I used to consider myself a conservative evangelical but I’m not sure anymore what I am. A while ago I sent a letter to the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) about resigning from being an “evangelical”. For years I thought I was one. Then they installed a lobbyist in Washington D. C., and here is what I wrote:
“Where can I resign from the “evangelicals’? When your lobbyist shows support for a major abortion advocate, a pro-homosexual, and himself claims to accept domestic partners and is ‘shifting’ his views on homosexuality, I want OUT! My problem is that I am a born again, Bible believing Christian. I thought that’s what evangelicals were. I guess I was wrong. So how do I resign? You have divested the word of its meaning, and replaced it with something unrecognizable, unless you are trying to be part of the National Council of Churches. I guess I’m not evangelical anymore, although I do share the gospel with lost people and endeavor to stand by the Bible. So I don’t know what I am. Maybe you can help me know where I fit in.”
To their credit, the NAE eventually relieved that man from the position. Now I want to know how to resign from being “conservative.” Townhall.com describes itself as “the top source for conservative news.” One of their recent articles carried this title: “Conservative Support for Gay Marriage is Growing.” S.E. Cupp, the author, made what she called “a conservative case for gay marriage and adoption.” She explained, “ We believe the economically stabilizing ad socially responsible institution of marriage.”
My head is spinning. An activist arguing from the position that marriage is stabilizing but gutting the definition of marriage that has been accepted for thousands of years is not conservative. It is not conservative to redefine marriage to include what the scripture terms “men working with men that which is unseemly” and “women [changing] the natural use into that which is against nature” (Rom. 1:26,27) designating it an abomination (Lev. 18:22). To argue that gay marriage is somehow a conservative issue turns words on their heads.
Conservatives are to conserve, not redefine and ruin. Arguing for gay marriage as though it will be a “socially responsible” institution is mind-numbing. This makes no sense unless words totally lose their meanings and can be re-defined at the whims of society or of someone who writes an opinion piece. Perhaps that is where we are. If so, “truth is fallen in the streets.” The adulterous woman “eateth, and wipeth her mouth, and saith, I have done no wrong.” Sinners sin with a high hand but “they were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush.” The idolaters bow before wood and stone but cannot say “is there not a lie in my right hand.” Prophets prophecy lies and “my people love to have it that way.” The leaders read a page from holy writ, cut it with their pen knife and throw it into the fire.
“Truth is fallen in the streets.” Evangelicals are pro gay marriage. Christians are sinners. Good is evil and evil is good. White is black and black is white. Something is nothing and nothing is something. Conservatives are radicals. If that is the case, I resign from being a conservative.
Those of us who believe that the Good News means that Christ died for sins were once considered part of evangelicalism. Those of us who believe that maintaining the basics of our Judeo-Christian heritage were once considered to be conservatives. So what are we, if the terms “evangelical” and “conservative” have dubious present day meanings, at least in the minds of an apparently growing segment of the population?
One of the earliest terms that identified those who followed Jesus was that they were believers. In this age of skepticism where many evangelicals have difficult believing the first chapters in Genesis and others have a problem believing that a person can actually be delivered from sin by the grace of Christ, being designated a believer may be an accurate, understandable description. In this view being a believer in this present age means at least the following:
- Believing that the Bible is God’s word, that God cannot lie, and that His word is true, including the hard parts (even Genesis 1-11).
- Believing that God has and does intervene in the affairs of men, and that the miracles recorded in the Bible actually happened, and that God does amazing and otherwise unexplainable things even in this present time.
- Believing that the prophecies of the Messiah were fulfilled in the person of Jesus of Nazareth, who although he was the divine Son of God was born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, died for the sins of mankind (which sins actually exist because of what is described in Genesis 1-3), was buried, but rose again on the third day and is alive forevermore.
- Believing that a sinful person can be saved from sin by faith in Jesus Christ, can be born again by the Spirit, can be changed and be made new, and that person can be delivered from whatever sins may beset him.
- Believing that Jesus is the only way of salvation, but that way is open to whoever believes.
- Believing that there will be a judgment in which those who are saved will be separated from those who are lost and the saved will go to heaven and the lost will be lost (the nicer term for going to hell).
This is not another Apostle’s Creed, but it does describe a lot of what one holds to who follows the essential beliefs of the early Christians. These beliefs are basic. Sadly, they are no longer fully accepted by many who now may consider themselves to be evangelical. So the term believer may distinguish those who believe these things from those who don’t. That may make for some unique and perhaps tense moments:
Believer: “Hi, there. Are you a Christian?”
Evangelical: “Well, yes. I’m actually an evangelical.”
Believer: “Great. So, are you a believer?”
Evangelical: “A believer? What do you mean?”
Believer: “I mean do you believe the Bible and what it declares?”
Evangelical: “Like about what?”
Believe: Let’s start at the beginning. Do you believe the first chapters of Genesis?
Evangelical: Well, that depends on what you mean by believe. Was Adam a literal person? I’m not sure. Did that serpent really talk to Eve? Who knows. You have to take those stories in their cultural context, you know, and realize that a lot of symbolism was in play.
Believer: I believe that Adam was real, that Eve was literally tempted by a serpent, and that sin and death entered the world as a result of the disobedience of Adam and Eve who were our first parents.
Evangelical: You can’t believe that! It’s unscientific. You can’t be serious.
And that’s when things get tense. The more I consider it, the better I like it. Here I stand: I’m a believer.