04 August 2008

The Fallout of All Those Fads

Living in the aftermath of the great evangelical disaster
Part III of a series

(First posted 21 July 2005)



Time magazine's recent photo essay on "The 25 Most Influential Evangelicals" would have been enough all by itself to convince me the evangelical movement has suffered a fatal meltdown. The list included people like T. D. Jakes, who denies the Trinity; former Lutheran-turned-Catholic priest Richard John Neuhaus; Joyce Meyer, the jet-setting charismatic prosperity-gospel preacherette; and Brian McLaren, the postmodern pastor who dilutes almost every historic evangelical distinctive he doesn't outright deny, and whose views on the authority of Scripture undermine the concept of truth itself.

Thirty years ago, not one of those people would have been included in any list of evangelicals. They are not evangelicals in the historic sense of the word.

What has changed? The answer is clear: the concept of evangelicalism has been expanded to become virtually all-inclusive. The word evangelical has lost its historic meaning. These days it means everything—and it therefore means nothing.

So while evangelicalism may seem to be gaining clout and respectability in the eyes of secular media like Time, the truth is that evangelicals themselves are actually less evangelical. The movement has collapsed on itself.

By the way, it is clear where Time magazine thinks evangelicalism's clout is being felt the most—and it's not in spiritual matters. It's mostly in the realm of politics and entertainment—pop culture.

The word evangelical used to describe a well-defined theological position. What made evangelicals distinct was their commitment to the authority of Scripture and the exclusivity of Christ. Now "evangelicalism" is a political movement, and its representatives hold a wide variety of theological beliefs—from Neuhaus's Roman Catholicism to Jakes's heretical Sabellianism, to Joyce Meyer's radical charismaticism, to Brian McLaren's anti-scriptural postmodernism. There's only one person in Time's entire list who would remotely qualify as an evangelical theologian: J. I. Packer. And Packer himself has been on a quest for the past 20 years to make evangelicalism as broad and ecumenical as possible.

Frankly, none of the people highlighted above would even agree among themselves on any of the points of doctrine that make their respective views distinctive. They probably wouldn't even agree on the essential points of the gospel message. The one thing they clearly do agree on is that they'd like to see the evangelical movement become as broad and inclusive as possible.

But that's not really historical evangelicalism, is it? That kind of latitudinarianism has always belonged to Socinians, Deists, modernists, and theological liberals. It is antithetical to the historic principles of the evangelical movement.


58 comments:

Willem Bronkhorst said...

A spin-off of all this that I do not particularly enjoy (not that I enjoy any of its spin-offs) is the way in which even teenagers who have had no greater insight into the evangelical Faith beyond having been zapped by some "Christian" Rock band, go around pulling up their little "spiritual noses" at anyone who does not think these heretics are cool. They get that attitde from their TBN drenched parents.

Mean Dean said...

So many words of text simply to point out, we have a generation of popular post-modern pastors and pastorettes proving what Paul said in 2 Timothy 4:3 was correct.

@Phil, how about an enumeration of their tenants on one side, and your arguments on the other? As a teaching tool. As parody, make it one of those fun "Match this head to this doctrine/what they said" games.

jonny said...

it seems to me that this sort of problem is a result of a general ignorance of any sort of theology on the part of them majority of Christians out there today. Case and point... "The Shack" by William P. Young is currently #9 of all books on Amazon.com (last week it was #4). People are raving about the book! The problem is that it promotes a modalistic view of the trinity, and clearly teaches that God the Father didn't turn His back on Christ when He was on the cross (effectively making the atonement of Christ ineffective). I believe that this book's popularity is due to the fact that people know so little of theology and, in general, are unaccustomed to thinking about God, His nature, His relationship to us, etc. Then they pick up a book like this, or watch TBN and see something that they like and don't have the ability to distinguish truth from heresy.
I believe this stems from the failure on the part of most churches to train their people in theology. In my experience the ones that do are looked at by their peers as "cults". I have had pastors tell me that certain churches in our area were "cults" because they teach their people systematic theology! It is really sad! It reminds me of the pre-reformation Catholic church that denied the Scriptures to the laymen in order to maintain their power base. I think there are real parallels between that time and our time. People in our day may have the Bible... but they (in most cases) are not trained to love it or apply it.

