Life of the Mind, Part 4: Responding to Former Evangelicals

Rick Mattson Devotion Leave a Comment

Recently I’ve been engaged in conversation with several intellectuals who’ve departed the evangelical* faith.

Here are three accusations that emerge in their blogs, emails and oral communication. They say that evangelicals are . . .

  1. Overly certain of their beliefs — that is, of being too cocky about knowing “the truth.”
  2. Low on IQ: One former evangelical theology professor, a truly brilliant academic and now a professing atheist, said derisively that there is no such thing as the “evangelical mind.”
  3. Driven by fear. Supposedly, evangelicals cling blindly to the Bible and historic doctrines, insulate themselves from contrary ideas, and condemn opponents — all due to the sheer terror of possibly being wrong.
Unfortunately, it’s common for such accusations to be delivered in rhetoric that mocks, disses, snickers, scorns, insults — though this is not always the case.
And: picks on worst-case examples, with little actual argumentation provided.
Disappointing, indeed.  

* * *

Responding to Ridicule

In terms of content, I have room to reply only to #1 above: I find it ironic to be accused of being “overly certain” by critics who, themselves, are indisputably certain of their accusations.
More to the point:
  • When Jesus was mocked he said very little or remained silent. 
  • When we are tempted to strike back against personal insults, let us remember Romans 12:17: Do not repay evil for evil.
  • The NT teaches us to “love our enemies.” That being the case, the least we evangelicals can do is show the utmost in respect to former like-minded believers.

* Leith Anderson, president of the National Association of Evangelicals, informally defines an evangelical as someone who “takes the Bible seriously and believes in Jesus as Savior and Lord.”

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