According to some Christian outlooks we were made for another world. Perhaps, rather, we were made for this world to recreate, reclaim, redeem, and renew unto God's future aspiration by the power of His Spirit. - R.E. Slater
Secularization theory has been massively falsified. We don't live in an age of secularity. We live in an age of explosive, pervasive religiosity... an age of religious pluralism. - Peter L. Berger
Exploring the edge of life and faith in a post-everything world. - Todd Littleton
I don't need another reason to believe, your love is all around for me to see. – anon
Thou art our need; and in giving us more of thyself thou givest us all. - Khalil Gibran, Prayer XXIII
Be careful what you pretend to be. You become what you pretend to be. - Kurt Vonnegut
Religious beliefs, far from being primary, are often shaped and adjusted by our social goals. - Jim Forest
People, even more than things, need to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone. – anon
Certainly God's love has made fools of us all. - R.E. Slater
An apocalyptic Christian faith doesn't wait for Jesus to come, but for Jesus to become in our midst. - R.E. Slater
Christian belief in God begins with the cross and resurrection of Jesus, not with rational apologetics. - Eberhard Jüngel, Jürgen Moltmann
Our knowledge of God is through the 'I-Thou' encounter, not in finding God at the end of a syllogism or argument. There is a grave danger in any Christian treatment of God as an object. The God of Jesus Christ and Scripture is irreducibly subject and never made as an object, a force, a power, or a principle that can be manipulated. - Emil Brunner
Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh means "I will be that who I have yet to become." - God (Ex 3.14)
Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. - Thomas Merton
The church is God's world-changing social experiment of bringing unlikes and differents to the Eucharist/Communion table to share life with one another as a new kind of family. When this happens we show to the world what love, justice, peace, reconciliation, and life together is designed by God to be. The church is God's show-and-tell for the world to see how God wants us to live as a blended, global, polypluralistic family united with one will, by one Lord, and baptized by one Spirit. – anon
The cross that is planted at the heart of the history of the world cannot be uprooted. - Jacques Ellul
The Unity in whose loving presence the universe unfolds is inside each person as a call to welcome the stranger, protect animals and the earth, respect the dignity of each person, think new thoughts, and help bring about ecological civilizations. - John Cobb & Farhan A. Shah
If you board the wrong train it is of no use running along the corridors of the train in the other direction. - Dietrich Bonhoeffer
God's justice is restorative rather than punitive; His discipline is merciful rather than punishing; His power is made perfect in weakness; and His grace is sufficient for all. – anon
Our little [biblical] systems have their day; they have their day and cease to be. They are but broken lights of Thee, and Thou, O God art more than they. - Alfred Lord Tennyson

Sunday, June 12, 2011

You Might Be An Evangelical Reject If…






by Kurt Willems
posted June 6, 2011

I wish it were otherwise, but, unfortunately it’s true. Everything within me resisted this realization. But, the time has come to admit it: I’m an Evangelical reject.

The more I write the clearer this sad truth becomes. This blog, as much as it’s served as a place to flesh out ideas I believe to be central to expressing the euangelion (gospel [hence, evangelical]) in our day to our culture, also continues to damage my reputation in the evangelical circles that I run in.

I’ve had friends distance themselves from me because they think my views blindly accommodate for twenty-first century secular culture. Colleagues question my commitment to the Scriptures. Past and present church members discuss my heretical views behind my back. To top it all off, one time, in an angry email, a passage was quoted to me from one of the letters to Timothy that talked about false teachers. I’m an evangelical reject. And today, I’ve decided to embrace it.

The question is, what makes this so? Why do I get accused of heresy on the regular? Before I get to that, maybe there’s a bit of explaining on my end that’s necessary. Do I consider myself an Evangelical? Yes. But in these interesting times, different people want that word to mean different things. I am with Roger Olson (although, more tempted to throw out this term than he is) who has struggled with the label recently. He states:
All labels have their problems and, to be sure “evangelical” is fraught with them. But I am not giving it up. Instead, I will fight for it. To me, it is virtually synonymous with “God-fearing, Bible-believing, Jesus-loving” Christianity. Of course, that needs unpacking also.

One thing I find helpful when talking to someone or a group with time to listen is to distinguish between the evangelical ethos and the evangelical movement. I see myself as participating in both, but I am more comfortable claiming the evangelical ethos than I am identifying with the evangelical movement– at least as it is viewed by most people.

So, most of the time, when I say I am evangelical I mean I am a Protestant Christian who believes authentic Christianity requires a conversion experience of regeneration and that faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and repentance for sin are necessarily included in that.
In so far that evangelical means the belief in repentance and conversion into a genuine relationship with Jesus Christ through the abiding presence of the Holy Spirit, the term describes me. What I continue to find, is that such a central conviction is NOT enough to appease those who want the term to mean other things. So, based on my experiences, I want to let you know that: You Might Be an Evangelical Reject If…
  • You’re uncomfortable calling other branches of Christianity “apostate.”
  • You worry that those who cling to terms like “orthodox” often do so because they believe it to be synonymous with “Neo-Calvinism.”
  • You have significant questions about controversial theological “hot button” issues of the day and are some-what comfortable with the subsequent cognitive dissonance.
  • You’ve been asked to leave a church leadership position for philosophical / theological reasons.
  • You had a “love wins” sticker on the back of your car before the book controversy was even thought of.
  • You read theologians from all across the spectrum.
  • You think that science and scripture both reveal God’s truth in complementary ways.
  • You think that what we believe about the so called “end times” actually matters for how we do mission today.
  • You know that living the truth is more important than defending it logically.
  • You recognize culture wars as pathetic attempts for Christians to grab for power.
  • You don’t use the word inerrancy to describe biblical authority because its too rigid a definition and a modernist categorical imposition on the Holy Spirit inspired Scriptures.
  • You think women should do anything BUT be silent in the church. (Can I get an AMEN from my sistas?)
  • You think that postmodern philosophy helps theology more than it hurts it.
  • You drink alcohol sometimes (in public).
  • You endorse someone that has been deemed a heretic by www.apprising.org
  • You believe that there are significant parallels between the Roman Empire of the 1st Century and the United States of modern day.
  • You believe social justice is central to the gospel of the Kingdom.
  • You throw up a little in your mouth every time someone says that “the rapture is coming soon, so what’s the fuss with taking care of the planet? Lets save souls!”
  • You’ve said “I’m not that kind of Christian…”
  • You considered or actually voted democratic in the last two elections.
  • You think that African American Activists have valid points when it comes to justice issues.
  • You have gay friends.
  • You’ve been in a conversation where the other was appealing more to the constitution of the USA than actually biblical theology.
  • You’re also an Anabaptist
Question: How would you end the following sentence: You might be an Evangelical Reject If…
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Disclaimer: This blog does not reflect the views of any group or organization that I am associated with. For more on my theological convictions see the Beliefs page.