Bo Salisbury said...

Phil wrote:

Now "evangelicalism" is a political movement

Mercifully, political evangelicalism appears to have collapsed on itself, as well.

The Spokesman said...

Thirty years ago, not one of those people would have been included in any list of evangelicals. They are not evangelicals in the historic sense of the word.

What has changed? The answer is clear: the concept of evangelicalism has been expanded to become virtually all-inclusive.


With self-preservation and self-promotion trumping love for truth is it no wonder that so called churches have abandoned polemics and called for peace without purity while criticizing those who would dare take a stand for truth as "dividing the body of Christ" and "trouble-makers?"

The outcome of course is an ecumenical movement that is inclusive and non-offending with the only thing excluded being truth itself.

Willem Bronkhorst said...

Jonny: "People in our day may have the Bible... but they (in most cases) are not trained to love it or apply it".

That is true. The problem is even more complex, though. Ironically it is to a degree even the very principle of Scripture Alone which has degenerated into a kind of me-and-the-bits-of-the-bible-I-like-after-I-have-twisted-them-to-my-liking-alonism.

Solameanie said...

"Pastorette." Funnily enough, I had not seen that term before today. Hilarious. Makes me think of "bachelorettes" on "The Dating Game."

Dr. Ron Gleason is one of a growing number of Christian leaders who says he is leaning toward not using the term "evangelical" any longer. It's a sad day when that has to come to pass, but understandable. If you use "fundamentalist," that often gets you in hot water as well. If you say "orthodox Christian," they think you're under the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople. What's a believer to do when no label seems to fit any longer?

DJP said...

I was going to fling the same question at Phil. Plus, a certain individual wants to deny "reformed" to anyone who isn't an amil babyspatterer in addition to everything else.

Calvidispiebaptogelical works for me, at present. But I doubt it will catch on.

Bo Salisbury said...

Dude! It's the chickification of the church

BJ Irvin said...

Well, we knew this was coming...

"For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect. (Matthew 24:24)

So we oughtn't be surprised. But the good news is:

"For just as the lightning comes from the east and flashes even to the west, so will the coming of the Son of Man be. (Matthew 24:27)

Even so, come quickly Lord Jesus!

jonny said...

that is true, William. I guess I should have said that they aren't trained to use it PROPERLY, but in reality I don't know if many of them could be trained at all!
I think that it has to do with how consumerism meets egocentrism meets post-modernism. If truth is relative, then I have my choice of "which truth" I wish to consume... Additionally, I am entitled to what I want and no one can tell me I can't have what I want because I determine my own standard for truth, value, and relevance. I guess it is this kind of thinking that drives the church marketing trend mentioned a couple days ago as well as this loss of significance in labels. After all... I can call myself evangelical if I want, and in a post-modern economy of truth, no one can challenge my stance... I am my own standard!
In regards to Scripture; according to this worldview, people no longer understand that we are subject to, live UNDER the authority of, and RECEIVE truth from Scripture. They see themselves as ABOVE Scripture and TAKE from it what they want. They see it as subject to their needs.

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

I love reading a good PyroManiac post on a Monday morning to get my week off to a good start!

Pyro == Fire.

Maniac == Arsonist for the Lord!

Why do I enjoy (and chuckle in amusement at) PJ's post?

Because he utters a fire-breathing truth that unites and... divides.

Mesa Mike said...

> They probably wouldn't even agree
> on the essential points of the
> gospel message.

You're right. Some of those heretics don't realize that the Gospel is all about how Jesus gives us magical super-powers.

