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Tag Archives: Evangelicalism
I’m a master of blog titles, am I not?
This week my first book in Swedish was released. It’s called Jesus was Also a Refugee and is co-authored with evangelical pastor Stefan Swärd. It develops a Christian perspective on the refugee crisis and the European xenophobic movement. Our conclusion is obviously that Christians should bless and welcome immigrants and refugees and not oppose migration from poor, dangerous countries to rich and safe countries.
One surprising finding is that many xenophobic and racist Christians have a liberal, or progressive, view on theology. This is very evident if you look at Nazi Germany in the 1930’s: liberal theologians like Paul Althaus and Emanuel Hirsch celebrated Hitler and hated Jews. They combined their Nazi rants with biblical criticism and despising any effort to follow the commands of Jesus as they are expressed in the New Testament.
Liberal Christians are also very prominent in the main xenophobic party of my nation, the Sweden Democrats. This party has neo-Nazi roots and try to appeal to Christian values in contrast to Muslim or socialist values. They have been working hard to gain influence in the Church of Sweden, by electing people who hold on to nationalism while also being very liberal theologically. (more…)
Evangelical blogger and author Rachel Held Evans is no longer evangelical; she has joined the Episcopalian church which, in the US, is not very theologically conservative but rather progressive or liberal. This isn’t very surprising since Evans has been very critical to evangelical theology as well as evangelical views on politics, women, the LGBT community etc.
In an interview that has been published in several media, including Sojourners, Evans names these progressive values along with sacramental church life as being the reason she joined Episcopalianism. She’s also asked to comment the fact that the Episcopalian church is rapidly losing church attendees, to which she responds:
Just about every denomination in the American church — including many evangelical denominations — is seeing a decline in numbers, so if it’s a competition, then we’re all losing, just at different rates… Lately I’ve been wondering if a little death and resurrection is exactly what the American church needs… A church might produce thousands of attendees without producing any disciples.
This is quite remarkable, since the point of one of Evans’ most famous articles on CNN’s Belief Blog is that evangelical churches must become more liberal to stop millenials from leaving them. This is a similar argument to John Shelby Spong‘s famous thesis that Christianity must change or die. A former bishop in Evans’ new church, Spong argued that this change includes stop believing in theism, stop beliving in the supernatural, stop believing that prayer is useful and stop believing in physical resurrection. Pretty ridiculous. Evans is far from this extreme, but her reasoning in the CNN article was similar: liberal Christianity is necessary for church growth.
I discovered the Hopewell Network of Churches today, an interdenominational network which was birthed when Charismatic renewal hit some Mennonite churches. Though more denominations are included today, the network still enhance Anabaptist values – especially the pacifist stance – which makes this a unique and, in my opinion, more biblical type of Charismatic network. I love when they write:
We are charismatic in that we believe in the Baptism of the Holy Spirit as a subsequent experience to salvation that is available to each believer. We believe all the gifts of the Holy Spirit are available for the believer today.
We have the expectation that the empowering ministry of the Holy Spirit and the gifts of the Holy Spirit will be embraced and taught in our churches. We desire to see believers in all our churches encouraged with the Baptism of the Holy Spirit and taught how to exercise these gifts in their lives. We do not teach that the gift of tongues is the initial or only evidence of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. There is flexibility in how these gifts are administered in the context of public services and the life of the church. Leaders are expected to lead people into a personal encounter with the Holy Spirit and to encourage the accompanying gifts.
We are Anabaptist in that we hold to many of the values of Anabaptism. We have the expectation that Anabaptist values will be supported and encouraged among the churches. The Anabaptist peace position, for instance, is the official position of the network in that we encourage forms of service other then the military. At the same time, we do honor individual conscience on this matter. It would be our expectation that every young person in a Hopewell Church has heard a clear teaching on the Anabaptist view as they make their life decisions about service.
We are evangelical in that we believe the primary focus of the church should be on the centrality of Jesus and his commission of reaching the harvest. We take a clear stand on the full authority and inspiration of Scripture.