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Is Evangelicalism a false religion?

Discussion in 'Controversial Christian Theology' started by Saint Steven, Jan 23, 2021.

  1. Saint Steven

    Saint Steven You can call me Steve Supporter

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    Though I was raised Evangelical, I have moved steadily away from it for most of my Christian life. To the point where I now see it as an exclusionary religion with a militant zeal for a theological platform.

    When the church should be facing the world with open arms of acceptance and love, Evangelicalism stands with arms crossed and an off-putting scowl. Which is quite apparent in this video below. Notice the demeanor, purpose and message of these two former friends, John MacArthur and Hank Hanegraff.

    What spirit do you discern in these two presentations?



    Hank Hanegraff was Chrismated into the Orthodox Church in April 2017. About a month later, his friend John MacArthur, without mentioning Hanegraaff by name, denounced his conversion during a sermon, saying “it is not to be joined, it is to be cursed" because it rejects the doctrine of faith alone. (As a note, MacArthur basically says that knowledge and belief in the doctrine of faith alone is necessary to be saved, which completely undermines his position).

    Hanegraaff responds to these criticisms with references to scripture, and elaborates the historical context of doctrinal expression.

    As a convert from Evangelical Protestantism, Hanegraaff still hasn’t shed many of his former heterodox presuppositions, and has clear ecuminist tendencies (which I edited out of his response). Nevertheless, given his stature in the media, he has opened a path for many into Orthodoxy, which should be commended; and the mischaracterizations his former colleagues throw at the Ancient Church are just that.
     
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  2. Dave L

    Dave L Well-Known Member Supporter

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    James says; “You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone.” (James 2:24)

    Paul says; “For we consider that a person is declared righteous by faith apart from the works of the law.” (Romans 3:28)

    James speaks of genuine faith that works by love. Paul speaks of genuine Faith (that also works by love) apart from the Ten Commandments which cannot save.
     
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  3. Aussie Pete

    Aussie Pete Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Just the kind of divisive commentary that the church does not need. God does not have a theological exam to test worthiness to enter heaven. God has a stethoscope. All He checks to see is if you are alive or dead. By this I mean alive in Christ or dead in trespass and sin. There is one church, which is all who are born again. I don't believe that we can ever achieve doctrinal unity. I also do not believe that it matters. Lord Jesus made a simple statement. You must be born again in order to see the Kingdom of God.
     
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  4. BrotherJJ

    BrotherJJ Active Member

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    OP: Is Evangelicalism a false religion?

    e·van·gel·ist n.
    1. often Evangelist Any of the authors of the four Gospels in the New Testament, traditionally identified by the names Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.
    2. One who practices evangelism, especially a Protestant preacher or missionary.
    3. One who promulgates or promotes something enthusiastically.
    evangelicalism - Bing

    Mk 16:15 Jesus said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.

    Acts 21:8 And the next day we that were of Paul's company departed, and came unto Caesarea: and we entered into the house of Philip the evangelist, which was one of the seven; and abode with him.

    2 Tim 4:5 But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.

    Rom 10:
    14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?

    17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

    In my opinion evangelicalism it's a fundamental directive given to every believer. Peace, JJ
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2021
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  5. NotreDame

    NotreDame Domer Supporter

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    It would be helpful, in understanding what you’re saying, if there was a working defintion of “evangelicalism.” Regardless, at best you’ve derided a certain kind or a certain practice of evangelicalism, not necessarily evangelicalism itself.
     