Sin? What's that?

Dave .... said...

I don't know what to call myself anymore, and no, Dan, you're NOT helping. The nomenclature has become so muddied that you spend half your time defining terms. I tried to explain why PM group self-absorption is not the same as congregational worship and one of my hearers said that I just had a “style problem”. I know that the Holy Spirit is in me because I didn’t slap the guy spit-less. The church isn’t just polluted, it’s DILUTED. I think a good reformed view of “membership” has a preservative effect, and the church has given that up in favor of growth in numbers (the bitch-goddess of success). Is it any wonder that I can’t call myself a “Christian” or an “Evangelical” and have anybody know what I mean?

donsands said...

It's sad to hear this kind of truth.

One would think the opposite, that the disciples of Jesus Christ would be fired up for the Gospel, and for His glory, and for the love of the Father in the Holy Spirit.

But the true disciples are, aren't they. The wheatfield shall have tares, until the harvest, but it is a wheatfield, not a tare field.

I'm looking forward to seeing a great move of God's Spirit as He has done in the past.
That will be something to see.
Regardless though, me and my house will serve the Lord.

Carol Jean said...

DJP said, "Calvidispiebaptogelical works for me, at present. But I doubt it will catch on."

Maybe neo-reformed is where this is going.

Personally, I think if we wait a few years we'll be able to go back to simply "Christian." The "authenticity" crowd holds their nose when they catch a whiff of it now and counters with "Christ Follower" (does this paradigm shift offend anyone else?) Kimball keeps telling us that the name "Christian is offensive to too many people.......hmmmm....

A couple more years and none but the fundiest of the fundies will be willing to call themselves "Christian."

Stefan said...

When Phil wrote:

"They probably wouldn't even agree on the essential points of the gospel message,"

one could read that as:

"Time's 25 'most influential evangelicals' wouldn't even agree on the essential points of the Evangel."

The looseness in self-definition as "evangelical" stems (obviously) from looseness in the definition of "evangel"—or more precisely, lack of commitment to the Good News of Jesus Christ.

Much of the reason it took me years of stubborn stiff-neckedness before I repented and surrendered to Jesus Christ, is due to the fact that I grew up thinking the likes of some of these—the Sunday-morning televangelists; the smooth operators; the theological liberals; all with their crossless "gospel"—were what defined Christianity.

Stefan said...

Calviposttribulo-credobaptogelical works for me.

BJ Irvin said...

I tend to favor "Biblical Christianity". It may leave some wanting more definition but it at least establishes the basis for that definition and/or discussion.

Plus it's a lot easer to say than DJP's "Calvafragilisticexpealadocious". :)

DJP said...

That's okay.

I've got "Biblical Christianity" copyrighted anyway (see my blog and web page).

(c:

BJ Irvin said...

Nice. Let me know if I owe you anything. :)

chris said...

Carol Jean,

Just go with "Christian," and if somenoe counters with, "Christ-follower," insist they're the same thing, especially with regards to the inerrency of Scripture, the need for salvation, etc etc; all those things Jesus believed in. Why let them have all the fun with re-defining words with obvious meaning to the rest of the world?

Susan said...

Dan said: "Plus, a certain individual wants to deny "reformed" to anyone who isn't an amil babyspatterer in addition to everything else."

Uh oh. Are you allowed to name this person here, Dan? I'm really curious!

DJP said...

Rhymes with Schmiddleschmarger.

The Doulos said...

Hey, let's remember that this is a classic Pyro post from three years ago. It's all gotten a lot better since then, right?

(/sarcasm)

I really don't like the "Christ-follower" moniker, since it doesn't convey the real sense of the new birth in Christ. Paul would first and foremost call himself one who has died with Christ, and who Christ now lives through. I like the term "born again Christ-follower" even with all the baggage that has. Or perhaps "recipient of sovereign grace."

Yeah, I'm starting to shy away from the Reformed label these days as there's too much paedobaptismal luggage with that too. Schmiddleschmarger be darned...

