Website owner: James Miller
MY CRITICISM OF EVANGELICALISM 11/07 There is a deep chasm between me and evangelical Christianity. We are far apart. True Christianity is not about going to church three times a week, testifying, tithing, a lot religious slogans, hypnotic songs, talk and cant. True Christianity is about practice and substance, practice and substance of a different kind than church attendance, tithing etc.: a substance that is about goodness, honesty, integrity and virtue. I think evangelicals have a real problem with honesty. Much too much of what they say, the claims thy make, in both the sermons and songs, is just untrue. They are guilty of great exaggeration and false claims for the message they are trying to "sell". I think they are self-deceived. My background is evangelical Christianity but now when I hear evangelical preachers preach I invariably react very negatively. I have come to believe that the evangelicals are in deep error; that it is apostate Christianity, a false cult. I believe the problem lies in their theology, dogma, doctrine. They are very doctrine oriented and error in their doctrine results in a programming of their minds into wrong assumptions, beliefs and attitudes. They emphasize so strongly the position "salvation through faith, not works" that in doing so they neglect the crucial, central importance of upright, Godly living to Christianity. Their theology has the effect of divorcing Christianity from practice. To me the heart and soul of Christianity is practice, leading an upright, Godly life: a life of reverence for God, honesty, simplicity, humility, self- denial, peacefulness, chastity, consideration for your neighbor, goodness, etc. --- the way taught by Jesus. For me, love of God and love of virtue and goodness are intimately united. God represents goodness and virtue and true Christianity involves a pursuit of goodness, virtue and spiritual understanding. The evangelicals say they are saved by the blood of Christ, not by good works. They say they have been "made righteous by the blood of Christ". Well, I believe that the Godly, upright man will be "made righteous" and go to heaven by virtue of the blood of Christ (for he is also a sinner, has sin that must be atoned for). However, the blood of Christ will not atone for the sins of the ungodly and wicked. If it did everyone would go to heaven and we know the Bible doesn't teach that. They base all their confidence that they will go to heaven on their formula for salvation: a profession of faith, "accepting the Lord", etc. I think there is great error here in this assumption and it leads to great self-deception. Christianity is not some legal spiritual state acquired through compliance with some simple, clear-cut religious formula (i.e. I have believed in Jesus so I am saved. God promised it and God cannot lie.). Christianity is about a way of life, a practice of virtue, a set of attitudes, habits and values associated with the way taught by Jesus, the apostles, the Bible in general. The way of true Christianity is the Way of Understanding and Wisdom. True Christianity is a philosophy that regulates, shapes and controls our conduct and habits; a personal discipline that steers us away from wrong and sinful paths, that takes us in ways of righteousness; a set of outlooks and values which abhor sin and love goodness. Evangelical beliefs are all based on theory and theology; mine are based on observation, reason and experience --- as well as Biblical teaching. I distrust idealistic, theological theory. I say that you cannot divorce integrity, virtue, goodness and moral principal from Christianity. They are the very substance of Christianity. I say that the Bible teaches that the Godly, upright, good man will go to heaven and the ungodly and immoral man will go to hell. You can't forget the practice, the following of God's way, and excuse yourself by claiming, "I know I will go to heaven because I have been saved. I have been 'made righteous' by the blood of Christ ". Sin is sin, wrong is wrong, and that fact can't be changed by specious argument. True Christianity is about doing the right thing, following the light that lies within us. It is about living a life of moral principle. It is about self-discipline and character. It is about following the teachings of Jesus. It is a great sham to believe that you will certainly go to heaven just because you have fulfilled some theological formula i.e. made a profession of faith. That is just too easy, too much like going to heaven on the basis of having performed a religious ritual. Christianity is a religion of truth and substance, not a religion of sham and foolishness.