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Thabiti Anyabwile Says He's Left Evangelicalism: 'My Theological Commitments Have Not Changed'

Michael Foust | ChristianHeadlines.com Contributor | Tuesday, February 8, 2022
Thabiti Anyabwile Says He's Left Evangelicalism: 'My Theological Commitments Have Not Changed'

Thabiti Anyabwile Says He's Left Evangelicalism: 'My Theological Commitments Have Not Changed'


Prominent pastor and author Thabiti Anyabwile said this week he no longer considers himself evangelical, adding that his beliefs have not changed and that his desire is to pastor his church and to plant others.

Anyabwile’s announcement on Twitter came three days after a New York Times story quoted him as saying he’s “lost 20-year friendships” in recent years due to a changing evangelical and political landscape. The story – headlined “The Dissenters Trying to Save Evangelicalism from Itself” – referenced three issues that have driven the division within the movement: evangelicals’ embrace of Donald Trump; sex abuse scandals; and racial issues.

“I’ve grieved,” Anyabwile told The Times.

Anyabwile is pastor of Anacostia River Church in Washington, D.C., and the author or co-author of multiple books. He formerly wrote a blog for The Gospel Coalition, dubbed “Pure Church.” His last post was in 2019.

“Is there a place where we can go to file a legion or application to no longer be classed an ‘evangelical,’ especially of the socio-political variety? My theological commitments have not changed. They are rooted in my understanding of the Bible, not in evangelical shibboleths,” he wrote on Twitter.

“I do not wish and am not striving to be a leader, reformer, influencer, etc. of evangelicalism,” Anyabwile added. “If I have any influence, let it be because I spoke the truth to you – not because of tribal affiliation. Pls know that my ambition is to faithfully pastor our church & to plant others.

“So, I have left,” he wrote. “Left as quietly as I could to preserve as much peace as I could, though that seems [too] futile. I’m not angry with any who remain or dare to choose their course for them. To each his or her own. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord elsewhere.”

The word “evangelical,” Anyabwile said, “is NOT a synonym for ‘Christian.’” There are many “faithful Christians who do not and would not call themselves evangelical tho their theology hardly differs,” he added.

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Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chroniclethe Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.