Redefining the Evangelical Church

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I spend a significant amount of time on social media reading the ideas of others who grew up in the evangelical church. Some are leaving, some are wasting their energy fighting the already lost battle of extreme traditionalism, but most are just wanting to redefine what “evangelical” means.  Many of us are wanting to disassociate with some of the old-timers, not because we don’t respect them, but because we believe they are telling the right story in the wrong way (and some are just simply telling the wrong story).

There are many of us out there who are unwilling to compromise scripture, but think scripture has been manipulated to fit certain agendas.  Our generation is tired of the idea that our theology must fit in some neat-fitting box to be considered useful and true.

We don’t see the Bible as a black and white systematic theology book; but rather, as the greatest story ever told.  We see many areas of God’s Word shaded in gray and we are not afraid to let that be OK.  We see the danger, but we are willing to take that risk because we have seen the repercussions of taking the Bible to its most literal extreme and it being used to hurt people’s lives tremendously.

Anytime a group of Christian thinkers decide to loosen the rules there will be those who take it to far.  But, this is almost a necessary evil in bringing about reformation in the evangelical Church.  For example, many highly conservative Christians are making statements such as, “Oh if we allow women to preach than we will soon be allowing homosexuals to preach.”

While that may be true to a degree, the Word is clearly against homosexuality, but not so clearly against females preaching. Which brings me to another example in which some reason: “Oh if we are empathetic towards homosexuals then they will think we are agreeing with them that it is righteous.”

Christians in general are so mean about homosexuality – they treat it like it is the unpardonable sin and many in our generation are tired of it – we don’t want their blood on our hands and we do not want to be known as religious-Bible-thumping bullies.

Heck, I have had Christians attacking me for simply showing empathy towards the homosexual community even when I have clearly stood for traditional marriage.  Some have argued that homosexuality within marriage is not a sin.  I disagree, but I am not going to be a jerk and start unfriending all my gay friends on Facebook.

We seem to have no problem “liking” the pictures of our couple friends who are living together and are not married. We need to wake up – they are both sexual sins and one is not worse than the other.  Love should always be our highest aim and love covers a multitude of sin (1 Peter 4:8).  This does not mean we call what is wrong right, but it does mean that we are known for loving grace and not harsh judgement.

Let’s talk about 10 percent tithing in which older generations generally swear Jesus commands us to do.  It is as if no one reads their Bible as a whole book anymore, but just picks and chooses verses that are convenient for them and the growth of their church.  This conversation makes church leaders nervous, but real conversations concerning money are needed right now as droves of people are turned off by church and the Gospel due to so much financial pressure.

Ten percent tithing is an Old Covenant command and since Jesus fulfilled the requirements of the law, we are now engaged in the New Covenant, which means we give money to the church as our hearts direct us to give. Then all the fearful people say, “Well if we tell the congregation that then no one will give enough.”

If we take a little bit of time to study, we will realize that the New Testament Church never expected people to give a 10 percent tithe; Christians gave what they could out of the goodness of their hearts because they loved their leaders, their churches, and had a true passion to see the Gospel expanded.

It is time to get real – very few Christians are giving more than 2 percent of their income anyway (http://www.relevantmagazine.com/god/church/what-would-happen-if-church-tithed).  Perhaps it is because we are mixing law and grace and folks hearts are not getting set free.  A person who really loves Jesus will give all their money if God asked them to.

Then we have these hyper faith preachers who teach us that if we would only have greater faith we would be instantaneously healed of all our sicknesses and become millionaires overnight.  Give me a break.  Our generation is looking for authenticity.  As I scroll down my Facebook feed, a quarter of the statuses are about how annoying fake people are. We are over hypocrisy and are searching for the genuine truth.

We are tired of everyone trying to become a Christian celebrity and flaunting their private jets on Instagram.  We want real life and we are even willing to throw in some swear words here and there just to show the world what it really looks like to be an imperfect Christian in need of a perfect Savior.  We accept messy.  We find ourselves more attracted to beautiful disasters and more satisfied with the raw truth.

We are a strong-headed generation that is over-educated, underpaid, and working jobs we are over-qualified for; therefore, we have plenty of time on our hands to work on our passions and challenge a broken system.  The evangelical church is a broken system right now.  We don’t want to crush its spirit, but we do want to reform its future so that in the end we can see the true Gospel of Jesus Christ radically transform the heart of the desperate and broken sinner as it has done for us.

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4 Comments

  • I agree on so many points! The tithe! God does NOT want our first fruits if we feel we are being forced to give and not giving from the heart! Giving can be applied to any situation, if you don’t really want to give, then don’t . There is no worse feeling on both sides if the one giving expects something in return and the one receiving feels bad because they feel despised for having accepted the gift. My grandpa taught me that if I give someone something, I should not expect anything in return for it..if the receiver would like to give me something, that’s their decision.

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