. But knowing Welch’s deep integrity whetted my curiosity. And it comes as no surprise to me that, in an afterword, he sketches out one final personal hope about Trump. ˆCan I forgive him?ˆ Welch writes. ˆCan I pray that he might find the humility to allow God and others to matter to him more than himself? I hope so.ˆ”  

Bob Keefer, Eugene Weekly