- adj. Pertaining to certain movements in the Protestant churches in the 18th and 19th centuries that stressed the importance of personal experience of guilt for sin, and of reconciliation to God through Christ.
- n. an adherent of evangelical doctrines marked by ardent or zealous enthusiasm for a cause
Amazing how a very popular word, that can be used in two different ways, can mean totally different things.
As an adjective, calling an action evangelical expresses fervor, passion and a firm commitment. However, as a noun, it denotes lukewarm people, phlegmatic expressions and tepid pablum.
You know, “I respect the person but that ‘Aw shucks’ attitude about Jesus is completely annoying.” And then, anyone in the Church rattles off the names ad nauseum: Rick Warren, Ted Haggard, Bill Hybels and Joel Osteen completing the “Non-Prophet Organization” (Imagine my cheesy grin now).
They sell books. They pack stadiums. They get invited to the big boys table at the White House. And they are living large! So, it’s all good, right?
In his new book, an insider critique called “A Lover’s Quarrel with the Evangelical Church” (Authentic Books, $16.99), Smith argues that many, if not most, evangelical churches have lost their way. Instead of sticking with core biblical principles, rich traditions and church-as-community, he says, they promote feel-goodism, technological fads and church-as-entertainment.
Look out. Warren Cole Smith getting nice with “feel-goodism.” I know I didn’t study that theorem in Seminary, but I’m feelin’ it.
And, along with that new theological bent comes the technology to promote it: Twitter (I think I just threw up a little on my PC thinking of this trend for churches).
I mean, we should all have an elevator speech to witness – keep it simple, keep it sanctified. But, to ONLY do it in 140 characters or less?! That’s not outreach. That’s just plain lazy and saying you witness just for the sake of saying you do. But, that seems to be the trend these days.
Revelation 3:15-16 (NASB) tells us, “I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot… So then because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spit you out of my mouth.”
While you kids are gallivanting around in your Learjets teaching the common man to “become a better you”, “being a contagious Christian”, “having a purpose-driven life” or just doing blow with a gay prostitute while fronting biblical organizations, there is all pomp… no circumstance.
Matthew 28:19 (NKJV) commands us to “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations…”
Are you doing that, or just pitching a tent for a day, promoting a cause, pushing an ATM and leaving town to cut bait?
Now, before you consider me to be some reject ne’er-do-well, consider Smith who is about to punk the guy pushing folk to get “their best life now”:
Joel Osteen has a view of the world that you can have your best life now,” Smith said. “If I were going to rewrite Genesis and put (modern) words into the mouth of Satan … I’d put Joel Osteen’s words there: ‘You’re not so bad. You’re so close to being God now. Just a little tweak, a little tune-up, a little bit better. Just follow these 7 rules.’
Since I found this article, I have read this book… twice!
If you believe there is no issues with today’s Church and how they have become the Freudian couch of tomorrow, think again. If you consider how we are supposed to reach the lost, and aren’t, this book makes you think twice and reinvent the way you live a Jesus life out loud. If you think nothing is wrong, then … uh, I don’t know… read the Bible:
“Having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.” (2 Timothy 3:5 ESV).
NOW… go read the book. This is unsolicited but it got my goat. What can I say? Oh wait, scroll up… no “feel-goodism” there. Let’s hope it sticks.