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 . . .
- Overly certain of their beliefs — that is, of being too cocky about knowing “the truth.”
- 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.”
- 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.
* * *
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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