Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Evangelicalism at a Crossroads.

I used to be an Evangelical. What that means is, I subscribed to all the doctrines that Modern Evangelicals believe. Whether is was the doctrine of "make a sincere decision for Christ" doctrine, or the "age of accountability" doctrine, or "believer's baptism" doctrine, I was staunch in not only believing them, but in proclaiming them.

But with all of my certainty over these teachings, there was something about all of this that made me worry. After all, as much sense as everything made, all the doctrines seemed to line up very well, I didn't seem to have any peace. I remember back during my days as a moderator at Christianity.com, that with all the people who would sign up daily to the forum and start posting, the majority of them were almost looking for a fight, and many of them actually were looking for a fight.

Now being what I called a "thinking evangelical", I liked taking on the ones who were spoiling for a fight. I remember one individual who billed himself as a "Messianic Jew", who called himself SolaScriptura. He was all about proclaiming to everyone that they needed to start being Jews as soon as possible because that is what pleases God. Of course, when you tried to pin him down for proof that being a Jew, keeping all the commandments and Holy Days and Festivals actually is pleasing to God, he had none. Not pragmatic proof, anecdotal or biblical proof. We eventually wound up banning him from the forums altogether for teaching false doctrines.

But the thing that got me about all of that was, no matter how many times you banned them, they would sign up again and come back for more. The fighting still goes on at the Forums at Christianity.com. There's a thread there that is a debate between so called "Arminians" and "Calvinists" that is currently on 29379 replies with no end in sight! Nothing solved, no doctrines ironed out.

But, after a while of having to deal with this kind of thing, I was challenged by someone to listen to "the White Horse Inn". I accepted the challenge, and that led me to Issues etc, which led me to the confessions and the LCMS. That's the nuts and bolts of it, but the reality was that I was tired of the bickering, tired of always having to defend something that I knew wasn't robust and fully fleshed out... That being Evangelicalism.

Don't get me wrong, there are some wonder Evangelicals out there who know there stuff pretty well. In such cases you can tell talk about the finer points of doctrine; The Lord's supper, Holy Baptism, Monergism, the Holiness of God... But for the most part, Evangelicals are either one of two types: They are as close to perfectly happy as they can get with where they are spiritually, or they are growing tired of what's going on. The ones who are growing tired of Evangelicalism are the ones I identify with the most.

They are like me. I started down the Wittenberg Trail because I was tired of all the shallowness, lightness and frivolity that was going on around me. I was tired of feeling beat down. I was tired of seeing people being destroyed by weird doctrines, talk of annointings, extra blessings from God... I was tired of being told how to manipulate God, even though they wouldn't put it in such stark terms as that. I was tired of hearing someone say, "if you do A, B, and C, you will begin to see the hand of God move in your life"...

I'd imagine that there are people out there just like me. I've talked to them a lot in the last couple of years. People like that are at a crossroads. What will they do? Will they find a robust faith? Will they find people to challenge them to dig deeper into God's word than they ever have before? Will they find someone who will enthusiastically proclaim Christ and him crucified, for them!

Oh Heavenly Father. Let me be your sounding board. Let me be the watchman at the Crossroad to point the true way. In the name of your son Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit. One God forever and ever. Amen.


the big test

Since someone, somewhere, has seen fit to deprive the world of Issues etc and take a huge bite out of confessional Lutheranism at the same time, I will not take up the mantle of working to see that those who did it answer for their actions.
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