  6. Dave L

    Dave L Well-Known Member Supporter

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    evangelicalism. From the Greek euangelion, meaning “good news,” the word evangelical became associated during the *Reformation with the Protestant effort to recover the gospel of Jesus Christ in terms of *justification by faith and *sola gratia. As a particular movement within *Protestantism, however, evangelicalism arose within the context of eighteenth-century revivalism in Britain and the American colonies, developing from roots in *pietism and *Puritanism and influenced by pastors and theologians like John and Charles Wesley or the *Calvinists George *Whitefield and Jonathan *Edwards. It is common to identify some core characteristics of evangelicalism as devotion to Scripture, the centrality of Christ and his *atonement, the priority of *conversion and spiritual experience, and a commitment to activism expressed in proclamation of the gospel through *preaching and *evangelism along with demonstration of the gospel through *social action. Leaders and churches within the Reformed tradition have both converged with and diverged from evangelicalism at different points, as evident in the *New Light/*Old Light controversy during the *Great Awakening. This mixture of support and suspicion was also evident during the twentieth century with the rise of neoevangelicalism as an alternative to *fundamentalism. Whereas some in the Reformed tradition embraced the *ecumenism, activism and *worldview orientation of this new evangelicalism, others were wary of its creedal reductionism, nondenominational spirit and anti-traditional tendencies. Today, while many in the Reformed tradition share the core characteristics of evangelicalism, some resist aligning with this movement in its contemporary form, and others insist on maintaining Reformed distinctives while affirming evangelical emphases.

    Kapic, K. M., & Vander Lugt, W. (2013). In Pocket Dictionary of the Reformed Tradition (pp. 49–50). Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic.
     
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  7. Saint Steven

    Saint Steven You can call me Steve Supporter

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    This is a discussion. Weigh in.
    For the purposes of this OP, John MacArthur is an Evangelical leader, he is representative of Evangelicalism. Agree or disagree?

    John MacArthur is attacking Eastern Orthodoxy. Are you okay with that? Is this a manifestation of a true, or false religion?
     
  8. Rene Loup

    Rene Loup Saved Wolf Among Sheep

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    What eventually caused me walk away from American Evangelicalism was the heavy emphasis on American politics. While they do have some valuable teachings, their desperation for a Christian revival in the United States has lead them to make some very questionable decisions...

    My mentor told me when pastors and preachers start infusing politics into their sermons, walk away from them. From my own studies of the Bible so far, I would say Christianity goes across the entire political spectrum. Some of the Bible's values are clearly conservative, some clearly liberal, and some even take middle ground. Because of this, anyone who labels himself a "Conservative Christian" or a "Liberal Christian" only comes across to me as a Cafeteria Christian, in my own honest opinion.

    My best advice is this: Read, study, memorize, and KNOW Scripture with open minds, honest hearts, and be prepared to use analytical and critical thinking. English Language Arts class has proven invaluable in studying the greatest piece of literature in existence. Speaking from personal experience, having an over-reliance on others to study Scripture for you carries an outrageously high level of risk.
     
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  9. Andrewn

    Andrewn Well-Known Member CF Ambassadors Supporter

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    The way I see it, is that Fundamentalists with their creedal reductionism, nondenominational spirit and anti-traditional tendencies have hijacked the designation "Evangelism" so that in contemporary usage they became the same Dispensationalist Premillennialist religion. I completely understand why the Reformed tradition would either resist aligning with this movement in its contemporary form or insist on maintaining Reformed distinctives while affirming evangelical emphases.

    It's really unfortunate, that such a beautiful designation has become more or less equivalent to a false religion.
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2021
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  10. chevyontheriver

    chevyontheriver Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Evangelicalism has many good aspects. MacArthurism though, seems to concentrate on some of the worst aspects, most predominantly the historical anti-Catholicism which survives in evangelicalism. It's so bad in MacArthurism that he has to attack Orthodoxy too and an old friend. MacArthurism is a dogmatic blindness. Hannegraff aptly handled it by quoting James.

    The spirit of MacArthurism is small. Hannegraff's is larger even though he manages to hold on to his own anti-Catholicism.

    Reactionary theology is ill advised. MacArthurism is reactionary theology. Since time is short we believers should be working on a theology where we hang together because otherwise we will hang apart as militant secularism comes after us to destroy us. Will MacArthur maintain his superiority over other Christians and gleefully watch them imprisoned? We need some better theology than that. I'm not saying theological content does not matter. I'm not advocating theological mush. Just that MacArthurism is failing Christians. To the extent evangelicalism is MacArthurism, it's a failure. To the extent that evangelicalism and Orthodoxy are anti-Catholic they are failures. We need to figure out how to undo the 500 year rift of the reformation and the 1000 year old rift of the schism. Until we do, the world doesn't have the witness to Christ that it should and we will all suffer, believers will suffer persecution and unbelievers will suffer without Christ.

