As a new Christian in the late 1970’s I was naïve and thought all Christians followed the teachings of the Bible and formulated doctrine and church polity objectively from the sacred Scriptures.
I have heard it said “balance is the key to life”. I agree with that statement, as I have found that any truth taken to the extreme (that ignores others aspects related to its subject) is unbalanced and can be harmful. This is also why Paul the Apostle said that he teaches “the whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:27), which involves a full-orbed presentation of truth.
For many years there has been a movement among Evangelicals in which the gospel has been reduced to just a simple individual salvation message. Those that preach evangelistic messages on Sundays with an altar call are the only true ones preaching the gospel according to these Evangelicals. However, is that all there is to the gospel of Christ? While I believe it is important we point to the death, burial and Resurrection of Christ as much as possible, is this done only through overt evangelistic messages?
When I was a new Christian I naively thought that everyone read the Bible the same way with virtually one interpretation that all born again Christians would have. One of the biggest shocks I experienced occurred about six months into my walk with God, when I met a fundamentalist Baptist preacher who was trying to convince me that all Pentecostals were being misled by the devil.
In the nineteenth century higher critical views of Scripture (as opposed to lower critical views that concern biblical exegesis involving the study of historical context and culture, the author’s intent, and so on) came on the scene when German scholars questioned the authenticity of Scripture with a reductionistic approach, in which the Bible was treated like any other document, instead of starting with the assumption of divine inspiration. The following are some of the common challenges to the widely held Evangelical belief of the divine inspiration of Scripture.
The Evangelical church has been in flux the past several decades—going from one extreme to the next—and in many respects losing its center. Thus it is really hard to define what an Evangelical is today except for the very ambiguous definition of a person who believes the Bible is the word of God (there are even varying degrees of this within Evangelicalism) and in salvation through the vicarious death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
As a product of the Word of Faith movement in the early 1980’s I will forever be indebted to the books and teachings of Kenneth Hagin, Smith Wigglesworth, John G. Lake, T.L. Osborn and the like.
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