Saturday, December 20, 2008

'Evangelical' identity crisis?

Once in a while you will start questioning who are you, or which side do you belong to in your faith-community? Are you a 'conservative'? A 'liberal'?

An Evangelical? Left or Right Evangelical?

Michael Bird exercised some ethnicity categorization within the 'Reformed Evangelical'. He listed 8 characteristics of a group that think themselves as 'Reformed':
(1) They are more excited about all the things that they are against than anything that they are for;

(2) They preach justification by faith, but in actuality practice justification by polemics;

(3) They appear to believe in the inerrancy of a confession over the suffiency of the gospel;

(4) They believe in the doctrines of grace, but do not treat others with grace;

(5) They believe that unity is overrated;

(6) They like doctrines about Jesus more than Jesus himself (and always defer to the Epistles over the Gospels);

(7) mission means importing their debates and factions to other churches; and

(8) The word "adiaphora" is considered an almost expletive.
It would be interesting if Bird give some names. But he knows it's dangerous to be politically incorrect. If he did, he will have to skip some of his classes just to respond to critics.

On the other hand, John Stackhouse from Regent College, was asking when is a conservative Evangelical not conservative. In the post, he highlighted something interesting about F.F. Bruce, who is regarded as the 'dean of Evangelical Biblical scholars':
The late, great New Testament scholar F. F. Bruce refused to call himself a “conservative evangelical,” because he wanted to follow the Bible wherever it led, whether it confirmed “conservative” opinion or not.
That tempted me to refused to call myself "conservative Christian", as I want to follow wherever the on-going discovery of God and the stuffs in his world.

If you ask me whether do I care to see myself as an 'Evangelical', honestly, that doesn't bother. Neither should it on you. Our social identity is sealed in someone more profound than demographic labels, right?


godwordistruth said...

"They like doctrines about Jesus more than Jesus himself (and always defer to the Epistles over the Gospels"

John 14:25-36 "These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.

"(3) They appear to believe in the in errancy of a confession over the sufficiency of the gospel;"

Huh ?

Rubati Rabbit said...

How about this for an identity?

"The Anglican Communion has no peculiar thought, practice, creed or confession of its own. It has only the Catholic Faith of the ancient Catholic Church, as preserved in the Catholic Creeds and maintained in the Catholic and Apostolic constitution of Christ's Church from the beginning."

Dr Geoffrey Fisher, Archbishop of Canterbury, 1945-1961

Rubati Rabbit said...

Although... I am fascinated as to how you manage to have kenneth leading the small group beside you.