Feb 142017
 

Why the Bible isn’t enough for abuse victims…

On being a civil Christian…

The scandal of the church in America…

The scandal of the church in America, Part 2…

What is an evangelical?

A new process of evangelism…

The fruit of a culture that worships individualism is loneliness…

The washerwoman evangelist…

Seven things the Bible teaches about love and romance…

Ignite Conference features abusive role models…

Evangelical leaders oppose travel ban…

Does your heart break like a Samaritan?

What tech should my church get?

The coffee cups…

When the one you love is wayward…

Billy Graham’s political lesson…

A Bible of paradox…

Building a communal church…

Why the 5 “solas ” matter today…

Does God have to love me?

Why we can’t stay out of politics…

Nine big myths about forgiveness…

When does nationalism override our allegiance to God?

Green card holders in the City of Man…

Is grace too good to be true?

Movie rips the prosperity gospel…

Fake news and other traps damaging the church…

Huge thanks as always to EricL for the link help. Support his businesses at top right…

 

  181 Responses to “Linkathon!”

  1. Ed Stetzer may be on to something with the “new process of evangelism” article.

  2. This is the strongest links line up in a while.

    I found this noteworthy in the last link: “In her book, Blessed: A History of the American Prosperity Gospel, Kate Bowler cites a recent survey finding that 43 percent of Christians believe God grants the faithful health and wealth. A surprising two-thirds ‘agreed that God wants people to prosper.’ ”

    But this quote represents a consistent theme in several of the articles that idolatry is running rampant in the American Church.

    I don’t know if others here have noticed this in your local churches, but does your pastor preach to you what you want to hear? If you are a politically conservative congregation, does your pastor present Jesus, the Gospel and the kingdom as politically conservative? Or if you are a politically liberal congregation, does your pastor present Jesus, the Gospel and the kingdom as politically liberal?

    How much is your pastor’s preaching colored by his/her ideologies?

    How welcoming is your church to people with opposite political ideologies?

  3. Thank you, Jean!

    Great questions as well…

  4. “How welcoming is your church to people with opposite political ideologies?”

    Which is the opposite view? Our people are scattered all over the place politically – with most in the apathetic category.

    But to be welcoming, I have never handed a visitor’s card to someone and asked their political affiliation.

    Now about the successful Christian stuff, I posted here a month ago the Christmas Eve sermon by Rick Warren where he flat out stated that his job as pastor was to make sure you were successful – this is why he is a false pastor … just as bad as a Creflo Dollar.

  5. Those are good questions, and good safeguards for us all to consider.

    I will say though, I would guess that in some way, every sermon is shaped by the pastor’s ideologies. Even the best that try hard to be transparent, I’m sure they color the message to some degree.

  6. #2 Jean

    Strange, I read that link just after writing to someone about two friends of mine, Coptic monks, who were killed by a mob during the Arab Spring in Egypt.

    I’m not sure what “prosperity Gospel” folk do with things like that. I think they must be able to “mythologize” the pain and suffering of the majority of Christians around the globe. The poorest among us on this thread, live like kings compared to most of those in the third world.

  7. Jean #2
    Noah and John the Baptist must be abysmal failures according to most people.

    I’ve heard certain CC pastors even use the NAR “our job is to bring heaven to earth” line. The false ideologies of C.Peter Wagner et al are more insidious and prevalent than we realize. I remember being swept away with Spiritual Mapping at a Methodist church over twenty years ago.

  8. Duane,

    I think delusion, or willful stupidity, must fit in here. Bonhoeffer’s quote from yesterday certainly does.

  9. Siggy,

    The final act of biblical eschatology is when heaven and earth do become one place…and the church is to represent that inbreaking of the kingdom now until it happens in it’s fullness.

  10. Noah’s success was not as an evangelist…

  11. The Apostles all received Versace robes after the Ascension in the “prosperity gospel”

  12. Michael

    Of course, but does this mean that the Seven Mountains dominionist eschatology/theology is correct?

    Noah was very successful. He preached righteousness and did what God asked of him.

  13. Siggy,

    “Of course, but does this mean that the Seven Mountains dominionist eschatology/theology is correct?”

    No, and I’ll bet that the CC guys didn’t believe so either.
    The people that believe dominanist theology are in reality few and far between…

  14. I think dying movements naturally hitch their wagon to other movements with more momentum. WoF, NAR and Roman Catholicism have picked up a lot of steam lately. Pastors may not believe something to be right, but if the means justify the ends is it crazy to think that they might back off the charge of “heresy” for the sake of nickles and noses?

  15. Siggy,

    I think you’re bearing false witness.
    The overall state of the Calvary Chapel movement has so far had almost no effect on the individual churches that are part of it.

    My guess would be that If a CC guy is talking about bringing heaven to earth he’s referencing N.T. Wright, not some heretical group.

    The Roman Catholic church is actually in decline here…

  16. Am I? That’s a very awful, Scarlett-letter type thing to throw around a blog, don’t you think? Do you think I’m trying to deceive? False witness would imply intent to deceive. That’s a slippery slope. Imagine all the things we could throw around as bearing false witness if we assumed to know the heart of the other. Aren’t are plenty of other ODM’s assuming your intent on this blog is less than pure. Have I come out swinging like that? I don’t deserve that for making observations.

  17. Siggy,

    You implied that pastors were supporting a doctrinal stance that I can almost guarantee they are not…and describing the motive for them doing so as well.

    That is bearing false witness…

    The ODM’s are continually breaking this commandment…and they have done so about me for years.

  18. By the way…the two part articles on the scandal of the church are my favorites this week…

  19. If I truly think it is a **possibility** based off of what I have observed, and I am wrong, that makes me wrong, not a liar, as you imply by saying I am bearing false witness. Or maybe Im just stupid. I can be stupid, please don’t call me a liar.

  20. Siggy,

    Bearing false witness is bringing false accusations against a brother.

