Another Critique on American Evangelical Christianity

 0904CHRISTIAN_RIGHT_wideweb__470x297,0I found this article on a Window’s Live page (and it is dated sometime ago) and if you an Evangelical Christian, you might take offense at what was written. Frankly, I really don’t much problem with what most was written and I think more stuff like this NEEDS to be written more. If one  doesn’t do at least SOME self-examination, how is one to grow? Evangelicals are in for the shock of their lives if they think they can be sooo static in the 21st century. I will give you an excerpt of  Will People Worship Anything Entertaining: Ask an Ex

Evangelical communities, both naturally and deliberately develop closed information economies.  People tend to get their information from people who think like them.  New technologies have allowed more and more isolation of this type.  And Evangelical teachings do not encourage exploring a variety of perspectives.  Quite the opposite.  Fundamentalist ministers and seminary administrators vigilantly safeguard against other points of view, especially scholarship by modernist Christians and secular religion scholars. Consequently, most Evangelicals are exposed almost exclusively to information that has made it through the community filter.   

I used to think Armstrongists were the only ones who loudly exclaimed, “THERE IS ONLY ONE WAY OF BELIEVING THIS AND NO OTHER WAY!!!” Well Evangelicals are as just guilty, probably even more so. While Armstrongism and fundamentalism are usually crude and blunt in their delivery, evangelicals are a way more charming on the impressionable. Just hang around with an evangelical long enough and you will definately see the other side.  As an example that evangelicals can be “one-way” minded when I read on a blog that this pompous ass of an evangelical suggested that if you didn’t subscribe to the “substitutionary atonement” theory of Christ’s death, you’re probably not a real Christian (maybe not really saved). Bunk! Nonsense! Tripe! I am one of those believers who believes in the Christus Victor view of Christ’s Atonement! Guess what? The early church until 1100 AD believed the same thing as I do? Are they too defective Christians? What pig-headed arrogance. No wonder my friend James is turned off by evangelicals at times!

This excerpt is heading towards the ending but I am not going to spoil the paragraph in it’s entirity:

Another factor here is that Evangelicalism, as an American phenomenon, is one of the more individualistic variants of the Christian faith.  It emphasizes individual salvation over collective redemption.  As a corollary, it emphasizes individual responsibility and individual holiness over co-creating God’s kingdom here on earth, which has been the focus of some other kinds of Christian communities.

Can I have an Amen here? It drives me nuts in American Evangelical Christianity that there is no emphasis on making the world a better place NOW! Again I thought Armstrongism was the only group guilty for that failure but oh, how was I wrong again! I was fooled by good ol’ Evangelical charm. To be fair there are some within the evangelical movement that are going against the grain and I salute them. Only if more would, it would be for the betterment of Christianity. Some just think there is nothing wrong but American Evangelical Christianity reminds me soo much of the Church of Laodocea in Revelation (but that’s another discussion for another time).

Read the rest of the article here.

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7 thoughts on “Another Critique on American Evangelical Christianity

  1. I was thinking about this topic yesterday morning, before I saw your post. I was wondering if exposure to different points of views through the Internet (maybe also the History Channel and other stations) were contibuting to the decreasing numbers of people who identify themselves as evangelicals.

  2. People are recognizing that things are more complex than they really are. Evangelicals can no longer go for simple solutions for complex problems. If they persist, they too will be irrelevant in the 21st century. Their anti-intellectualism has not serve anyone well.

  3. Sometimes I believe that labels are the cruelest devices that we could apply to one another. It puts us in boxes which may or may not be appropriate or accurate, and is often done simply to “stack” an argument in the favor of an opponent.

    In a sense, I do this too. We probably all have at one time or another, Still, I don’t really know what an evangelical is, or even a fundamentalist, for that matter. Those are two labels which I never signed up for as I began to pursue a relationship with Father God and Jesus Christ, yet I’ve found that some people who don’t know precisely what my beliefs are are only too happy to marginalize me by labeling me as such.

    I believe that anyone who is honestly pursuing an eternal relationship with God will sooner or later be struck with the sheer complexities which you mentioned. As an example, many Christians whom we would think of as being evangelical or fundamentalist begin considering “old earth” creationism as their children become exposed to science classes in school. Perhaps this issue had not been quite so important before the kids began asking serious questions! Christians also mature in thinking of themselves as good stewards for God’s earth as opposed to strict apocalyptic “what’s the use” thoughts and actions. And, that’s a good thing, because elitist non-caring is one of the first things non-believers tend to ding us for!

    Most Christians would never in a million years choose the stereotypes which are often applied to them. Unfortunately, since some groups hang around in “tribes”, it becomes all too easy to categorize them. I’d say that probably the stereotypes adequately describe a relatively small, negligible but very noticeable percentage of Christians at large. I hate to make an offensive comparison, but people on the fringes of a group always draw critical attention to the group at large, like drag queens do to the image of gays on Gay Pride Day.

    BB

  4. Byker Bob, I must respectfully disagree that this is about stereotyping and lumping people into one category. This is about those who freely and voluntarily call themselves evangelicals and even fundamentalists who are saturated with American culture. The article linked was simply pointing out there are serious problems, issues and situations in these groups that need to be dealt with if they want to be relevant in the 21st century. Nothing more. I just happen to agree with most of the author’s conclusions. Frankly, to make the case that this is about stereotyping Christians, prevents and shut down real discussion of how American Evangelical Christianity needs to improve. I am hopping that this is not your intention whatsover. I believe it is a time for authenticity, not the “tyranny of niceness”. There is a problem and it can no longer be coddled nor looked the other way.

    I agree (notwithstanding strong verbal Conservative Catholic objections to the contrary) that to enter in communion with a relationship with The God of the Universe automatically puts you into the invisible of Body of Christ. When we shed our human bodies in death and when our spirits finally meet Our Maker, it will not matter if we were “evangelical”, “fundie”, “Catholic” or whatever. It will be a matter of those who want to be with God and those who don’t want to be with God. As C.S. Lewis illustrated (and I tend to support it, those who want to be with God, will say “Thy will be done!” those who don’t want to be with God, God Himself will say, “Thy will be done!”

    ((I’d say that probably the stereotypes adequately describe a relatively small, negligible but very noticeable percentage of Christians at large.))

    This is no way negates the problem that the MSN and my posts presents. Let’s say if this is strictly a “numbers” game, those who know better are just as guilty. I take a very hard line on the fact that if you are silent and know better, you are still cooperating with what is wrong albeit in a different way. Those Christians who do not behave like Sith (thinking and dealing in absolutes) need to use their God-given mouth and speak loud, angry and rebellious (in a right way). Their continued silence and coddling does no one (including themselves)any good in the long run. The results and penalty will be appropriately catastrophic. Now is the time to deal with it.

  5. Felix, I think that my problem is often that I see past some of the overts. Certainly the overt message of the article was not that Evangelicals get stereotyped. But, as we all surely must know by now, the minute an identifiable group is created or formed, there are people who assume that all who identfy themselves as part of that group are homogenious in their beliefs. And, in a sense, that becomes a de facto form of inaccurate stereotyping.

    The church which I’ve been attending does identify itself, I believe, as Evangelical. But, our pastor, as short a time as a few weeks ago cautioned us about cloistering ourselves, and just hanging out with one another. He told us that that’s one of the things that makes people of other faiths and non-believers think of us as being all wierded out, or holier than thou. He told us that we need to mix it up with anyone and everyone with whom we have contact, be friendly, spread the love around, etc. Of course, I’m just one person in the congregation, but I have to say that I alone have views and beliefs that differ from the official positions. For two examples, I believe that God carefully engineered the “Big Bang” and the entire evolutionary process, and used these as two of His very primary tools in creating our world. And, I also believe that the vast majority of homosexuals were born with that particular orientation, although others may also have entered that lifestyle through other experiences and means.

    Because of the authority structure in WCG, we were often “mind controlled” into buying the total package of beliefs, or so-called “restored truths”. Dissent, if one persisted in being strongminded like Galileo, meant disfellowshipment. And this was one situation that they totally didn’t get from the Jews, because Synagogue is a bastion of dissent! Difference is not only tolerated, but outright encouraged amongst our Jewish friends. Once the WCG authority structure was dismantled, we became aware that there were a whole lot of people with alternative beliefs and viewpoints that we never would have known about because they were suppressed for the sake of church unity.

    BB

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