aefenglommung (aefenglommung) wrote,

Just a thought

Many of my church friends use the terms "conservative" and "evangelical" as nearly synonymous. They are not.

"Evangelical" denotes a particular approach to the gospel, and an identification with other Christians who have a similar approach, even if they belong to groups they otherwise disagree with.

"Conservative" denotes a particular approach to change. Conservatives appreciate the past, and want to be careful how they change things they have received from the past. "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" is a conservative statement.

There are liberal Evangelicals and conservative Evangelicals. There are evangelical Conservatives and there are institutional Conservatives. An obvious example of how these are overlapping, but not synonymous, categories is the vote in the Church of England Synod over women bishops. Some Evangelicals are okay with that, some not. Those who oppose it are (at least in this instance) Conservatives, but some are so for theological reasons and some (probably) for just a general queasiness with so radical a change.

Now, I am, by most accounts, both evangelical and conservative, but I prefer the term "Orthodox" (with a small o) when identifying my ecclesial position. That's because there are times when I am very conscious of standing outside the evangelical sub-culture, and other times when I feel that "conservative" is too bound up with a particular time and social construct.

  • My goodness, has it been that long?

    This spring is the 50th anniversary of my high school graduation. (It’s also the 30th anniversary of my Ph.D. commencement.) The three most useful…

  • On preaching

    My first appointment as a student pastor was in 1976. With only a year of seminary under my belt, I was made the pastor of three churches. Every…

  • Another day banging nails

    I was at Menards when they opened at 6:00 a.m. this morning to buy 3/4 ton of lumber and schlep it out to Wilderstead. While I was stacking 2x10s in…

  • Post a new comment


    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    Your IP address will be recorded 

    When you submit the form an invisible reCAPTCHA check will be performed.
    You must follow the Privacy Policy and Google Terms of use.