    If you’re not sure, you shouldn’t say it.

    Period.

  21. Michael,

    I actually thought, “I wonder if Michael ghost wrote the scandal of the church articles,” when I read them. I thought part 1 was stronger than part 2. Diagnosis of the illness in this case is easier than prescribing the treatment.

  22. Jean,

    I would like to take credit for them, but alas, it wasn’t me. 🙂

  23. It’s only false witness if it’s intended to injure. That is not what I am doing. I have heard some things smacking of them , I see connections between New Apostolic and WoF ministries and some Calvarys. As I said, it’s a very broad, loaded accusation to lodge, and can be easily traced by observing the direction in which other three fingers are pointing. Saying it is a real possibility is not accusing, which is not what I believe I have done, accuse.

  24. i have been studying CC for over 25 years.

    The only connections between CC and the NAR or WoF is in the fevered brains of ODM’s.

  25. What causes the fever, IYO?

  26. … Roman Catholicism have picked up a lot of steam lately.<<<

    This is good news, as long as it's traditional Roman Catholicism.

    I've been listening to the local Roman Catholic radio station in the car recently. I think you all might be surprised if you tuned in.

    Of course, I am happily settled where I am.

  27. I think I hear a dial tone…

  28. The world was such a pleasant place under traditional RCC.

    Jews, Muslims, and burn again believed had it especially good.

  29. “What causes the fever, IYO?”

    The starting point is that many are theologically ignorant people who only know what they have been taught by purveyors of one tradition. Those traditions are usually anti-intellectual and have no grounding in church history or other traditions.

    The second reason is the long time Protestant tradition of splitting over minor points of doctrine until each sect believes it is the sole holder of truth and the faith once delivered.

    The more enemies they create, the holier they think they are.

    That’s a start…and I cleaned it up considerably for a mixed audience…

  30. …born again believers… But the shoe fits

  31. burn again…. 🙂

  32. I listen to a prophecy update by some Brethren individuals out of Grace Seminary in IN. Very intellectual, but also “discerning”. I put that in scare quotes do as not to frighten anyone… 😉

  33. Xenia,
    You have beautifully thick skin 🙂

  34. “I listen to a prophecy update by some Brethren individuals out of Grace Seminary in IN.”

    What’s to update?
    The book was finished 2000 years ago…were there pages added?

  35. Funny, I heard Rob Bell say the something similar on Oprah…

  36. The 8th Commandment: “You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.”

    What does this mean? We should fear and love God so that we do not tell lies about our neighbor, betray him, slander him, or hurt his reputation, but defend him, speak well of him, and explain everything in the kindest way.

  37. “What causes the fever, IYO?”

    — Stupidity
    — Ignorance
    — Lack of solid scholarship/research
    — A propensity to believe that all anecdotes are true and can be overgeneralized to include all (in this case, CCs).

  38. “Funny, I heard Rob Bell say the something similar on Oprah…”

    Siggy, your time here is short.

    We don’t play that game here.

    The implication is that I am somehow of one mind with Bell and Winfrey…without addressing the fact that every prophecy update ever given has been wrong and that the church believed in the Second Coming for 1900 years without a prophecy update…except a few times that were wrong as well.

  39. Jean
    Even when they’re pulling one over on you? How well would this have worked out of the false, witness charge were believed in every case of CC adultery, pedophilia, murder, embezzlement, etc.Sometimes fearing God means caring enough to speak uncomfortable truth, our pointing out potential hazards up ahead and having others tell you what a liar you are.

  40. Michael

    I sure hope not.

  41. Siggy,

    When I make an accusation about someone, I make sure I’ve got facts lined up and multiple witnesses.

    Fearing God means I take an extra step not to bear false witness.

  42. We should keep Siggy. He said I had beautiful skin. 🙂

  43. “I sure hope not.”
    It will be a certainty should you continue to play the guilt by association card of the ODM’s…there are few things I despise more.

  44. Xenia,

    I will take that under consideration… 🙂

  45. Siggy,

    Trust me on this: take a breadth, calm down, and stop digging. Michael, who has been studying the CC movement for I don’t know 20 years (?), caught you making an ignorant or overgeneralizing statement. We all say things we shouldn’t once and a while. But we forgive each other and move on. I hope you will make the right decision here.

  46. Okay, so in my apparently fevered head, when I see CC ministries allowing NAR (lumping the three main lines together) teachers to teach or preach to their fold via the pulpit, an outreach, a movie, etc, I assume they are either unaware of the name of the NAR person or aware but don’t really see too much wrong with it.

    Then I say Hey, this might be a strong POSSIBILITY. Is that accusing or putting 2 and 2 together?

  47. Like I said, I can be stupid, but I am not lying. False witness is intent to deceive others and injure the accused.

    Michael,

    Call me stupid or ignorant if you like. If I am wrong I am sorry, but I truly think this is a hazard.

    As far as, Rob Bell, I think you have it over him 100%. Don’t ever go on Oprah

  48. I’m going to do this slowly.

    CC churches are independent (to a fault, in my opinion).
    What Brodersen or McClure think doesn’t have an impact on the associations they have to any real degree.
    If you want to know what each CC believes read the churches statement of faith or ask the individual pastor.

    I am open to participating with people in other traditions around some common cause…that does not mean I endorse their theology.

    I’ll say this one more time…there is no acceptance in any general sense in CC of the teachings of the NAR or WoF.

    Period.

  49. Just an observation – if all the people involved in studying “prophecy updates” would instead spend their time studying Church History, NT Greek and then maybe throw in some Systematic and Practical Theology… I think the Church might be in a healthier state…

    Of course, I could be wrong…

  50. Siggy,

    Here’s some real ODM fodder for you.

