Shuck and Jive

Opinions expressed here are my own and do not represent the views of the congregation I joyfully serve. But my congregation loves me!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Are You an Evangelical or a Fundamentalist?

The LayMAN reports that two more congregations voted to leave the PC(USA) over the weekend. I wonder why? I don't suppose it could be because of homophobia could it? Here is the story.
The overwhelming votes of the churches represents a growing trend among some PCUSA churches disenchanted with the denomination’s theological shift, especially following the passage of Amendment 10A in April.
The leaders of these churches know that it is unbecoming to express their uneasiness with LGBT ministers quite so blatantly. They say they are leaving not because of the gays but because of the authority of scripture and Jesus. They cannot be in a denomination that would allow someone (like me) to have theological views that do not match theirs. That is the definition of a fundamentalist, in case anyone is wondering, Al Mohler.

There are many evangelicals who disagree with my views about the Bible and Jesus. Some of them even comment on this blog. They may have similar views about the Bible and Jesus as do the leaders of these disaffected churches. They are not fundamentalists. Evangelicals can live with disagreement. Fundamentalists cannot.

Here is a for instance. The session of the church in Kansas that voted to leave wrote this in their statement:

“Many in the progressive wing of the PCUSA believe that God speaks to us in many ways and that revelation can come from a variety of sources and most significantly through the subjective means of personal experience as well as Scripture,” the session stated. “This reduces the authority of Scripture to a level equal to, and at times less than, the subjective authority of personal experience.” According to Eastminster’s website, the church believes that: “The Scriptures inspired by the Holy Spirit are the Word of God and therefore the only infallible rule of faith and life, the final authority by which to judge all controversies in the church and to which all appeals are to be made."
So what? So what if there are progressives in the denomination who have those views? What does that have to do with you? That is what normal, mature, evangelicals would say. Fundamentalists cannot handle that. In their world, coexistence is not possible. Someone has to leave. If they can't drive out the progressives, they will go, or they will do nothing but whine and claim they are victims.

Remember, it wasn't progressives who passed 10-A. Enough evangelicals and orthodox saw that 10-A was consistent with their theology to make the change. I think it is important to recognize the distinction between evangelicals and orthodox on one hand and fundamentalists on the other. The orthodox and the evangelicals can live with progressives; fundamentalists cannot. It will be the fundamentalists who leave the denomination, or more than likely, stay, whine, and pretend to be victims.

In the meantime, the rest of us will continue to do our work.