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Evangelicalism’s Cultural Captivity

“We erred. We did not know that evangelicalism in America is more than a theological term. It is a cultural definition; a religious counterpart to the prevailing mood of conservative and secular nationalism.

The event that illuminated the cultural captivity of much of evangelicalism was the civil rights struggle in America. Evangelicals, both black and white, were conspicuously absent from the struggle throughout the sixties. The reason was that we were all victims of the same disease–egalitarian racism.” –William E. Pennell, March 1975

Got this from Fuller’s magazine Spring 2014


“There is a dif…

“There is a difference between a lifestyle in which mean-spirited interpersonal interactions are frequent, intentional, and believed to be right and a lifestyle in which they are infrequent, unintentional, and believed to be wrong. The difference is between a potentially damning misunderstanding of God’s plan and an occasional moral lapse for which one would repent.” –Charles Knowles, 47.


God’s Gift Separated from God’s Demand

Many evangelicals in general and Southern Baptists in particular seem to embrace a long-standing doctrine of salvation that is excessively privatized and spiritualized in which God’s gift is separated from God’s demand. According to Scripture, however, salvation is both gift and demand, and it is personal and social. Overstressing the gift at the expense of the demand and the personal at the expense of the social has had consequences that are both far-reaching and harmful. In direct contrast to the Great Commandment, the relationship with God (love God) is separated from the relationship with others (love neighbor) and holiness is separated from walking in love. Thus it is possible to hold the unbiblical belief that one can love God and be “holy,” or be “right with God,” regardless of one’s behavior toward others.–Charles O. Knowles, Let Her Be, 19


“God then showe…

“God then showed me that we should use women as cell leaders. This was totally revolutionary to us, not only as conservative, Bible believing Christians, but as Koreans. In Korea, as in most of the Orient, leadership is man’s business. The traditional role for women was to marry, have children and keep a good and happy home…[F]or women to be given positions of responsibility and authority in the church was more revolutionary than establishing the cell system itself….In all the years I have been teaching the cell system, I have found my female associates have been loyal and reliable. My advice to you then is, ‘Don’t be afraid of using women’ in leadership.” –Dr. Paul Yonggi Cho from Full Gospel Church in Seol, Korea

The “Simplicity of Scripture”

“The power of the proslavery scriptural position–especially in a Protestant world of widespread intuitive belief in the plenary inspiration of the whole Bible–lay in its simplicity…In effect: open the Bible, read it, believe it.” –Mark Noll, The Civil War as a Theological Crisis, 33.


I can’t stand your religious meetings.

I’m fed up with your conferences and conventions.

I want nothing to do with your religion projects,

Your pretentious slogans and goals.

I’m sick of your fund-raising schemes,

your public relations and image making.

I’ve had all I can take of your noisy ego-music…

Do you know what I want?

I want justice.

Amos 5:21-24 The Message

The Center of His Will is our Safety

I was familiar with the writing of World War II holocaust survivor Corrie ten Boom who had written, “The center of His will is our only safety.” Like many Christians, I had falsely translated this to mean that so long as we are doing God’s will, we would all be safe. I did not know or understand at the time that these words were spoken from inside the horror of a Nazi concentration camp. I did not know that what she meant by these words was that no matter how evil our opposition, how horrific our suffering and how violent our death, that ultimately we remain untouchable in the hands of him who holds the keys to life. –Daniel Walker, God in a Brothel, 153