    I’m seeking to join the Anglican community.
    I’m a political liberal.
    I love reading Catholic scholars.
    Eastern Orthodoxy fascinates me.
    I’m a Calvinist.
    I’m ecumenical.
    I love Eugene Peterson.
    I think all orthodox traditions teach us something about Christ.
    I believe in the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist.
    I call it the Eucharist.
    The lecto divinia is an excellent spiritual discipline.
    So is contemplative prayer.
    I think the pretrib rapture theory is nonsense…but I love many who hold to it.

    That should get you started…

  51. Duane @ 49…amen!

  52. Duane

    German liberalism was around long before any prophecy updates

  53. #50 Michael

    For once, I wish that I were a bishop… We’d be ordering the invitations to your ordination!

  54. Duane @ 53… we’ll get there.
    In any case I will become part of that communion one way or the other… 🙂

  55. #52 Siggy

    I assume you’ve read von Harnack and his colleagues from the Prussian Academy?

  56. Siggy,

    What exactly can you tell us about “German liberalism”?
    What were they actually saying and was there any variety of thought?

  57. Duane beat me to it… 🙂

  58. #54 Michael

    Know that you’re in my prayers every evening…

  59. We agree on two things

    You’re ODM fodder

    and Pre trib is a boat with no paddles

    Maybe I should start a WordPress account 😉

  60. Duane,

    As are you in mine…thank you, my friend!

  61. I don’t mind the list @ 150. My struggle is with the cats and the Vikings… 🙂

  62. Covered,

    Those are the only two things they haven’t called me on… 🙂

  63. Not a lot. But a quick google search reveals von harnack denied the deity of Christ, substitutionary atonement, and the veracity and authority of scripture. Hitler liked him, apparently.

    “To reject the Old Testament in the second century perhaps was a mistake which the great Church refused rightfully . . . but to conserve it after the nineteenth century as a canonical text in Protestantism, was the result of a religious and ecclesiastical paralysis.”

    Were you bringing him up as one of your faves?

  64. I bet ODMs hate cats and football…

  65. Not to bear false witness or anything…

  66. Siggy,

    The point is that you know nothing about “German liberalism” at all and still use it as some sort of doctrinal weapon.
    Why would you speak of something you had to Google to even get a tiny idea about the topic?

    This is a common trait of ODM’s…

  67. What’s this about an end time revival among Viking cats???? I miss one prophecy update and I feel completely out of the loop.

    I’ll shut up now and go back to reading my Bible in one hand and the newspaper in the other, or something like that. 🙂

  68. EricL,

    It’s a sign of the times… 🙂

  69. Same reason people use Wikipedia around here. May I posit that it’s the same reason you post things about Bob Caldwell with out actually speaking with him? Or did you?

    If von harnack believed what is said, and he is a product of German liberalism – let’s say I don’t have to measure the cliff to know the fall will kill me.

  70. How come you never show links on Tuesdays to articles and blog entries from any of my friends? We’re feeling left out. 🙁

  71. Bye Bye Siggy. I think you are going to be raptured from this blog.

  72. I think you’d appreciate that…? I guess that leaves you in tribulation?

    I hope not, on both counts.

  73. Siggy,

    The Bob Caldwell article links to a primary source…and I also interviewed numerous people very close to the situation.
    Bob Caldwell isn’t talking to anyone.
    I would never publish anything without multiple sources.

    That is irrelevant to speaking of a topic one knows nothing about as you did.

    When Jean and MLD speak of their tradition,when Duane tells us about the patristics, when Xenia speaks of Orthodoxy or Russian history…we can take it to the bank…they have put in the time to speak to these things.

    You might want to emulate them…

  74. Ms. ODM,

    They can feel free to submit links to their prophecy articles.

    My email address is nowayinhell@yahoo.com… 🙂

  75. Thank you Michael. I will.

    Was I wrong about von harnack? Is he prototypical of German liberalism theology?

  76. Siggy,

    As with most things, it’s far more complex than that.
    If it interests you, buy a book and study the matter.

    I’m out for a while…

  77. Siggy is clever and has a good sense of humor. We all bump heads every now in then. Hang in there siggy. You seem to be good peeps.

    I was reading Donald Bloesch recently. His definition of evangelical is the one I’d prefer to use.

  78. Oh yeah, so Bloesch basically says that there are evangelicals across all Christian denominations, even in Roman Catholicism. He says the least likely branch to find evangelicals would be the Orthodox because of their roots in mysticism.

  79. But Ben Rapistberger is such a good QB….

  80. Josh,

    What is the definition?

  81. Happy valentine’s day everyone! Much love to you!

  82. Well, its a two volume systematic, so I’d have to give a very poor summary…but I’m good at poor summaries 🙂

    He basically traces Evangelicalism to the council of Orange in 529. Heavy on grace / condemning semi-Pelagianism.
    Evangelical themes are heavy in the writings of Augustine, Ambrose, Bernard of Clairvaux, and Thomas Aquinas.

    Though he obviously discusses much, much more, he centers evangelicalism around the idea of justification by faith. He roots these ideas in the writings of those listed above, along with others including the occasional modern Catholic. He separates Eatsern Orthodoxy on the basis of the concept of theosis, yet points out places where Orthodox though has lined up with Evangelical thought.
    He distinguishes Catholicism from Evangelicalism on the basis of Church authority, yet shows that evangelicals have borrowed much from the Roman Catholic concept of church authority. The evangelicals, however, judge church practice against scripture…or should.
    Another point that he makes in favor of evangelicalism is in the clarity of the Gospel of grace. He argues that that message is more clouded in Catholicism and Orthodoxy, and even more hidden in Liberal Protestantism.
    Finally, he devotes a few pages to “The Bane of Evangelicalism” which keys on many of the things that we speak about in American Evangelicalism.One of those issues is the over focus on the chronology of Eschatology.

    I’m not sure the date of publication. THe issue I have is from 2001. Still, what I read from Bloesch is the evangelicalism I love.