    Note I didn't say Catholics were blameless in the disunity of Christianity. Just that it's time to do away with reactionary theology that looks to exclude other Christians and blinds the reactionaries from seeing the whole truth of the Bible and of history.
     
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  11. Saint Steven

    Saint Steven You can call me Steve Supporter

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    Basically, I turned over a rock labeled Evangelicalism and MacArthurism crawled out. (thanks to @chevyontheriver for the term MacArthurism)
     
  12. Saint Steven

    Saint Steven You can call me Steve Supporter

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    As a Protestant, I have rarely even been inside a Catholic, or Eastern Orthodox church building. Both Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy claim to be the only true church. Thus inferring there is no other true church and that Protestants left the church.

    But I don't recall ever hearing a Catholic, or Eastern Orthodox leader declaring Protestantism a false religion. But that happens from the Protestant direction toward Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy, the OP video being a blatant example of such.

    What's your take on that?
     
  13. 2PhiloVoid

    2PhiloVoid Triangulating THE WAY out of the void! Supporter

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    Well, I empathize with you in what you're drawing out in your OP, Brother Steven. I think it's unfortunate that the term itself gets claimed by an assortment of both Protestants and some Catholics, because it then becomes an equivocal term that sometimes causes others to surmise that everyone else who identifies with it thinks the same way.

    I'm sure that there are some other lifeforms under that same rock, but it might take a magnifying glass by which to spot them and differentiate them. From the sources I have, I think it's best to just keep in mind that there's a range of meanings on a spectrum for "Evangelicalism." Not all of them are as stiff as MacArthur's is.

    I mean, I don't know. Maybe it's time to ditch the term since it's not conducive to clarity any longer?
     
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  14. mkgal1

    mkgal1 His perfect way sets me free. 2 Samuel 22:33 Supporter

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    Quoting from article:
    in 1976, the term went mainstream when a peanut farmer named Jimmy Carter won the Democratic primary and then the general election. He became the first U.S. President to call himself a “born again” evangelical Christian. Pundits scrambled to understand who evangelicals were and how many existed. Newsweek ran a cover story declaring 1976 the “year of the evangelical.”

    Not to be left out, more conservative evangelicals who diverged from Carter politically began mobilizing under new organizational banners like the Christian Coalition and the Moral Majority—collectively labeled the religious right. These politically active conservative Christians were well-funded and media savvy, but they were only able to become synonymous with evangelicalism with the help of American pollsters.
    "What Does Evangelical Mean? - The Atlantic" What Is an 'Evangelical'?
     
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  15. mkgal1

    mkgal1 His perfect way sets me free. 2 Samuel 22:33 Supporter

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    "Religious right" may be a clearer title. This article is older.....but helps to describe the overall goals of the Religious Right:


    Religious Right groups have a specific set of goals for American life. They speak openly of “taking back” America, of asserting control over the lives of every single citizen. They have an agenda, and they want action on it.

    None of this is a secret. Religious Right organizations brag about what they hope to achieve on their Web sites and in their publications. They hold national meetings and conventions to plot strategy. Their leaders issue marching orders to millions of American followers over radio, television and the Internet.

    Yet many Americans remain unaware of the scope of the power, money and aspirations of the Religious Right – or how radical its goals are. More than 25 years have passed since a band of conservative strategists convinced the Rev. Jerry Falwell to lead the Moral Majority, and the movement is today at the apex of its political power.

    The reign of Bush, the first president truly wedded to the Religious Right’s agenda, has focused new attention on the movement. This special issue of Church & State takes a look at the goals of the Religious Right, its structure and its major players.

    Americans United has monitored the Religious Right since the movement’s genesis with the rise of Falwell in 1979. AU staffers read Religious Right publications and monitor group Web sites, radio and television broadcasts as well as other media. AU staff members also frequently attend Religious Right gatherings to get an insider’s view of the movement. This approach gives AU a unique perspective that few outsiders can match.​

    The information AU has compiled provides a compelling counterpoint to claims of a “war on Christians” in American society. According to AU’s analysis, the nation’s top ten Religious Right groups are hardly persecuted. They raked in nearly half a billion dollars collectively. (Some organizational budget figures are from 2004, and some are from 2005. The collective total is $447,368,625.) These groups are well organized, well funded and have specific policy goals.

