Saturday, August 8, 2009

Essential Evangelicalism

The state of Evangelicalism is the subject of Phil Johnson's blogpost yesterday. He compares the current character of the movement with Evangelicalism's foundational doctrines and finds that many of these truths have been vacated by a large number who claim the title. Many teachings which were previously considered essential and settled have increasingly been re-opened to negotiation by postmodernists who have commandeered the movement while others who might still hold technically to the historical essential truths have allowed themselves to be distracted by fads, trends, and PR concerns.

John MacArthur makes a similar case in chapter 7 of his book, The Truth War, pointing out that methodology and pragmatism have replaced theology and faithful proclamation of the truth in modern evangelicalism. On page 149 MacArthur says,

"The sad truth is that the larger part of the evangelical movement is already so badly compromised that sound doctrine has almost become a nonissue."

So neo-evangelicalism has both been infiltrated by those pretenders who deny the historical Scriptural truths of the faith and by those who deny that these truths can be affirmed with any certainty. In addition, there are those who are willing, when pressed, to acknowledge the validity of the foundational doctrines but are distracted by chasing the latest trend in pragmatic methodology, marketing, or showmanship. Still others fail to assert the truth out of fear that its bold proclamation will dishearten would-be "seekers".

Interestingly, the more wishy-washy and devoid of orthodoxy the mainstream denominations become, the more they continue to lose membership. But even were this not the case, gaining membership into an undefined organization which borrows a few labels but does not identify its core beliefs is not the goal of the Church. The Church must boldly proclaim and teach the truth. There will be those who accept and receive it, and there will be those who reject it. Let them at least have the opportunity to hear it.