  83. Happy Valentines Day, Dusty…

  84. Josh,

    I’ve heard good things about the set, but haven’t read them…

  85. Thanks to Google…looks like volume 1 was published in 1978, and volume 2 in 1984.

    Which is crazy, because his criticisms of American Evangelicalism still, unfortunately, ring true.

    Of course, his definition would include much of the Anglican world and the vat majority of Lutherans.

    It is great. It avoids extremes on both the right and left, which is kinda how evangelicalism distinguished itself from fundamentalism in the first place.

  86. Another book I just finished, and am writing a report on as we speak…

    Three Views of the Millenium – Edited by Darrell Bock. (Since Eschatology has been mentioned a couple times now)

    This isn’t a good read, or particularly enlightening. If you’ve read one of these books before, it’s sort of a debate book. A representative scholar from each view presents his case, and is then there are follow up comments from the other authors on each view.

    Craig Blaising, a brilliant scholar, repped the premil view. I thought his articel was the weakest of the three, and his responses to the other articles is the best.\

    Still, I’m starting to see eschatology like the picture of the lady. If you look at it a certain way, it looks like an older lady. From a different perspective it looks like a beautiful young lady. Whichever perspective you see first, it is very hard to shake that view from your mind.

    The premillennial view, to me, is the only one that makes biblical sense. I just can’t “unsee” it.

  87. As long as Bloesch is in charge of the definition he can fit anyone in. Lutherans were the original evangelicals but the definition was so narrow that only Lutherans could fit in — in fact it is defined in the Book of Concord. However, over the years the identification has been continually infested by those whose only common interest is that they like the sound of the word. Evangelicals run from Benny Hinn to RC Sproul — someone explain that to me.

    What I don’t understand is why it is so hard to pinpoint what and who is / are evangelicals. I can identify all Lutherans – those who subscribe to the confessions of the Book of Concord. Even the liberal ones still make the subscription and confession.

    Each week there are articles written about the misidentifying of evangelicals. Come on evangelicals – get your act together. 😉

  88. It is impossible to tightly define, because it is a loose group of ideals, not an organization. That has been my issue all along. Not that some stuff under the bi tent of evangelicalism isn’t bad, but that you can’t tar and feather all of it… well, because LCMS is an evangelical denomination, too.

    Bloesch places the birth of evangelicalism 1,000 years before Luther. But hey, what did he know.

    Here’s a list of evangelical denominations…Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod. Hmmm.
    http://www.thearda.com/mapsReports/reports/evangelical.asp

  89. Josh you miss it all — once again.
    Sure, go make a list and add a 1,000 denominations – but the meaning evangelical does not mean today what it did when the Lutheran church began — and at the time they were the only ones using the term.

    Look, just like the term ‘gay’ does not mean what it did 150 years ago – so it is with the word evangelical. So, when a Lutheran would use the term he does not mean what the modern day evangelical means. This is why we will stick with confessional.

  90. “Bloesch places the birth of evangelicalism 1,000 years before Luther. ”

    I don’t buy that…

  91. Waldensians

    evangelical?

  92. MLD – My point all along is that you don’t have a clue what the modern evangelical means when he uses the term. In fact, I’m a modern evangelical, using the term, and you are telling me I don’t mean what I mean. LCMS Lutherans fit every category that would define them as evangelical…and yes, they are on every list you can google that gives evagnelical denominations.

    Michael – You’ have to read Bloesch to catch the nuance. I don’t full buy into ti either, but keep in mind, he is not defining evangelical as an organization, but as a system of thought. Thus, any individuals who espoused a few basic criteria could be labeled as evangelical, even if they were formally Roman Catholic, or whatever.

    Waldensians – No. I don’t think evangelical. I would call them a precursor to fundamentalists, and in that way a precursor to baptists, so while their thoughts have been incorporated in modern evangelicalism, I don’t think Bloesch would call them such. Nor would I.

  93. Josh,

    I think we need to use caution because there is that group that thinks evangelicalism began with the Apostles and was corrupted by the RCC.

    Those people make me drink… 🙂

  94. The Waldensians joined with the Reformed church…good people. 🙂

  95. The scandal of the church in America brought to mind a short poem/story by mark train.
    http://warprayer.org/ . A good read I think.

  96. Richard,

    Thank you….that was profound!

  97. Josh, the modern evangelical doesn’t know what he means when he calls himself an evangelical.
    If I were able to isolate 10 of you and told you to write down 10 things that make you an evangelical (with no Google or research – just what you know or feel) I would get 10 different answers.

    I could say SBC is cereal & confessional and I could build a case. But you would not agree.

  98. Interesting article, Ms ODM.

    From a secular perspective, I remember my neighbor (the mother of two of my childhood friends at the time) promoting Harmonic Convergence in 1987, I think. I was 15 at the time. She liked talking to me because being an avid reader (and a bit of an old soul… in retrospect Parentified), I understood what she was talking about. She also believed, however, that in her past life that she was a Tibetan Llama, though she only told my mom that after my mother explained to her the lineage of the Lhasa Apsos we bred.

    It’s funny, but I get the sense that our CC pastor kind of makes light of himself when he said (just this past Sunday) “it’s the end times, I’m sure of it!” It’s in his tone.

    In the past few years, my mother tried to get me to read The Harbinger. She’s been a “prepper” for as long as I can remember. In the mid ’80s, she bought defunct dishwashers to bury in the ground to store for, which she told me was one thing The Mormons got right. In recent years, she’s tried to Judaize me. Laying on the guilt. I suggested, respectfully, that she read Galatians. I kind of Judaized myself in college, making friends with an Israeli family. Still, there was something significant, I felt, in connecting with an ancient tradition when I celebrated Pesach with them one year.

    Apropos of nothing (I thought), I was reading Luke 12 today during a break at work. …”the master of that servant will come looking for him on a day when he is not aware…” We should always be aware, since any night our souls may be required of us. Such as it has been for almost 2000 years. Faith is believing it, even if the Earth goes on for another 2000.

