aefenglommung (aefenglommung) wrote,

Some views on Evangelicals

Several LJ's that I read regularly are stomping on a guy named Joel Osteen down in Texas and about whether he is, or is not, a worthy example of an evangelical Christian. Stryck had some good thoughts about being sorta evangelical, and sorta not. I can relate to that.

I am an adult convert; actually, to call myself a church orphan would be more accurate. My parents stomped out of the Methodist Church where I grew up when I was in 6th grade. I didn't find my own way back to church until my wife and I were married. In between, besides giving myself to Christ in college, I saw a lot of different kinds of Christianity on offer.

We joined The United Methodist Church because -- no kidding, folks -- we read the Articles of Religion John Wesley furnished the fledgling Methodist Episcopal Church in 1784. I wanted to belong to a church that believed those things. (Whether I got my wish is something I have wrestled with for thirty years.)

When I went to seminary, all I knew was that God was for real, Christ was the way, and I had been called. I attended a hotbed of evangelicalism, and there I found an entire religious subculture that was largely unaware -- and largely unaccepting -- of any other way to be Christian. I actually knew people who believed, from the bottom of their souls, that Southern Gospel music was intrinsically more "spiritual" than other kinds of religious music. In other words, they could not distinguish their tastes from their doctrines. I found this to be a bizarre experience.

So I am, theologically, at least, an evangelical. But I am not a southern-fried one. I agree with their doctrines, but I still speak their lingo as an acquired language. I guess I'm just an immigrant to their idea of the Kingdom, not a natural born citizen. I'll caucus with the Confessing Movement and other evangelical purists, but I find little real fellowship there. And I find many of them wanting, not just to purge the Church of error, but to remake it to match their comfort zone -- which is not quite the same thing.
Tags: church, personal

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