Monday, December 28, 2009

Identity Crisis and the Evangelical

I'm always concerned with the amount of energy many evangelicals put into defining what they are not. It is really quite sad. It reminds me a a certain pericope where Jesus describes two men praying - you know the one. The evangelical says, "I thank you God that I'm not like this Catholic, damned to hell and really not getting what you are all about Lord." Seriously, isn't it about time we focused on what we are? Better still, isn't it time we learned to see what is good and best about others instead of trying to stake a claim that alienates us from everyone else including others who call on the name of Jesus (really the only scandal I think we can claim with authority). Maybe I'm just realizing how my training to seek out Christ in any and every circumstance I find myself in has jaded my view of exclusivist stances. It certainly hasn't made me a naive inclusivist, but I'm certainly more inclusivist than exclusivist. Jesus got really upset at his disciples for wanting to rebuke certain Jewish exorcists for using Jesus' name. If that doesn't at least warrant a look before your leap attitude towards other people of faith - then what does? Just some food for thought.

3 comments:

Michael Samson said...

Well said Frank... The Mystery of God, of humanity, of the Lord who visits me through the other...God just seems so very FAR removed from our all to often simplistic notions of the Divine...

I have found myself more and more unwilling to exclude, more unwilling to pronounce any sort of judgements, more open to others and to listening, really listening...

I don't doubt who I am, nor the Gospel as the only hope for mankind, but who do I think I am if I think I can possibly know who someone else is to God???

BTW, I have family staying with me until Saturday, so getting a few moments on the computer is a rarity right now...Saw the last post, hope to comment soon...:-)

Thomas said...

Nice comments on Evangelical identity. There is little doubt that defining "evangelical" is difficult! I've known this for some time, but it became more apparent recently when I wrote an AAR paper on evangelical theology and science.

Tom

http://thomasjayoord.com

byron smith said...

I thank you Lord that I am not like those narrow-minded exclusivists... ;-)

You are right. It is surely worse to treat a sister or brother as a pagan than vice versa.

Lord, have mercy on me, a hypocrite.