The Dirty Word of Modern Evangelicalism

I spent ten years in a church which would easily be classified as a ‘Modern Evangelical Church’. The pastor founded his ministry primarily on the principles of ‘felt needs’ preaching and subjective emotional experiences. In the midst of this environment I realized very quickly that several ‘high brow’ Christian terms were taboo. Among them were words such as tradition, liturgy, hymns, creeds, catechisms, doctrine and theology. The disdain of the last two terms I found especially disturbing.

A couple of years ago I recall speaking with a long-standing member one evening before service and she asked me what kind of books I enjoy reading. I simply replied, “Theology, mostly.” Her immediate reaction jolted me. Her nose crinkled as if she had just gotten a whiff of a frightened skunk. “That dry and musty stuff? That would put me to sleep” She said with undisguised contempt. She preferred a riveting fiction book (Christian fiction, of course) to mining the depths of the great doctrines of the bible. I have no problem with a good work of fiction, but it struck me as odd that a Christian would much prefer to read a work of fantasy over fact, falsehood over truth. This attitude is prevalent among members of the Evangelical church today. I must admit, I find this paradigm utterly perplexing. I have been in pursuit of a fundamental understanding of theology since the day God saved me from my sins. Admittedly, in the beginning I looked in all the wrong places, but over time the Lord has blessed me richly in attaining at least a rudimentary understanding of biblical and systematic theology. Continue reading