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To Redeem Evangelical Brand, Call Out Evangelicalists

Sat, Feb. 11, 2017 Posted: 01:16 PM


Yes, Evangelicalists.

Many evangelicals are worried that the word evangelical has forever lost its meaning, and is now quite ineffective as a tool for presenting the good news of the Gospel. It’s not quite there, but is on life support. This is not trivial because fundamental to the word is that salvation is through Christ alone. Evangelicals, therefore, are those who bring this good news to a world in need. But more than being messengers of the good news, evangelicals were meant to adorn certain uncompromising biblical ethos and mores that distinguish them as true ambassadors of Christ.

The Church is now beginning to recognize that it has an internal problem, with a section of the community of faith being assailed by teachings that are contrary to scriptures. These teaching are spreading at a rate that threatens to render the evangelical brand completely irredeemable. But what the church is failing to do, is to confront these heretic teachings and those who propagate them, in a meaningful way. There has to be a public renunciation and denunciation of these teachings so that the world is not confused as to where the Church stands. Church history advises that this must be done early and decisively. Otherwise, pernicious teachings and doctrines will take root, divide and weaken the Church, and destroy a generation of evangelicals.

These worrisome teachings are not accidental or incidental. They are deliberate assertions of people with self-serving motives that are not in harmony with the cause of Christ. They are radicals who use the bible as a cover for their own cause. Paul describes and contrasts them with true evangelicals in Philippians 1:15-17 "Some indeed preach Christ even from envy and strife, and some also from goodwill: The former preach Christ from selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my chains; but the latter out of love, knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the gospel." The “former” are the evangelicalists.

Evangelicalists are self-identified evangelicals motivated more by partisan, political ideology than by any real devotion to orthodox evangelical principles. They are not true evangelicals, and are not constrained by biblical morality or values. They may be associated with the broader evangelical community, (particularly those of the conservative evangelical class) giving the appearance of genuineness, but their cause is not the Gospel of Christ. Most of them grew up or were nurtured in evangelical churches, but do not have a true relationship with Christ.

The rise of evangelicalists was inevitable. Their underlying philosophy had been smoldering for years, was ratified with the rise of the Moral Majority, and reached its peak in the 2016 presidential election. Evangelical are now not seen as Christians as much as they are seen as members of a vast right-wing political action group. This is evidenced by the undeniable fact that the word evangelical is hardly ever associated with goodness or the Gospel, but with the worst of corruption, self-serving, mendacity, immorality, hate, indecency; and void of compassion.

Evangelicalists present a real threat to the witness of the Gospel of Christ, and it is imperative that they are called out by the Church and exposed for what they are. For even though the most radical evangelicalists are relatively few, they have been able to infect the entire community to the extent that many others unwittingly join in their sin. This is due in large part because these radical evangelicalists have great influence within the community of faith, and they are able to passionately disseminate their unbiblical, anti-Christian teachings unchecked.

Just how infective are the cancerous unbiblical teachings of evangelicalists? Three examples will suffice.

First, prior to their exposure by the presidential election campaign, and particularly the nomination of the Republican Party’s standard bearer, no one reasonably expected that eminent evangelical scholars, theologians and bible teachers would suggest that it is a moral obligation to choose one evil over another. That is, in the name of God, deliberately and consciously engage in evil, ungodly acts to bring about a perceived good. Paul’s response in Romans 6:1 is, “God forbid!”

Second, evangelicalists convinced others that it is better to choose love of country over a godly conscience. They teach that even if one is convinced on biblical and moral grounds that an action is prohibited, it is more important to ignore one’s conscience if one perceives that doing the wrongful act will help the country; God notwithstanding. Anything or anyone that supplants God is an idol. Love of country over obedience to God’s rule is idolatry (1 Samuel 15:23).

Third, there is the incredible notion of righteous lying that evangelicalists have been able to convince others is a viable option. They point to Rahab the harlot who lied about the Israelite spies, and was rewarded for her help. The implication is that God regards some form of lying as acts of righteousness. That is a grotesque characterization of biblical righteousness. To be sure, Rahab was not commended for lying, but for her faith in God. That demonstrated the work of Grace through faith in bringing salvation to anyone. All liars will have their part in the lake of fire (Rev. 21:8).

It is not surprising, then, that evangelicals overwhelmingly went against every moral and biblical signpost during the presidential election. The price is the sad irony of becoming a group of Christians going by a name that represents anything but Christian virtues. The word evangelical now evokes a person with little or no moral moorings.

The evangelical brand has been tarnished with the enabling of the Church which has allowed evangelicalists to occupy the soapbox without a forceful defense of the true Gospel. This is the time contend for the Faith and give no regard to church politics. The evangelicalists vehemently attack the character of those who opposed them. The Church cannot sit by and allow this to go unchallenged. Faithfulness to God and the Gospel is far too important. Evangelicalists are preaching another gospel. Call them out before too many follow their example.

Paul was confronted with a similar situation where a false gospel threatened to derail the faith of many of the gullible in the church. “I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed” (Galatians 1:6-9, NKJV).

The Church has a godly obligation and the moral authority to publicly call out the evangelicalists and redeem the evangelical brand.

Marvin Thompson