"Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ." - Jerome

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Evangelical and Liberalism: What's the difference?

[Reason #132 why I reject the label evangelical]

According to a 2008 PEW study, 57% of self-identified Evangelicals don't believe Jesus is the only way to eternal life.

A 2010 survey of the Presbyterian Church USA (the "liberal" one) showed 43% disagree or strongly disagree that “all the world’s religions are equally good ways of helping a person find ultimate truth.” (that would make 57% left over) and majorities of members (60 percent), elders (68 percent), and pastors (66 percent) at least agree that “the only absolute truth for humankind is in Jesus Christ.”

Therefore, I will now no longer call the Presbyterian Church USA the "liberal" denomination, but the evangelical denomination, for there is no real difference in reality between the two words. Also, if someone in the PCA says they want to be more evangelical and less Reformed, I will rebuke them.


Pastor St. John said...

I can understand your reasoning for dumping the label "Evangelical." But I'm afraid the same reasoning applies to "Reformed." There are plenty of people calling themselves "Reformed" who no longer believe in the doctrines of the Reformation. Nope, we need another word altogether. Or a string of words. How about "Bible-believing, old-fashioned, Fundamentalist, disciple of Jesus." Yup, I believe that will do the job!

Jared Nelson said...

The problem with "evangelical" is that it has no objective definition. In the past decades homosexuals and Catholics have both claimed the label without any recourse to compare to an objective definition.

"Reformed" has an objective definition in the confessions of the Westminster Standards or the Three forms of unity. One can claim to be Reformed, but if they do not match the confessions, their claim can be refuted.

I would not take your label as wrong so much as incomplete. We may say we are "bible-believing" but so will the liberal or the Unitarian. Everyone claims the Bible, the question is what the Bible means and that requires confession.

Have you read R. Scott Clark's book "Recovering the Reformed Confession"? He makes a convincing case for confessional-fidelity as our common identity.

M. Jay Bennett said...

When are we going to plant a church?

Jared Nelson said...

Jay- Just as soon as we find a stadium large enough to fit all the people that will flock to a church with confessional Reformed worship!

M. Jay Bennett said...

I know! That's the only thing holding us back.