If this is your first trip to my blog in the last 24 hours or in the last few days, don’t forget to scroll down past this article and see the ones on answers to prayer. They are encouraging and uplifting.
However, I really want to write this even though I’m in the midst of a series on prayer. I posted a book review on Nov. 27. In that review, I called A High View of Scripture! a must read for Evangelicals. I got to thinking about whether I really meant that. After all, the book is a bit scholarly, it’s written on a subject only some Evangelicals would be interested in, the author repeats himself too much, and it’s not something most Evangelicals would be open to changing their mind on.
It’s that last point that hit me. Yes, I think the book is a must read, even if it’s scholarly. It’s not really boring, but even if it were, it would still be worth reading. The subject is important. IMPORTANT!!! Can I shout it a bit. IMPORTANT!!!
Don’t people realize how badly Christianity is failing? Doesn’t anyone care? Evangelicals talk about reaching the world, but we Christians are losing to scientists, atheists, and the immoral right here in America. Jesus said that the world would know we’re his disciples by our love for one another, but we are famous for our fights, divisions, and condemning attitudes, not our love. He said that the world would know he was sent from God by our unity, but if there’s anything Evangelicals are not known for, it’s unity.
Do we not want to change that?
Maybe Evangelicals don’t understand that if you do the same things over and over again, you will get the same results. There are a few people in our churches that are so committed to Christ that they learn to live by the power of the Spirit of God. Everyone else produces either division or lifeless Christianity because they’re carnal. You can get them fired up by revivals or camp meetings, but after a while they simply return to producing lifelessness because they’re carnal.
The problem in Evangelicalism is not in the commitment of our church members, it’s in the message.
Evangelicals across the board say that “the Bible is our sole rule for faith and practice,” but it’s simply not true. All of them, with only the rarest of exceptions, cling to pet doctrines that are not to be questioned, no matter how obviously false they are.
The book I reviewed, A High View of Scripture?, challenges one of those pet doctrines that is pervasive in Evangelical circles. It challenges the role of Scripture, and it even challenges our conception of the canon of Scripture. It’s historical, it’s obviously accurate, it’s written by a believer in the inspiration of the Scriptures, and it’s published by a respected Evangelical publisher (BakerAcademic, a branch of Baker Books). Nonetheless, almost no one will drop what they’re doing and actually read the book.
It’s not that people need to listen to me in particular. It’s that I wish they’d listen to somebody. My complaint is that there are so few people who actually care. Who’s broken-hearted over the state of the churches? Who’s willing to look at the very root of their faith? Who’s willing to make some hard choices, overthrow some pet doctrines, kick down some sacred cows, and do some suffering in order to love and in order to bring about the unity that lets the world know that Jesus was sent by the Father? Who’s willing to help Jesus have the only kind of disciples he wants: those that are willing to hate their own lives, take up their cross, and forsake all they own? (Luke 14:26-33). Where are the real Bible-believers? Not those who speak highly about plenary, verbal inspiration and argue vehemently for a canon of 66 books, but those who are willing to be instructed, corrected, rebuked, and changed by the Scriptures so that they can be thoroughly equipped for every good work? (2 Tim. 3:16-17). We must be doers of the Word and not arguers and disputers only!
It’s time to kick over some sacred cows, question the traditions that are failing, and take up ones that work. Only the brave and those who care will be able to do it. Of course, cowards will be thrown in the lake of fire (Rev. 21:8), so it might be good to get some courage.