  99. ” We should always be aware, since any night our souls may be required of us. Such as it has been for almost 2000 years.”

    That’d be imminency, yes?

  100. The only thing guaranteed to be immanent is our mortality. Again, from a secular perspective, the poem “Ozymandias” is profound. Shelley certainly read Ecclesiastes.

  101. Victor
    Yep, that was the joke.

    As far as Ozymandias, now I have to read it. Whole new perspective on the graphic novel “Watchmen”.

  102. Victor

    Preppers are like lawyers. No one likes em until the
    SHTF.

    (Im sure your mom is awesome though 🙂 )

  103. “I am not an “America First” person, but rather a “kingdom of God” first person. The greatest commandment to love God and neighbor and the great commission to take the gospel to the nations has precedence in my life. Nevertheless I deeply love this country and the constitutional structures and freedoms that allows us to be many and yet one, e pluribus unum. What troubles me as a kingdom person who regularly affirms “the communion of the saints” is that this communion often does not extend beyond the church doors–sometimes not even within them! If we cannot model a unity that would consider it a scandal to speak with a divided voice as a church, and sometimes to attribute vicious qualities to our fellow believers with whom we differ. How can we dare call on our political leaders to act with civility and to consider the common good when we will not do this even within the body of Christ!”

    We see today the Natural manifestations of the spiritual tribalism existent even as the Declaration of Independence was signed.
    Mt. 24 Jesus said nation shall rise against nation, kingdom against kingdom. We are commanded to go and preach the Gospel to every nation. Our mission field is no longer a dream of strange languages and lands. God has laid it at our feet. That frightens me to no end for so many reasons. God help my unbelief.

  104. MLD at 99 – You just admit that you (and I) don’t know what evangelical means.

    Yet, that is still the group you constantly condemn as a whole. That has been my point with you all along. You can’t just condemn a whole group of people based on a word that all of those people understand differently. Be more discerning with your tickets to Hell.

  105. #106 Josh

    I think the term “evangelical” defies precise definition. We can try to define it sociologically (the approach of most surveys) and come up with one answer. We can try to define it in terms of ecclesiology (denominations, associations) and come up with another list. We can try to define it historically, tracing traits back through the ages and come up with yet another list. Finally, we can try to define it theologically and come up with yet one more list. None are very satisfactory. I think Bloesch is very good in his analysis, but he looks backward from our current definitions to find evidence, similar to B.B. Warfield’s book on Augustine.

    Just an opinion, but I think evangelicalism is best defined as a “spirit” or “attitude” or “outlook”. I think that’s why we can look across a wide spectrum of traditions and find those we consider “evangelicals”. The term, however, is less a definition of belief and more a description of attitude. For definitions, Lutherans of the conservative stripe have the Book of Concord. Many of us like Xenia and myself have the Creeds. Some conservative Anglicans have the 39 Articles. Yet within all these examples are those we might identify as being “evangelical” in spirit… Again, just an opinion.

  106. Josh,
    I think what I was saying was that you guys don’t know what it means. I think I’m going back to just calling it Pop American Religion.

  107. Here’s another link for you all, courtesy of the Christian Post….

    http://www.christianpost.com/news/god-delivered-us-from-spirit-of-witchcraft-in-the-oval-office-through-trump-says-christian-leader-174746/

    You can’t make this stuff up….

  108. “Pop American Religion”

    PERFECT!

    You do that, and I’ll bring the tar. Pop American Religion is the proverbial handbasket to Hell.

  109. Duane at 107 –

    Exactly. Well said!

    Though you critique Bloesch slightly, I think your second paragraph is a much better summary of what Bloesch defines as evangelical.

    I haven’t read Warfield’s work on Augustine. Is it worth my time?

  110. #111 Josh

    It’s pretty dated. I would, however, commend Robert Wilken, ‘The Spirit of Early Christian Thought’ (2015). He was a fairly conservative Lutheran (when I knew him) who had been under the tutelage of Arthur Carl Piepkorn, but has since made his way to Rome. He has, however, a very “evangelical” feel to his writing. I think you might like it…

  111. Dan @109, wow, looks like the Christian Post has become more of a parody than the Babylon Bee. I would disagree with the claim that the Women’s March was a manifestation of demonic rebellion against God’s gift called Trump, but who am I? Sanity is so out of style these days.

  112. We could go by the definition of “What is an Evangelical” from the National Association of Evangelicals’ website.
    “Evangelicals take the Bible seriously and believe in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.” –

    So there you go.

    Josh, your beef shouldn’t be with me – I think your beef is with yourself. You are frustrated because you want to call yourself and evangelical – but you either can’t define it or you cannot articulate it.

    I only pointed out 2 points –
    (1) I do not want to be labeled with a term that I don’t know what it is – as I say, if someone wants to know what a Lutheran is, I can point them the the definitive works.
    (2) Whenever someone self describes, in some detail as an evangelical, I can state why I am not one.

    There are 2 main points that keep several groups out of the evangelical camp. You may note that none of the groups who baptize unto actual salvation identify as evangelical, and pretty much the same groups do not acknowledge a “born again” experience in the same way and do not offer up testimonies to confirm such.

    My question above was pretty much doesn’t anyone else find it odd all the blog articles on the internet asking what is evangelicalism or who is an evangelical? Let alone, what do evangelicals think?

  113. Oh geez. You were doing so good. Condemn whoever you want to condemn then. Your listener is broke.

    Duane, I’ll check it out. Thanks!

  114. EricL (#113), yeah I agree. I peruse the Christian Post from time to time, but more so to see how ridiculous some parts of our faith have become. I mean, c’mon, do I really care that the Benham brothers prayed for “Murica during the Super Bowl half-time show?!? That is good in a way, but smacks of “hey, look what we are doing for God…”

    And I agree with you about the women’s marches. Who is this so-called “christian thought leader” – whatever that means – to assume he speaks for the church using such inflammatory rhetoric?

