Expositional commentary on Scripture using an inductive exegetical methodology intent upon confronting the lives of Christians with the dogmatic Truths of God's inspired Words opposing Calvinism and Arminianism, Biblical commentary, doctrine of grace enablement, understanding holiness and wisdom and selfishness, in-depth Bible studies, adult Bible Study books and Sunday School materials Dr. Lance T. Ketchum Line Upon Line: Convergent Evangelicalism

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Convergent Evangelicalism

New wave Neutralism

          I can barely stomach preachers who are willing to compromise God’s truth for purposes of self-promotion or pragmatic church growth philosophies.  Once a man begins to move in that direction, it appears that he will be able to justify just about anything he does.  Perhaps there is an even more detestable character than this within the circles of compromise.  This even more detestable character is the person who professes privately to be faithful to the Old Paths, but who takes a neutral position publicly.  That type of character is nauseating. 
          Perhaps no one better defined New Evangelicalism than Dr. William. A. Ashbrook, the pastor of Calvary Bible Church in Columbus, Ohio.  He wrote two books on the subject entitled New Evangelicalism-The New Neutralism and New Neutralism II.  Ashbrook[1] wrote:

Lest there be any doubt as to the direction of its sympathies one only needs to evaluate the barbs which it levels at the fundamentalists. ‘Fundamentalism,’ say its traducers, ‘has degenerated into a cat and dog fight.’ Fundamentalism is held up ‘as an ignorant, contentious approach to the Christian Faith as outdated as high button shoes.’ It could well discard ‘a lot of unnecessary traditional baggage in the forms of customs, practices and lingo beloved through the generations but now obstacles to preaching the gospel to the unsaved.’ . . .
Neutralism is a position difficult to maintain in any age, but in a day like ours when the battle is pitched between Christ and anti-Christ it is an impossible position. In the sphere of things moral and spiritual a man must be either right or wrong. The showdown will come in realms of black or white, not in the fog of immaterial grey. There is no middle ground on which the neutralist can complacently stand for long and pronounce his anathemas or his benedictions as the case may be upon both of the conflicting sides. He is bound to wind up in one camp or other and in a day when God is judging compromise in no uncertain terms, he is very likely to wind up in the wrong camp.
There can be no middle ground for Bible-believing Christians. One of the Scottish evangelists of a former day used to say, ‘Joshua had trouble with the Amorites and the Hittites outside Israel, but he had far more trouble with the Betweenites inside Israel.’”

          If New Evangelicalism is New Neutralism, that Convergent Evangelicalism is nothing more than a new wave of the same old thing.  Convergent Evangelicalism can certainly be characterized as another wave of Neutralism since its headline position is a radical departure from the Old Path practices of separation.  Therefore, Convergent Evangelicalism is just a new wave of New Evangelicalism characterized by different degrees of Neutralism regarding issues of separation or levels of separation. 
Convergent Evangelicals argue they are refining rather than redefining the lines of demarcation for separation.  They are in fact reducing the historical theological boundaries for those they include in their cooperation in Kingdom building.  In my opinion, they are more concerned about their own kingdoms, than they are about Christ’s Kingdom.  This new wave of Neutralism follows upon New Evangelism’s past Soteriological Reductionism.  This new wave of Neutralism now focuses upon broadening the view of Ecclesiology to a Big View Christianity beyond the local church view where separation issues are reduced to extreme inclusivity regarding the Gospel at the exclusion of those separating over errors in Eschatology, Pneumatology, Bibliology, and Ecclesiology.  The new wave of Neutralism labels those separating over errors in Eschatology, Pneumatology, Bibliology, and Ecclesiology as extremists and radicals
          Scripturally, Neutralism is an anathema to Christ.  Neutralism in any form, or in any degree, is the “lukewarm” Laodicean church of Revelation 3:14-22.  In the last one-hundred years, we have seen wave upon wave of Neutralism wash away the shoreline of theological orthodoxy.  Central to the ongoing theological erosion problem is the fact that the vast majority of fundamentalists censor themselves and never speak out against the erosion.  Yet, they do not see their own Neutralism of silence as part of the problem.  The fact is that their Neutralism is the main reason why the new waves of Neutralism advance so deeply into the shorelines of theological orthodoxy.  Sadly, they defend their own Neutralism of silence beyond the point where the theological shoreline has become so critically eroded that they find the foundations of their local churches completely undermined.  They are allowing the local churches, of which they have been appointed guardians, to be captured by their own compromise of silence. 

[1] Askbrook, William A., The New Evangelicalism-The New Neutralism, Central Bible Quarterly, CENQ 02-2 (Summer 1959)

Anonymous comments will not be allowed.
Numerous studies and series are available free of charge for local churches at: http://www.disciplemakerministries.org/
Dr. Lance Ketchum serves the Lord as a Church Planter, Evangelist/Revivalist.
He has served the Lord for over 40 years.

No comments: