Ahh, Just Right: Goldilocks and the Evangelical

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Wednesday, March 1, 2017 0 comments

by David Odegard

Fundamentalism is too hard and unforgiving. They make demands that go beyond the demands that God makes in the Bible. Thou shalt not dance. Thou shalt not play cards. Liberalism is too soft and weak. They are so relativistic that anything goes and God never cares. Sin is no big deal. They imply that God is only love: a great big Tommy Chong in the sky, man. Hey let’s call him Skyman, or woman, or one of the other ten thousand genders we created recently. But conservative evangelicalism is just right. It recognizes that God is love, but that He is also just, wise, and holy—thrice holy actually. The mysterious creatures of Revelation do not sing, “All we need is love, love, love.” They sing “Holy, holy, holy!”

I have spent the last few weeks dealing with objections to the Bible as the basis for ultimate truth. The leftist objection is that the Bible is not the word of God; that God doesn’t reveal Himself in that way. Liberals believe that the Bible is of human origin and it contains value for the human seeking God, but has nothing to do with God seeking man. The left neuters any power the Bible would have in their lives by removing from it whatever offends the current generation. The left is doing so this very hour in regards to the homosexual agenda. It removes the offense of the gospel, but in so doing it cedes moral initiative to the whims of the prevailing, anti-Christian culture. That is idolatry. It is leftist idolatry.

I took a few shots at fundamentalism also. The reason for this is that fundamentalism has certain interpretations of Scripture that are not the best way to understand the text. Nevertheless they hold their opinions with an inflexible dogmatism and accuse whoever does not agree with them of liberalism or unfaithfulness to Scripture.

But disagreeing with them is not the same thing as disagreeing with Scripture.

Furthermore, there is an adamant refusal to consider any other opinions than the system they were first taught. This is also idolatry since it equates one’s own conclusions with Scripture.

Fundamentalists cannot accept ideas that do not conform completely and exactly to their own notions. They cannot even hold this knowledge tacitly, which makes it impossible to grow or weigh the truth. But growth does not seem to be a desire for them, in my observation. Everything worth knowing was already told to them.

Liberals will always be followers. They don’t esteem the Word of God high enough to take a stand against culture. Whatever form the current incarnation of progressivism takes, that is the god of the liberal, but never Christ. Jesus of the Bible is too morally rigid.

The liberal hates everything that is not liberal, but they especially hate the fundamentalists. The fundamentalists hate everything about the liberal in return. Much of the division that we have all witnessed, especially in these last few decades in America, is the result of the polarization of worldviews. The left and the right have certain prejudices that motivate them to disapprove of whatever the other side values, furthering the divide.

Conservative evangelicalism stands in contrast to both of these worldviews. In years past, no one would have to call evangelicalism conservative because everyone knew it was. But liberals have been parasitically attaching themselves to evangelical churches and institutions for some time, because their own institutions are dead.

Conservative evangelicalism tries to recognize and live “under” the authority of the Bible. They do not hold their conclusions to be inerrant, but in the text of Scripture itself. Evangelical scholarship seeks to understand the Bible so that we can know God and be faithful to Him, to “rightly divide” the Scripture. Fundamentalism does not do this; they believe they already know the truth, and like the Pharisees they exalt their own tradition above Scripture. Liberals don’t do this either; they abandon Scripture, like the Sadducees, for cultural expediency. They esteem mankind higher than God. Conservative evangelicalism is not a middle of the road position, but one that is honest with the text and allows it to be the voice of authority. Fundamentalists exalt their interpretation of the Bible to the level of Scripture in practice.

Liberals exalt their own reason above Scripture. It doesn’t matter to them what the Bible teaches; it is what they can believe that matters.

Fundamentalists refused to engage the world as a prophetic voice; instead, they became insular and self-righteous (no dancing, no card playing, etc.). But the liberals also have refused to engage the world as a prophetic voice. They tell the world whatever they want to hear, regardless of what the Bible says. They make themselves conform to whatever perverted self-delusion society can dream up. The left says nothing against cutting off one’s genitalia and parading around as the opposite sex nor about killing one’s unborn children. They believe these acts are fine and will not offend a righteous God. “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter” (Isaiah 5:20). Liberal, you will eat that woe; drink it all up.

Conservative evangelicals have accepted the Bible as the Truth in the ultimate sense. We accept that the Bible is inerrant in the original autographs; that it is utterly reliable in the received manuscripts; that it does not err in anything it speaks to, including where it touches on history and the cosmos and morality. It is the very Word of God, breathed by Him to men of God who were graced with the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. They had divinely aided memory of events and special insight “as they were impressed by the Holy Spirit.”

God has made Himself known to us. If God’s Word is what He says it is, couldn’t it be the very thing that can bring life back to our decaying society?

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