Friday, May 19, 2006

Is There a New "Evangelicalism"?

Is There a New "Evangelicalism"?

Jan Markell, in her E-Update posted below my comments, has made an excellent observation - The word Evangelical has a whole new meaning today.

We too have been seeing that the word 'Evangelical' has a whole new meaning today. It is very sad indeed! An 'Evangelical' nowadays can even be a heretic. Furthermore, in many Christian 'camps' it is not even clear what an 'Evangelical' is, what it really means.

All too often today people say they are 'Evangelical' but they deny the sufficiency of Scripture, cannot cleary explain the Gospel, do not have clue what Justification means, deny the existence of hell [Jesus preached on it and believe it was real], etc.

Also, countless preachers who would say they are 'Evangelicals' are letting all manner of heresy blow through their congregations. Many preachers are afraid to warn the sheep because the preacher is more concerned about their own reputation than God's reputation.

Didn't Jesus 'make Himself of no reputation? Should not an Evangelical make a stand for truth like they used to in the old days, even if it means dying to our 'reputation'? Aren't we 'Evangelicals' supposed to die to ourselves ["...let him deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Me" ~ Jesus]

Consider what our Lord did as He humbled Himself and 'died' to His 'reputation':

"Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross." (Philippians 2:6-8)

If 'Evangelicals' [ministers included] died to their 'reputation' and believed and did what 'Evangelicals' ought to believe and do [abide in the doctrine of Christ], I believe we would have a lot less heretics and false converts in the church today. We would also see much more true and lasting repentance amongst believers.

When 'Evangelicals' 'accept' and flock to see and here halse teaching and full blown heretics preach, than truly 'Evangelicals' are no longer truly 'Evangelical'; they are misguided, carnal, professores of faith who do not understand Biblical Christianity. This is truly sad and this is exactly what we are seeing in the church today.

~ We commend Jan in here article here as she has made a very imnportant observation that most 'Evangelicals' are not seeing.

Please take the time to read Jan's article below.

~ Chris at SRN

Is There a New "Evangelicalism"?
Source - Jan Markell, Olive Tree Ministries - May 18, 2006

- When I first filtered into an evangelical church at the age of 14, defining the term "evangelical" was simple, even for a kid my age. Without having to be told I concluded evangelicals preached a solid gospel, emphasized evangelism and missions, majored in soul-winning and minored in social issues, abstained from some worldly values (and occasionally went too far in this department coming close to legalism), were faithful in church attendance, Bible reading, and generally had a biblical worldview. Sure, we were often called "legalistic fundamentalists" but better to lean right than left. I was never and never will be ashamed of the old definition of "evangelicalism."

Those churches are still around, but something has happened in the last twenty years. New leaders are rising and some do NOT preach a solid gospel yet are called evangelicals. It is not possible to talk about "evangelicals" with any unity? Many call themselves evangelicals when they are not and a new term has sprung up: Evangelical centrist. That means there is compromise somewhere.

To me, this says today no one is really sure what "evangelicalism" means. When those leaning left such as Tony Campolo and Jim Wallis are called evangelicals, and the magazine known as "Sojourners," I can tell we have a new day. When "Emergent Church" leader Brian McClaren is called an evangelical when he lumps the "Left Behind" books in the same category as "The DaVinci Code," something is amiss. This is false labeling. When Richard Foster and Brennan Manning, revered by many evangelicals, never met a mystical practice they didn't endorse, today's evangelicalism has a problem.

At one time "Christianity Today" was the house organ of evangelicalism. Over the last twenty years, that has changed, for now C.T. calls the "Harry Potter" book series, "A wonderful Christmas gift for all."

Many evangelicals have embraced mysticism and have the audacity to call it "Christian mysticism," an oxymoron if there ever was one. Evangelical churches are now proudly announcing to all that they offer classes in "Christian Yoga" which is "just stretching" to them, but in reality, calls down Hindu gods to their Yoga mat.

"The New York Times" states, "A tug of war is unfolding behind the scenes over theology--should evangelicalism be a big tent open to divergent views, or a smaller movement with more pure theology?"

Theology isn't the only issue. Some of today's evangelicals are into man-made global warming with the new "Evangelical Environmental Network," immigration issues, anti-war movements, and other issues that were once found only in churches a part of the World and National Council of Churches. They are involved in ridding the world of AIDS, an impossibility but a noble cause--but is it the cause of evangelicals? Or is it just the old social gospel from which evangelicals fled in the 1940's to focus on soul-winning? It is fine that those who embrace the cause of Christ--who reached out to the poor and needy--will today reach out to the masses that are hurting. That is not the issue. The issue is, "are these issues the cause of evangelicalism" and if they are, then I stand corrected. But can you ever err by having an emphasis on solid gospel preaching and saving lost souls?

So what's a new term for evangelical, or maybe there needn't be one? Is it fundamentalist which has negative overtones? How about "historical orthodox Christian"? How about "Bible-believing Christian"? Are we sliding into a pit that says, "Anything is OK as long as we love one another? We just have to all get along."

The lines are blurred right now and I am troubled by it. If you have a comment or suggestion, reply to this and I will turn it into a radio show. Any emails used will be anonymous but understand we cannot reply to all emails due to volume. All will be read carefully.

Awaiting His return,
Jan Markell