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Martyred for the Gospel

Martyred for the Gospel
The burning of Tharchbishop of Cant. D. Tho. Cranmer in the town dich at Oxford, with his hand first thrust into the fyre, wherwith he subscribed before. [Click on the picture to see Cranmer's last words.]

Collect of the Day

The Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany.
The Collect.

O LORD, we beseech thee to keep thy Church and household continually in thy true religion; that they who do lean only upon the hope of thy heavenly grace may evermore be defended by thy mighty power; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Daily Bible Verse

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Evangelical "Liberalism" or Selling Out to Society

After having read the Holy Scriptures for years, a flash of insight hit me many times that Evangelical churches today are not standing with Scripture but with the society/world at large on issues like feminism, easy divorce and a host of other issues. How long will it be before Evangelical churches give up to the world on issues like hell and homosexuality? After the world applies enough pressure the church is sure to cave in, given its track record so far. Already we see a weakening on the issue of abortion so that women can get an abortion in extenuating circumstances like incest or rape. She can just say that her husband raped her, right?

Increasingly it seems that so-called Christians read their own views of morality and justice back into Scripture rather than letting Scripture interpret Scripture as the Protestant Reformers would have us to do. Where Scripture says that divorce and remarriage, except in the case of adultery or desertion, constitutes adultery, the modern Evangelical churches have added extra biblical exceptions like "mental abuse," "irreconcilable differences," and "what's best for the children." Funny that Jesus wouldn't have agreed.

Where the Bible clearly says that Adam was created first and given charge over the Garden and over teaching his wife the commandments of God (see Genesis 2:15-25 ESV), modern Evangelicals insist that women are equal in authority over men. However, in the Genesis account of the fall, God came first to Adam to ask what happened (see Genesis 3:8-13). He didn't go first to Eve. The spiritual line of authority begins and ends with the man. Only after speaking to Adam did God then go to Eve and ask her what she had done wrong.

I might also mention that the Bible teaches that Adam is the federal head of the human race and that his sin made all of his children and progeny guilty of his original sin and that his sin made all of his children actual sinners (Romans 3:10-18, 23; 5:12-19). It was Adam's sin and not Eve's sin that brought the curse on the human race (Romans 5:12, 15, 18, 19), though we should not neglect to mention that Eve was punished for her part in the affair (Genesis 3:16). Finally, both the man and the woman were driven out of the Garden. It is interesting to note here that the text simply says "the man was driven out..." referring to both the man and his wife (Genesis 3:24). Thus, humankind or mankind is both a unity of the two genders and at the same time Adam is the federal head of the entire human race, being created first (see 1 Timothy 2:13; Romans 5).

I should also point out that the New Testament clearly teaches that women are not to usurp the authority of men in the church (1 Timothy 2:12). Moreover, Paul says that women are to keep silent in the church (1 Timothy 2:11). They are not to teach or be in authority over men. Paul also says that women are to be in submission to their husbands (1 Peter 3:1-6). What Evangelical church stands for those verses anymore? Most either ignore them or explain them away with extremely questionable exegesis.

The Protestant doctrine of sola Scriptura says that the Holy Scriptures are the final authority in all matters of faith and practice. Even according to the Anglican view that Scripture, Tradition, and Reason are three legs on the stool, Scripture is to be over both tradition and reason with the latter two being submitted to Scripture. Modern Pentecostals and Wesleyans add experience as the fourth leg on the stool but tend to place experience above the other three legs in practice. Unfortunately, this has introduced liberal existentialism into the mix where Scripture should be the last word in controversial matters. Evangelicalism in general seems to be placing everyday experience on the same par with Scripture. Thus, Evangelicalism is accommodating itself to culture much in the same way that theological liberals have. The only difference is the one has liberal social values and the other more conservative social values. The problem, however, is that once the door is opened to sentimental views of what is fair and what is not fair, then God's revelation in Holy Scripture becomes subject to man's feelings and experiences rather than being an objective standard for morality, faith, doctrine, and theology (2 Timothy 3:15-17).

This accommodation to secular culture is most obvious in Evangelical compromises with the world against the biblical doctrine of marriage:

  • Divorce? When the president of your denomination, the members of your family, and your favorite evangelical celebrities divorce at the same rate as their liberal and secular counterparts, you are far more likely to treat the subject as a tragedy than as a sin. Evangelical publishers produce books, mainly for women, on how to live after the tragedy of divorce. We are all sinners, these books say. Your spouse and, to some extent, you as well have sinned, or at least made mistakes, but there is forgiveness, and life goes on.
  • For now, most evangelicals draw the line at abortion, euthanasia and homosexual expression. Will preaching on these subjects change as cultural accommodation changes, or have evangelicals at last found the absolute lines and boundaries to which they will adhere?
  • * From anti secularization to religious change
  • Mainline Protestants made similar accommodations a century ago, when they adapted to the new norms of a culture they had largely shaped. Something similar happened in Catholicism after the G.I. Bill and Vatican II, and after many Catholics moved into the middle class. But the evangelical case has been the most sudden, drastic and disguised.
  • [From: Will success spoil evangelicalism? - Evangelical emphasis on money has changed religious values. Christian Century, July 19, 2000 by Martin E. Marty http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1058/is_21_117/ai_63904104/pg_3 ].

While this criticism of Evangelical success in the United States is not new, it certainly needs to be revisited. This is particularly true when considering politically correct views on male/female relations and race relations in particular. Are we basing our theology of gender relations on God's revelation in Scripture or are we basing it on current sociological trends in society at large? Has Evangelicalism lost its biblical and protestant reformation roots? Have Evangelicals become just another social club where the latest fad is what is true? Do Evangelicals take the easiest way out of God's wrath, which is to deny it exists?

To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them. Isaiah 8:20 KJV

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