In my own experience, there are many "evangelicals" - I like to call them Generic Evangelicals or GEers- who make it a point to avoid any man's teaching on scripture - not Luther, not Calvin, etc. They are the ones who will tell you, "Just give me Jesus." They will become upset when you try to discuss doctrine; in fact, they don't know what the word doctrine means, although they assume it means man's teachings. They only accept their own definition of being born-again (a big buzz word to GE's)and it must include that the person CHOSE, amazingly while still in their own sin and contrary to scripture, to accept Jesus to save themselves from their sins and hell. They then believe they are on the path to achieve holiness in this lifetime, permanantly saved and personally charged with witnessing to the rest of the world. (It is at this point that they put on their car a bumper sticker that says, "I'm not perfect; just forgiven.")
Not surprisingly, this particular group often doesn't last long in the GE world. I once heard an estimate of 5 years, before leaving for a more traditional church or leaving Christianity altogether. This is the group that I left and this is the group I have a heart for, yet I feel woefully ill-equipped to debate them. This group does NOT include many deeper thinking evangelicals, who rightly abhore the GE movement (you know who you are, my friends).
I think Tom might be one of these people. Here's my evidence:
"Maybe, if your thought (because of your love for God's Word) was to identify yourself with Christ rather than a denomination you would understand the uproar."
"This nation is in crisis because the church has turned its head away from sin. If Jesus's own will not call sin sin, who will."
"I have assumed you have placed your faith in Christ to save you from your sin. I am sorry for having assumed that. All need to repent from their sin and trust in the Risen Christ as their savior if they want to realize eternal life with Christ. Once a person does that the Holy Spirit comes to reside in him or her and testifies to the truth of God's Word."
"My prayer ... is that the Mighty God of all will speak into the hearts of all I have encountered here-those who are trusting in Christ’s righteousness alone for their salvation, that He will call them to seek fellowship with others who believe the same-to those trusting only partly in Christ’s work, that He will reveal that to them-to those who are excusing sin, in their life, or other’s lives, that he will show them there is no excuse."
By those statements, Tom was "witnessing" to us and really did not listen to what others were saying. He finally got fed up and gave us warning that God will reject us because we don't believe what he does. I imagine he thought he was shaking the dust off his sandals.
This has been my problem with the GE movement. They proclaim that denominations don't matter - "All that matters is Jesus" - but then they attack Christians who point out scripture that doesn't fit with the GE dogma. In fact, they only accept other denominations when a person can point to the day when they prayed the sinner's prayer and asked Jesus to come into their hearts. The person gets more brownie points if they also one day gave the Holy Spirit authority to jump in, too. (as if!) This is my book idea, but a book idea to a 44 year old mother of teenagers is like talking about spending a year traveling in Europe...at least that how it seems to me. (and so the blog...) This topic has been written about extensively by D.G. Hart, but he writes as a Presbyterian. In fact, he writes that it is irritating to him that he is considered an evangelical:
"So why is it, then, that evangelicalism has become so elastic as to include believers whose beliefs and practices are at odds with the low-church, revivalistic form of piety produced and distributed by numerous successful parachurch officials?...If my denomination is not a member of the NAE, if I do not give to Billy Graham, if I do not read Christianity Today for edification, and if I refuse to put an ichthys medallion on my car, why I am considered an evangelical? Do these scholars, parachurch officials and pundits know something I don't? Can they actually see into my heart?"
So my book idea actually is the opposite of Hart's question:
If, as an evangelical, scripture convicts my heart that I became born-again the day I was baptized and that I can be strengthened and receive forgiveness of sins by taking Christ's body and blood in Holy Communion, then why am I suddenly very out of the club?
Not that I care, because even though I knew it went against what I had been taught, I also could clearly see which group was truly following scripture. However, it remains an issue that doesn't go away in today's Christian world. So, should I care? Should a book be written about this? Can you imagine the blasts from the GE community if such a book were written? Maybe there are other souls to focus on, but I still seem to care about those lost in the lies of the GE movement.