    Republican leaders in Washington are so obsessed with keeping the Religious Right happy that they have established a “Values Action Team” in the House headed by U.S. Rep. Joseph Pitts (R-Pa.) and a Senate version headed by U.S. Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.). The units serve as special liaisons between Congress and the Religious Right. Far from being relegated to the back of the public policy bus, Religious Right lobbyists are often sitting in the driver’s seat.​

    The Religious Right has grown so powerful it enjoys a veto over many national Republican candidates. Any Republican who aspires to the presidency must first get a blessing from the Religious Right. ~ The Religious Right And American Freedom

    2014- The Real Origins of the Religious Right
     
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  16. Jesus is YHWH

    Jesus is YHWH my Lord and my God ! Supporter

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    Well Mac is correct we are not saved by faith plus works that is heretical. We are saved by faith alone apart from the works of the law. Good works are the result of Salvation not the means of salvation which is by grace through faith as per Ephesians 2:8-10.

    hope this helps !!!
     
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  17. chevyontheriver

    chevyontheriver Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Did you by chance watch the video of MacArthur and then Hannagraff? What did you think of what Hannagraff said about the accusation against him? Did he defend himself falsely?
     
  18. Jesus is YHWH

    Jesus is YHWH my Lord and my God ! Supporter

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    The two of them need to sit down and discuss this together and openly. Just like on a forum sometimes we can talk past one another which seems to be the case in this video.
     
  19. chevyontheriver

    chevyontheriver Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I find a lot of good in evangelicalism. Without it I don't know how I would have turned out. From the evangelical mother of a high school classmate to IVCF in college to an evangelical/charismatic Lutheran group a bit later on, and an evangelical cousin, it's been good for me. My friend and now wife was a solid evangelical until she saw her objections to Catholicism go up in smoke. She decided she needed to study up on all of the Catholic flaws and it backfired on her. She has turned out to be a powerful prayer warrior Catholic. But yes, I've had my share of people telling me I'm going to hell for being Catholic.

    I think the good of evangelicalism ought to be celebrated. It outweighs the bad. But it badly needs to come to a completion liturgically. It also needs a theological cross fertilization with Catholicism and Orthodoxy. And Catholicism and Orthodoxy both critically need the cross fertilization with evangelicalism.
     
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  20. chevyontheriver

    chevyontheriver Well-Known Member Supporter

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    You could go in person and quietly sit in the back. I'm not so fond of the on-line experience, so I won't actually recommend that to you but just say that is also available. If you want I could give you some URLs. But in person is better. And can be done very anonymously. And I could send suggestions to you on that if you send me a private message. Very briefly, look at masstimes.org and search for parishes that offer perpetual adoration. Those are the diamonds generally.
    More or less, but for Catholics not exactly. I won't speak for Orthodoxy here. The Catholic Church says the true Church subsists in the Catholic Church. That's a very technical definition that would take pages to unpack. Briefly it allows us to recognize that the Orthodox are also a real part of the true Church even though separated AND that there are elements of that same true Church found to varying degrees among Protestants.

    Well, there ARE definite elements of the Church among Protestants. A Catholic would have to be dense not to see that or admit it. There are many elements of holiness, considerable faith, and love, and hope. Good preaching, love of the Bible, sound moral teaching. Not all evenly distributed by any means, but definitely present. Further, baptism is validly practiced by almost all Protestants.
    We Catholics aren't looking at Protestants as entirely false, but as admixtures in varying proportions. And we have learned to see the good where we can find it. Not to major on cutting others down. Sometimes we are even to gushy with regard to our separated brethren. It hasn't always been that way, but the old polemical habits of both sides have given way a bit on the Catholic side. Much of that was due to popes John XXIII and John Paul II and Benedict XVI.

    You might want to give these a gander, with links to the actual texts in the articles about them. The texts themselves are very accessible:
     
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