  115. #113

    “Christian Post, Lance Wallnau, Jim Bakker, and Tony Campolo…”

    There’s a punchline somewhere.

    Or maybe it’s an anti-joke.

    … walk into a bar. MLD ducks.”

    I know my take is pedantic, but here goes…

    good news, מְבַשֵּׂ֥ר me·vas·ser 1319 to bear tidings a prim. root
    http://biblehub.com/lexicon/isaiah/52-7.htm

    http://biblehub.com/interlinear/isaiah/61-1.htm

    http://biblehub.com/interlinear/revelation/14-6.htm

    Maybe the question of classifying it is being raised because not many of us are doing it anymore, thinking it’s something it isn’t?

    Maybe evangelical isnt so easy to define because like Bloesch argues (evidently, I didn’t pick it up yesterday afternoon and read it like Duane apparently can do… Can I have your brain, Duane? Just to copy some files 🙂 ) it is not doctrinal or methodological but practical. Maybe I am putting something in the wash that’s been hung out to dry, but could it be that “evangelical” is simply “bearing” out the great commission by “bearing” God’s name without reproach,

    “bearing” the Good News to our neighbours that the victory is won ,

    “bearing” our cross daily.

    Perhaps, if we must define a group, it is those whom we can identify by the fruit in and of their life. This is why it is not defined by denomination.

    How small a catch this broad definition might make of the church.

    Luke 16:10-16

  116. #115 Josh

    If you’ve not read it, before anything else (!) read Robert Webber’s “Common Roots”. It’s straight forward and really connects the early Church and evangelical thought. It was a “life changer” for me and a number of people that I know.

    If there are other things that you want suggestions on in my area, feel free to get in touch. Michael has my email.

    In terms of your “discussion” with MLD, I can only say my view of the faith is a bit more broad and expansive. I have found that “evangelical” spirit among Anglicans, Lutherans, Roman Catholics, Orthodox, Mennonites, Charismatics and, yes, even among those in the CCA and Baptists! I also recognize that most of us are on a pilgrimage of faith. When I knew Jaroslav Pelikan, he was a Lutheran… he died as Orthodox. A student of mine from 30 years ago was a committed Baptist. He called me the other day and he’s now an Anglican priest. Most of us recognize that we’re on a journey and that journey will be slightly different for each of us…

  117. #117

    Sorry to disappoint… I’ve known Donald’s work for years. Now, relying on memory for something you’ve read years before (or even a month ago) is another matter.

  118. I haven’t read Common Roots, and now I will. Thanks again.

    I agree with all you are saying in terms of the ever elusive “evangelicalism”.

    I’ve probably mentioned it to you before, but I’m a 42 yr old seminary student. Basically, I aspire to be you one day 🙂

    So any recommendation you have, know that I take it seriously and do appreciate it.

  119. Just GIMME the files, Duane! 🙂

  120. Now we are into “the spirit of evangelicalism”?
    Why don’t we just say that evangelicalism is the wing of Christianity that delivers the warm fuzzies and we will make the evangelical fight song – “He lives, He lives, salvation to impart!
    You ask me how I know He lives: He lives within my heart.”

  121. #120 Josh

    You’re too kind. I just remember all the fantastic people who helped me along the way and want to “play it forward”…

  122. #122 MLD

    Well, we can’t all be like you, saying Mass and singing in Latin…

  123. Not the spirit of evangelicalism, but by the Spirit evangelism…
    Wasn’t it by the Spirit of the Lord evangelizing amidst the Spirit of the Age that allowed the Gospel to be heard?
    Not by warm fuzzies but by faithfulness and persecution. Maybe?
    “You ask me how I know He lives: He lives within my heart.” Don’t knock Keith Green, man!

  124. The current definitions have now brought evangelism to the threshold of being gnostic sentimentalism. 😉

    Again my point – it shouldn’t be this hard to define.

    Francis Schaeffer had a similar problem when he labeled his brand of Christianity as ‘Bible Believing Christianity’ – as if there is such a thing as a ‘Bible denying Christian’. But he made it up.

  125. MLD
    Maybe I’m missing something. Wouldn’t be the first time.

    Gnosticism is being led by the Holy Spirit? Not so. By the Spirit is according to His word. John 17, right? “Your word is truth.” Is it Gnosticism to realize that illiterate goyim took the Word they heard and by the Spirit evangelized powerfully and accurately, according to that Word?

  126. Siggy,
    Is that how you define evangelicalism?

    Do not confuse the evangelical movement with the gift of evangelism – they are not the same thing.

    I can be heavy on evangelizing without being an evangelical.

  127. It seems to me that the definitions are more like descriptions.

    As I recall the marks of evangelicalism were;

    An emphasis on the “born again” experience
    A belief in the inerrancy of Scripture
    An emphasis on a personal relationship with Christ

    That’s pretty broad,but so is the group…

  128. IMO, it is practical, per my post at #117

    Since the only definitionin scripture is carrying God’s message (Good News or bad news), and was being carried out before the church, and then before any denominations, it is not an -ism, does not exist execept in name only, not being defined by a set of theological or ideological beliefs. It is simply evidence of a life found in Him. Not merely words, that is, but good works – Not salvific but fruit of sanctification

    ?

  129. “An emphasis on the “born again” experience
    A belief in the inerrancy of Scripture
    An emphasis on a personal relationship with Christ”

    I think that sums it up. Maybe that’s why it still can be heard being practiced in nearly every group.

  130. Inerrancy was never part of it. Authority of Scripture is, but does not have to be inerrancy. In fact Bloesch calls an over focus on inerrancy error.

  131. J2theB

    Inerrancy in the original tongues ?

  132. Sorry,

    Inerrancy in the original manuscripts?

  133. AS I recall, guys like narrowed it down to 4 things –
    Focus on evangelism
    High view of Scripture
    Born again experience

    The fourth slips my mind. Crap. There were four though, I know. But it was just an opinion like everyone else. Bloesch would be much broader in his view.

