While I technically am evangelical in the truest sense, here are my top reasons for not calling myself an evangelical in my community (off the top of my head):
- Evangelicalism is not what it used to be.
- Sadly, the gospel is often assumed because of simple church attendance, instead of continually clarified and passionately emphasized for the lost and for the believer.
- I believe that a church service should be primarily crafted for believers, not for unbelievers (although I address unbelievers every week). We are sensitive to the ultimate Seeker (the Holy Spirit), and consequently try to realize that we minister in the “sight of God” first and foremost.
- In my community, evangelical often = entertainment. One church in my area has enough flashing lights during its worship to put an epileptic in the grave. I tell people if they want to be entertained, there is a theater on the hill that has Sunday matinees.
- Egalitarianism seems to rule the churches in my community. If they don’t have a woman as pastor, they certainly have them leading in every other aspect of a worship service, lest they appear old fashioned. Such a perception would certainly be fatal.
- Sadly missions often = “better beer for serbians,” “dentures for swiss senior citizens,” etc. I exaggerate, but you know what I mean. Sadly, mission no longer includes the gospel in far too many churches. The concept has been hijacked and replaced with pseudo-kingdom language that imports good deeds in the place of gospel preaching and church-planting.
- My views of inspiration and inerrancy extend to Genesis 1 as well as to all the historical details of the OT, a position that is not cool anymore.
- I don’t have time for apostates, nor do I think they are misunderstood.
- I don’t like Rick Warren, his books, his associations, his talks, or the way he chooses translations that suit his purposes. Plus, I think Hawaiian shirts look silly. Jeans and a blazer is way cooler.
- Many “evangelical” churches in my area are mesmerized by Nooma and Elvis, I mean Rob Bell.
- When I see other Christian youth in the area, I am so excited they are passionate about God, but so troubled for them when I hear that they have never really been given a doctrinal foundation. Sadly, for many, the first atheistic secular humanist professor who shoots a dart at their balloon of God-passion will successfully turn them into a recovering evangelical, instead of one who believes every word of Scripture.
- I struggle to find any redeemable value in the Catholic church.
- I still think Billy Graham compromised even though my Dad was saved through his ministry.
- I have no time for infant baptism and think that this is often a gospel-issue. In other words, when churches teach that their people are “in” or “okay” because of their infant baptism, they are in error at the highest level. I cannot cooperate with this.
- Evangelical churches in my area get together for a youth conference in which they baptize the teenagers at the conference. Am I the only one who sees a huge problem with this?
Now for the caveats:
- While there are a lot of evangelicals like John MacArthur and Mark Dever, sadly these guys are not the norm.
- I’m sure I have many blind-spots. I am being sanctified too, still working out my salvation. I need more humility too. However, humility doesn’t mean that we should stop calling spades spades.