Susan said...

Whew. That article on the Schmiddleschmarger post is making my head spin ever so slightly....

In the end (i.e., at Christ's second coming), will labels of the true Christians matter, except maybe for settling the pre-trib/post-trib/postmil/amil debate once and for all and for the "winners" to say, "See, I told ya..."? And after that, we can all be friends again! ;)

Of course, on that day it won't matter for those who aren't Christians but think they are, either (cf. Mt. 7:21-23). It won't matter because it will be too late by then. Better to seek the Lord and live while one has the opportunity than to come up with fads and labels that don't help....

Stefan said...

I'm with BJ Irvin in favouring something simple like "biblical Christianity."

And like the Doulos, I'm getting uncomfortable with the label "reformed," even though it's a simple label, carries echoes of the Reformation (hello!), and is used by, e.g., "reformed Baptists."

And I agree with Susan that in the end (i.e., when the Last Trump sounds), the labels won't matter so much as how we lived and testified to the saving power of Jesus Christ.

How about "Quinquesolar" or "Quinquepunctual"?

DJP said...

Though I independently (though not uniquely) coined "Biblical Christianity," I do like an expression I've heard D. A. Carson use: "Biblically-faithful Christian."

Of course, that has the same weakness as mine: it lacks specificity at present, except to the speaker. It does however identify his touchstone -- not tradition, consensus, feelings, visions, experiences, but the Word. That in itself (sadly) is distinctive.

Solameanie said...

If you've got Libbys Libbys Libbys on the label label label...

Sorry. I couldn't resist. Makes me wonder what our late brothers and sisters at Antioch would think as disciples of Jesus were first called "Christians" there. And that reminds me. We can't use "Disciples of Christ" because that would label us in a rather unpleasant niche.

Maybe we ought to put up a hard fight over the evangelical label instead of surrendering it. I like a good scrap now and then.

Carol Jean said...

solameanie said, "
Maybe we ought to put up a hard fight over the evangelical label instead of surrendering it. I like a good scrap now and then."

Wouldn't it be better to put up a fight over an actual biblical title like "Christian?"

Mesa Mike said...

"Quinquepunctual" is too hard to say, and even harder to spell.

I'd go for the simpler, "pentapunctual."

Solameanie said...

Susan,

I could agree with that in principle. The problem comes in drawing the lines in terms of non-negotiables. Within the apologetics circles I have frequented the past 20 years or so, those areas have included soteriology, Christology and the Godhead (Trinity). That leaves pretty broad room for non-salvific doctrinal differences. However, in this post-modern age and related fuzziness, that seems to be becoming more difficult. Brian McLaren -- if I remember correctly -- claims to embrace the Nicene Creed. However, other things he says and writes makes you raise your eyebrows a bit.

jonny said...

see... I don't know if we can all together salvage a title. I think the key is to be the change you seek (as the saying goes). You can say you believe whatever... but does it impact your daily life? I know lots of Calvanists who aren't reformed! They like to talk about tulips and stuff... but when the rubber meets the road, they have to be in control... they don't really believe in the sovereignty of God because they can't live in it.
I think there are a lot of people out there saying "will the real evangelical (or Christian) please stand up!" What we need is some real Christians out there living according to 1pet3:15. But each one has to do it as an individual... That is how you shatter a stereotype. You show someone what is real! I'm with Carol Jean on this one... lets each win back Christian!

Bo Salisbury said...

I like C.S. Lewis' label, which he borrowed from Richard Baxter when he applied to preach as a non-conformist:

My religion is merely Christian... The rule of my faith and doctrine is ye law of God in Nature and Scripture. The Church which I am a member of is the Universality of Christians, in conjunction with all particular Churches of Christians in England or elsewhere in the world, whose Communion according to my capacity I desire... I humbley crave his Majestie's License to preach the Gospel...

