The Evangelical Identity, Part 2

In the first part of this series, I wrote about how there was, as recently as forty years ago, a general consensus about what was and was not evangelical doctrine. I don’t believe that such a consensus exists today. We are certainly moving away from such a consensus.

Before I go on, I need to speak to the issue of the changing nature of theology. Theology has been called a science, and I suppose like all areas of scientific investigation there are going to be refinements in our understanding. While theology is based on divine revelation, its formulations are the product of finite minds. Given that, there is always room to grow in our understanding of God and Scripture. I hope that as I continue to study, I will learn more, have my thinking refined, and be more aware of what God’s Word teaches.

Refined is a key word here. Refined does not mean the denial of what the church (presumably under the guidance and protection of the Holy Spirit) has affirmed for centuries. What arrogance to assume that the body of Christ, possessing the Scriptures, has been misled on so many key points of Christian belief! Yet that is what is happening today.

We’re no longer talking about Calvinism vs. Arminianism. We’re not debating Dispensational and Covenant Theology. The issue is not charismatic vs. cessationist thinking. We’re talking about the heart of historic, orthodox Christian faith. And in this writer’s opinion, the evangelical pond is getting too wide. Is it time to redraw the lines?

Granted, there will always be differing views on some things. But in our day we see people proposing different ideas on the essence of the Gospel. If we identify evangelicals as those who believe and affirm the traditional evangel, does that leave room for the inclusion of others who in one way or another deny the traditional understanding of those views?

What’s at stake? I’ll write more about this in part 3.