  134. Josh @132,

    You’re right…I misspoke.
    It was authority, not inerrancy.

  135. Siggy – Yes. Innerancy is defined as no errors in the original manuscripts. It was codified in maybe, the 70’s (?) with the Chicago Statement. I believe in inerrancy, as stipulated by that document, but it has not always been vital for being evangelical.

  136. The 4th MAY have been substitutionary atonement.

    It’s driving me nuts. I’m pretty sure it was Geisler who defined it, and there was a fourth point.

  137. I can see it as not being vital for being evangelical in the practical sense, but in personal belief it seems like it would make any scripture used in evangelism to seem less substantial, and thus damaging to the one bringing the Good News every time it is preached.

    Interesting

  138. These are the four on nae.net :

    Conversionism: the belief that lives need to be transformed through a “born-again” experience and a life long process of following Jesus
    Activism: the expression and demonstration of the gospel in missionary and social reform efforts
    Biblicism: a high regard for and obedience to the Bible as the ultimate authority
    Crucicentrism: a stress on the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross as making possible the redemption of humanity

    Crucucentrism (?That’s a word?) Seems sorta like Substitutionary Atonement, so I think that was probably the fourth .

  139. Inerrancy is a specific doctrine that I agree with, but it has a lot of political baggage. I understand people who don’t want to use that term but still “believe in the bible”. It was used a weapon to take out political opponents in the SBC of the 80’s, so I recognize that their are lots of sore spots attached to the term.

  140. It’s interesting that when I looked at the statement of faith from Wheaton College, in their preface they say the following:
    “The statement accordingly reaffirms salient features of the historic Christian creeds, thereby identifying the College not only with the Scriptures but also with the reformers and the evangelical movement of recent years.”

    What I find interesting is that broad inclusion of “the evangelical movement of recent years” without definition of what constitutes “evangelical”…

  141. So to finish my talk on Evangelical for the day, because I’ve been railing on this for years…our conversation here proves my point.

    My argument has never been that evangelicals were good or bad, only that is was useless to use as a classification for condemning someone. By every definition we’ve posted, and any list of evangelical denominations, every one who posts on this board (with the exception of Xenia) would fall squarely into the evangelical fold. It makes no sense to say Evangelicals are evil (or evangelicals are great) when we can’t even say what an evangelical is.

    I would love to see us be more precise. If you think mega-churches are evil, just say that. If you think contemporary music is evil, just say that. At least we could discuss the merit behind those arguments. Evangelicals are evil is just stupid. It is self-hatred at best, bearing false-witness at worst.

  142. Josh – you are still wrong. A Lutheran puts no emphasis on his “born again” experience. In most cases the only remnant of an experience is a baptismal certificate handed down from the parents.

    My wife was born a Lutheran and has no so to speak first hand knowledge of her born again “experience” – it was relayed to her by her parents..

    So, we Lutherans do not fall squarely into your evangelical circle (as you have described it) at all.

    But as usual you have run t the extremes – who has called evangelicals evil? Is that your take away that if their is a criticism, that is equivalent to calling it evil? Trust me, you can be wrong but not evil.

  143. #143 Josh

    It’s a good point. I think “evangelical” is used as a “catch phrase” without precise definition. Before you take offense, however, we often use catch phrases for others as well. Such as “Catholics are all… (fill in the blank)”. Are we talking about devout Catholics who live out their faith, attend Mass regularly, etc.; or are we talking about a baptized Catholic who never darkens the door of a parish church apart from weddings and funerals? If I say “Lutherans are all… (fill in the blank)”, am I talking about European state churches, the ELCA, LCMS, Wisconsin Synod…? You see what I’m saying. I know devout Anglicans and I know Anglican whom I believe are destroying the Church.

    The question seems to be, how do we speak of non-homogeneous believers who, while attached to a certain tradition, may or may not embody that tradition…

    No answer, just a question.

  144. According to some at Wheaton and Liberty, to the best of my recollection, Sun Myung Moon was an evangelical as long as the funds were evangelical. But wasn’t he only evangelical about himself and his wife? That’s why the statement is so broad, maybe?

  145. MLD – do you deny Jesus’s words to Nicodemus?

  146. “The question seems to be, how do we speak of non-homogeneous believers who, while attached to a certain tradition, may or may not embody that tradition…’

    Exactly…

  147. Josh – no
    God ‘born agains’ people – so where is the experience?

  148. Josh,

    While I will cop to imprecision here, what do we do with polls and surveys that address what “evangelicals” think and believe?

  149. “The question seems to be, how do we speak of non-homogeneous believers who, while attached to a certain tradition, may or may not embody that tradition…”

    Exactly, Duane. You can’t. That’s why I’d prefer to talk about the issues rather than broad brush an entire group. Even in this conversation, I’ve been clear to say LCMS. I know that ELCA is WAY more liberal, so it makes no sense to say “Liberals believe”. Evagelical is even broader and harder to pinpoint.

  150. “God ‘born agains’ people – so where is the experience?”

    Sounds like you just described it.

  151. We know that those polls mean “White Conservative Protestant”

  152. #153 Josh

    Not so fast, my friend! In most polls and surveys the respondents self-identify as “evangelicals”. Now, do we take them at their word? Do we say they are lying? Do we say, “Well, they not met my test for being an evangelical”? So let me change my question from above…

    The question seems to be, how do we speak of non-homogeneous believers who self identify as being attached to a certain tradition and may or may not embody that tradition…

  153. No, I disagree, Duane.

    If you look at the check boxes on the survey, White Protestant Conservatives are pushed into “Evangelical”.

    Even given that, broad-brushing all of them is still useless.

  154. But that is God’s experience.

    Look, you have fought a good fight to show that all are just like you. I find it funny that you refuse to make any distinction for evangelical – anything that makes the evangelical different. Since there is no distinction in your mind, why even use the terminology – what do you get out of it?