In 1680, Baxter (Scribbling Dick) was engaged in another controversy and penned this extended apologetic:

you know not of what Party I am of, nor what to call me; I am sorrier for you in this than for myself; if you know not, I will tell you, I am a CHRISTIAN, a MEER CHRISTIAN, of no other Religion; and the Church that I am of is the Christian Church, and hath been visible where ever the Christian Religion and Church hath been visible: But must you know what Sect or Party I am of? I am against all Sects and dividing Parties: But if any will call Meer Christians by the name of a Party, because they take up with meer Christianity, Creed, and Scripture, and will not be of any dividing or contentious Sect, I am of that Party which is so against Parties: If the Name CHRISTIAN be not enough, call me a CATHOLICK CHRISTIAN; not as that word signifieth an hereticating majority of Bishops, but as signifieth one that hath no Religion, but that which by Christ and the Apostles was left to the Catholick Church, or the Body of Jesus Christ on Earth.

As for me, I think it wise to avoid labels when possible. But, in blog comments, I find them helpful in indicating what stream you spend most of your time in.

I would like to hang on to the evangelical tag and not surrender it to the pretenders . The same is true with the reformed label. They are both wide enough descriptors to include believers from many traditions, while identifying meaningful distinctives. The surrender of language must stop somewhere.

Chad V. said...

Um, C.S. Lewis denied Substitutionary Atonement. Lewis' Christianity has no atonement. He and Baxter hardly fit in the same category. C.S. Lewis wasn't a Christian. Lewis is a prime example of this post's main point.

From chapter 4 of "Mere Christianity"

Before I became a Christian I was under the impression that the first thing Christians had to believe was one particular theory as to what the point of this dying was( Christ's death). According to that theory God wanted to punish men for having deserted and joined the great rebel, but Christ volunteered to be punished instead, and so God let us off. Now I admit that even this theory does not seem to me quite so immoral and so silly as it used to; but that is not the point I want to make. What I came to see later on was that neither this theory nor any other is Christianity.

Lewis just said that Christ being punished in the place of sinners is not Christianity. Now albeit Lewis has a very poor grasp of Christ's atonement failing to see the unity in the Godhead in the atonement but never the less his description is unmistakeable and his denial of Christ's atonement leaves him with no atonement at all.

In Lewis' own words ".. Christ's death somehow put us right with God and has given us a fresh start." For Lewis doctrines regarding the atonement are merely theories and none of these theories need be believed. In fact Lewis's whole view of doctrine was that they were just theories to make it easier for you to understand God and if they didn't help then you were free to disregard them.

Lewis was no Christian, he was a theist at best. To deny Christ's atonement for sin, like Lewis did, is to deny Christ himself.

The fact Lewis can be considered a Christian shows just how meaningless even the word "Christian" is becoming in this day.

Chad V. said...

Let me add, just because there are devious men who seek to destroy the word "Christian" we may never abandon it. To be a Christian is to be united to Christ. When you tell someone you are a Christian tell them why you are a Christian and what it means to be a Christian. Make it clear that Christ suffered the wrath of God, and was punished in the place of all who believe, that he took our sins upon Himself, was bruised for our iniquities so that in Him we may become the righteousness of God.

Bo Salisbury said...

I simply pointed out that C.S. Lewis' label was borrowed... labels were the subject at hand. Most people are familiar with Mere Christianity, but not non-conformity and the times when those sorts of distinctions could cost you your head and not simply elicit a snarky blog comment. I didn't say I liked Lewis' view of the atonement.

And, Baxter's soteriology appears confused to most, yet John MacArthur and others find value in his work.

But, in deference to chad v., I'll scuttle the mere Christian label... Dang it, I hate it when I lose an otherwise useful handle.

Well, I guess I'll just have to suffer as a Christian and identify myself a follower of the Way (not the Weirwille way).

Carol Jean said...

