Monday, October 19

A Shot Across the Bow of the Evangelical Church. ECT??

In a day when doctrine is at the least repressed or at worst, totally ignored, many seem more interested in "getting together" (fellowship) than standing for the truth of the Gospel. For many of us, the action on the part of so many of our respected leaders to not only sign but support the Evangelical and Catholics Together (ECT) movement is disconcerting in light of our stance on biblical doctrine and upon reformational theology. And while some have patently expressed their misgivings about the concord doctrinally, still they did affix to it their name. We would not promote division among God's people to be sure. But neither can we engage in the kind of pandering that blurs necessary doctrinal differences. I often share with classes at church that though I am reformed in belief, my love for those in the Arminian camp is unabated. And I refuse to wave any flag except "Jesus Christ and Him crucified." Calvinism may be a negative term to many. I do not believe such doctrines because Calvin held to them, but because they are biblical. I respect any who clearly proclaim Jesus Christ as the only Lord and Savior and call for faith in him alone plus nothing! And while they may disagree with my approach, I trust they'd grant me the same respect. But we must be extremely careful of aligning ourselves with those whose doctrines run counter to foundational theological truth. And while we freely admit that there may be spiritually strong individuals within the Roman Catholic tradition, it is in my opinion in spite of their doctrines and not because of them. (Perhaps the same accusation could justly be leveled against many evangelical churches!)

I know that numbers of evangelical leaders have written to the subject of an effete and anti-intellectual evangelicalism. And rightly so. There are numerous critiques wisely assessing the current evangelical malaise. (One of the weakest points has been the fundamental/evangelical skittishness regarding the nature of spirituality. In our rush to "get people saved," we lost the beauty of spirituality and short-circuited the process of growth). But I continue. The problem is not necessarily in the critic's diagnoses, but in their prescription. We do not need to leave reformational truth and align ourselves with other traditions. We need to reform what we have! If we are anti-intellectual, then let us foster the life of the mind, not, as it were, throw evangelicalism "under the bus" through compromise!

Further, we do not need to "emerge," or find ways to reach postmoderns, or hold hands with Rome. What we DO need to do is to repent of our unbelief in the power of the Word of God (1 Kings 13). Let us repent as well of our practical denial of the work of the Holy Spirit, and of prayerlessness. (The prayerlessness of the evangelical movement is not necessarily the cause of her ineffectiveness in the world, but it most certainly underscores their faithlessness in the power of God. We would aver, however, that prayerlessness does indeed contribute a great deal to the church's pervasive weakness and propensity to turn away to lesser methods). Let us especially repent of our low and God-denying view of His sovereign glory as the uniting factor of man's very existence.

After repenting, let us affirm loudly and zealously that we are not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, for it is the "power of God unto salvation" (Rom. 1:16). Further, let us strongly promote spiritual growth as is found in 2 Peter 1:3 ff. We already have everything we need for life and godliness. What need we seeking concert elsewhere? "To whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life" (John 6:68). TO WHOM INDEED!

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