    As I said, it is as worthless as describing yourself as a Bible Believing Christian – big deal, who isn’t?.

  155. Josh

    Not to be pedantic – but can you reference that survey? In the Pew surveys and a number of others, there are boxes for mainline Protestants as well. Example – our Supreme Court nominee. He goes to a liberal mainline Episcopal Church, but is definitely a conservative, but not an evangelical. So, where is he in the survey?

  156. I’m fine with dumping the terminology. I rarely use it at all.

    I am Baptist.

    If you condemned all Baptists, I could argue with you, agree with you…at least I’d know what you are talking about.

    If you condemn all evangelicals, it just doesn’t make any sense.

    Bible Believing Christian is MUCH more descriptive than evangelical.

  157. mainline Protestants – but that wouldn’t be conservative.

    And sorry, I am speaking of conservative theology rather than politics. Should have been more clear.

  158. Josh,

    I agree that it should not be a “broad-brush”. The problem in my mind has to do with all those who proudly plaster the name “evangelical” all over whatever they are doing (think Falwell, Graham, etc.) whether is is politics, music, movies, rallies, books, publishing houses, etc.
    They are saying who they are, or at least believe themselves to be… It seems to me that they are wielding the “broad brush” as much as anyone…

  159. Yes. I think the term is useless to either condemn a large group, or commend a large group. I think there are ways of being more precise in either case.

    I could rail on Falwell all day long, and never even think of the word evangelical.

  160. #161

    You know, I could sit on a church platform (or chancel) with you, Michael, Kevin, Jean, even MLD… I could not in good conscience before God sit on one with Falwell. Perhaps, though, that says more about me than it does about him…

  161. “mainline Protestants – but that wouldn’t be conservative.”

    Now who is making the judgment and broadbrushing. Lutherans are mainline protestants and we are not liberal (at least the WELS, ELS, LCMS, AALC and other letters)

    So it seems like from above you have limited evangelical to non mainline – you are making progress.

  162. Same here…and Franklin is no better.

  163. Duane,

    I’m right there with you…I couldn’t sit with him or Franklin Graham…at least not without a brawl starting. 🙂

  164. That is on a political survey. There are boxes for the mainline denominations.

    I don’t think LCMS is mainline.

  165. Josh,

    I think this has been valuable…I’m still not sure what to do with it all,but I think it’s been good to wrestle with.

  166. All

    PEW Survey always places LCMS as Evangelical… Sorry, MLD

  167. Hey, if we’re now fighting about the definition of mainline denominations, we Philadelphians have something to say about that:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/william-b-bradshaw/mainline-churches-past-pr_b_4087407.html

  168. #165 Michael

    You’d have to be careful in that brawl… Falwell prides himself on “packing heat”. Now, that says something about him…

  169. Duane – is that the definitive describer in America – the Pew survey?

    It’s like the Calvinism / Arminian debates — it’s like those are the only views in the discussion – no, there is also the Lutheran view. The same with this here – you are either Evangelical or you are… well, Evangelical.

    The same with the classification Catholic / Protestant / EO – — no there is also Lutheran.

    Lutherans are so different, we even refuse to be categorized by the Pew folks.

  170. Mainline should probably be renamed Flatline.

  171. #171 MLD

    Ask a high-church Anglican if he’s Protestant and he’ll probably throw his biretta at you…

    Seriously, on religious matters, PEW does seem to provide the template…

  172. http://www.challies.com/articles/why-i-wont-be-seeing-or-reviewing-the-shack?utm_content=buffer0ed5a&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=buffer

    Here’s a late addition.

    I’d call it “A study in Missing the Point”

    Or “Legalism 101”

    Or “If I stop Being a Christian, this is Why”

    Or “Here’s an article about a horrible movie…that I haven’t seen. In fact, no one has seen it. But WE KNOW IT’S HORRIBLE”

    I just rolled my eyes so hard, I saw my brain.

    I honestly don’t go see many movies. Just the Star Wars movies, and an occasional animated feature if the kids talk me into it.

    I thought the Shack was a below average fiction book, that tried to present metaphorical images of how God relates to man. Some were more successful than others. I would assume this movie will be just as cheezy and subpar as all other Christian flicks – God’s Not Dead, Fireproof, Blue like Jazz,…and all the others, that I don’t care to ever watch again, and only do if they are on in someone’s home.

    Now, I shall be first in line to buy a ticket for The Shack. I may even take friends.

  173. I am pretty much like Josh – other than 2 or 3 kid movies with the grandkids each year, we don’t go. The last big people movie we went to was Mama Mia – 2008.

    I find reviewers frustrating as there is no objective view – and to listen to Christian friends for viewpoints on a movie is worthless.

    The Christian community was all upset with The Last Temptation of Christ and all over themselves about The Passion of Christ.

    The Last Temptation actually was very Biblical in that it was the logical extension of what Jesus probably went through – while the Passion really was nothing more than blood and guts pornography.

  174. And I saw neither one. Maybe had Challies tried to scare me out of watching them, I’d have gone to those too.

  175. Last Temptation was in 1988 – you were probably still in Pampers – 😉

  176. Nah. 13 or 14. Certainly not interested in anything that heavy sounding though. I do remember the big scuttle about it in the news. Didn’t the director get banned from certain and stuff because of it? May have to look it up after all 🙂

  177. My church at the time of Passion of the Christ (when I was on staff with Furtick) was pushing that movie hard. You have to go see it. It is crucial to your spiritual life. Packed up buses…the whole lot. I finally made my protest formal.

    Josh, are you going?

    No

    Why not?

    Cause you said I have to.

  178. Josh,
    The big thing nowadays here in the Midwest is to make a pilgrimage to Ken Ham’s Creation Museum. For $60.00 a ticket you can buy the Museum/Ark Combo package.

  179. For the spiritual growth you will gain, $60 is a steal.

    Wait a second, I’m looking at my brain again.

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