Bo said, "Well, I guess I'll just have to suffer as a Christian and identify myself a follower of the Way (not the Weirwille way)."

It's sad, very sad, how many really great (and biblical) names have been hijacked by cults and heretics.

Chad V. said...

Bo, you said you liked C.S. Lewis' label. If that was satire then I missed it.

Baxter is not exactly my favorite theologian but he's not the heretic that Lewis was.

I am constantly confronted with Christians who think that Lewis was a great Christian theologian. Even thought they believe the true gospel they seem to have a huge blind spot when it comes to Lewis. They seem to be dazzled by his eloquence and they pick up a lot of bad ideas from him. I've even heard Reformed preachers quote him from the pulpit.

Bo Salisbury said...

Yes, I like C.S. Lewis' label, which I pointed out was actually Baxter's label, penned in 1680:

"I am a CHRISTIAN, a MEER CHRISTIAN"

Mere Christian... merely a Christian, nothing more and nothing less. Yep... I like it.

Chad wrote:

I am constantly confronted with Christians who think that Lewis was a great Christian theologian.

I hardly ever run into people who think of Lewis as a theologian... I certainly don't think of him that way. Most of the people I run with think of him as a fiction writer, who became a Christian, was thrust into the public eye before he got his feet planted firmly and happened to be a pretty popular apologist with little or no theological training -- it shows up in his writings. It's not like it's a news flash or something. I think his value lies in the way he is able to communicate the things he gets right in books like Mere Christianity or The Abolition of Man

I wonder how many reformed and evangelical readers of this blog read the Chronicles of Narnia to their kids...

As far as Baxter as a theologian... I think the challenge for any assessment would be the daunting challenge of reading his stuff (over 140 published works spanning decades, not to mention broadsides and papers all over the place). Once you think you understand him over here, he appears to contradict himself over there, but further reading reveals that he's drilling down further and you've got a lot more work ahead of you.

Whoever wrote this snippet on Wikipedia, I think, grasps the enormity of pinning Richard Baxter down, theologically:

Baxter's theological system is a tightly knit unit. Once Baxter's theological method is grasped, the various pieces fit together. Prior to one's unlocking of Baxter's theological system, however, it is often difficult to locate its constitutive elements. This lack of understanding may result in an inaccurate portrayal of his theology.
The disagreements are not restricted to some incidental points. Indeed, it is a much debated question how Baxter's theology must be identified. Of course, Baxter styled himself a "Catholic Christian," an adherent to "meer Christianity." But this does not take away the need to come to a more theologically determined circumscription of his position. Some regard Baxter as a Calvinist. Others, however, interpret his theology as Amyraldian or Arminian. Then again, his theology has been described as Roman Catholic or even Socinian.


After reading thousands of pages of Baxter's works, including his Reliquiae, I realized that careful analysis of Baxter, the theologian, would have to be taken up by someone else... someone smarter, living on a trust or a grant, with a lot of time.

Wes ("Theophilus") Walker said...

Bo: Chickification

a reference to the female pulpiteer, or to the tracts by the same name?

Pyro team:
In light of this post, I can hardly wait to hear you guys weigh in on the Rick Warren / Obama / McCain ode to the asinine.

Chad V. said...

Bo, lIke I said, I never rely on Baxter, and for the very reasons you mentioned.

I know that there are many people who think of Lewis as a fiction writer who became a Christian as well, and there's still the mistake and it serves to highlight my original point. Lewis never became a Christian. The term Christian is bandied about far too loosely and almost anyone, no matter what they believe can be called a Christian. That sort of thing is the very substance of this post, the loose using of terms so that almost anybody who believes in God can be considered a Christian or an evangelical and how that destroys the meaning of the term. If Lewis for example is considered a Christian, even by pastors who have read Lewis' fiction to their children then what precisely does the word Christian mean and what must you believe to be called a Christian. The church in general has lost it's compass in determining what it means to be a Christian.

