I think I have finally nailed what my problem is. It’s that i’m just not an Evangelical. I was for the better part of my Christ following life very integrated and involved at a local church associated with the Evangelical Free Church. Which is no where near free of Evangelical’s humorously.
On the of tenants of the Evangelical and the Free church is that they celebrate diversity of theological thought and faith tradition except where it conflicts with a handful of their statements of faith. Which as it turns out appear general but really aren’t.
The latter 5 years of my involvement were more bore more frustration than fruit which ended with me leaving to join another smaller faith community.
As I reflected on the diverse range of celebrated and historic faith traditions I think i’ve realized that the brand of American evangelicalism that is popular in the US is simply not for me. Friend of Nail to the Door Kurt Willems wrote a great article which spurred my thinking on this called “You Might Be an Evangelical Reject If..” I think the conclusion for me is where that is true that I am a Evangelical reject the real problem is that I am simply not an Evangelical.
If I was to dive deeper on why I think this is it would be because much of the current brand of American Evangelicalism we encounter today is highly influenced by reformed Calvinism. Inherent in that is still a mentality which is engrained into Calvinism which is the idea that it is the only true expression of biblical Christianity. This viewpoint is arrogant and does not allow for genuine theological dialogue.
Now the crux of this issue does not necessarily reach full steam until someone who is not an evangelical, like me, tries to get into leadership. Evangelical churches as well as the Free church that I was apart of is entirely comfortable with different brands of theological thought by their attendees but not by those in leadership or more specifically their approved teachers.
I understand the need to protect and guard certain essential doctrinal points, however what I find hard to swallow is when one view assumes that their’s is right and everyone else is wrong and in need of correction. This is the mindset I find in Evangelicalism. Of course I recognize that not all evangelical church’s face this problem or have non-open-minded people in them. Simply that generally I find it more frequently there. AND of course it exists in other faith traditions because people are human and most humans don’t know how to disagree well. None-the-less I find the non-open-minded-ness less in the other faith traditions I have explored.
This is also at the heart of why I think many young people in American churches are voicing their frustration and exploring new ways of doing and being the church. I feel they too have recognized that they are simply not Evangelical. The problem is we are theological mutts as our friend Carson puts it. Because of this perhaps we should start a church just for theological mutts called the Pound.. HAHA.
If I was to say what I resonate most with i’d say its a mix of Wesleyan, Anglican and Mennonite Brethren with perhaps a little Amish sprinkled in for fun.