The cults too I think recognize this. Just in the past 6 months I've been approached by Jehovah's Witness' and Mormons and as they attempted to proselytize me they told me they were Christians. The first words out of my mouth in response were, "No you're not". The cults too are trying to hijack and redefine the term Christian.

Bo Salisbury said...

Wes:

chickification

I am unaware of the tracts, but would like to hear more on that.

I was thinking more along the lines of the female pulpiteer...

Bo Salisbury said...

Chad exercised his omniscience and wrote:

Lewis never became a Christian.

I'm sure this is going to come as a wounding truth to Dan Phillips, who loves Lewis and quotes him often, along with many TeamPyro fans.

I wouldn't say I rely on Baxter either... but, there aren't more than a few men that I do rely on and most of them I know personally. I find value in Baxter when it comes to shepherding and soul concerns.

Chad V. said...

No omniscience, just taking Lewis at his own word.

He's the one who said that the atonement was silly and immoral. You can't be a Christian if you deny Christ's atonement as Him having suffered the wrath of God in your place, which Lewis flatly denies.

DJP said...

This post was actually about sending C. S. Lewis to Hell or Heaven?

Who knew?

Anyone? Phil? Bueller?

Chad V. said...

I thought it was about the fact that the word "evangelical" has lost all it's meaning because of all the false teachers who claim to be Christians and evangelicals and the fact that they are recognized as such by the mainstream of society.

C.S. Lewis was brought into the discussion and I pointed out that he was a prime example of this trend. I thought it responsible to point out Lewis' own thoughts on the atonement as evidence for that assertion. I thought it was right on topic.

After all, there are several people called out by name in the post proper. I didn't know that Lewis had immunity. Nevertheless, it's your blog. If you deem it off topic then I'll say no more about it.

Bill Honsberger said...

Good article, but just a tad late...
The word Evangelical was already nebulous many decades ago - Fuller Seminary helped muddy the waters, but for me the capstone was when Christianity Today called Wollencott an "evangelical lesbian"! and this was in 1992.
Sigh

Solameanie said...

C.S. Lewis did not deny the atonement, at least from anything of his that I ever read. I'd like you to show me where he did that. In Mere Christianity, he said that it looked silly from a human perspective, but then went on to explain it. That's not denial of the atonement.

Chad V. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chad V. said...

solameanie

I already provided a citation from Lewis in an earlier comment. All else I can say is read chapter 4 of Mere Christianity.

Solameanie said...

Chad,

OK, I see what you mean. (It wasn't chapter 4, at least not on the on-line version). He didn't seem to embrace the substitutionary atonement in Mere Christianity. This interesting article seems to indicate that his views were a bit muddled i.e. mentioning that Christ's death was atonement, and then seeming to hold the "Example" theory.

I hold to the substitutionary atonement personally. Perhaps a better question would be what were Lewis' views of soteriology, Christology and the Godhead?

Chad V. said...
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Chad V. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chad V. said...

solameanie I deleted my previous two comments because I don't think our hosts want this string to turn into a discussion about Lewis' theology. DJP hinted at that earlier and I don't wish to try their patience so I'll bow out of the discussion with this final remark.

Since Lewis denies penal substitutionary atonement he denies the gospel and that puts his soteriology and his Christology right outside the pale of true Christianity. Neither his Christology nor his soteriology can be accurate or biblical without a right belief of the atonement.

Lewis did not believe in justification by faith alone in Christ alone. In fact the word "justification" doesn't seem to have a place in his theology. Lewis believed in sacramental regeneration. He believed that we are made Christians by Baptism, belief, and the Mass or the Lord's Supper depending on whether your are a Catholic or a Protestant.

Chad V. said...

Oh, and my copy it was chapter 4 of book 2. I should have mentioned that. The chapter is entitled "The Perfect Penitent".

Chad V. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
aToaster said...

Calvidispiebaptogelical, sweet, just the word I was looking for to put in as my facebook religion.