I wrote this on Facebook as a response to a friend’s posting of this article:
What distinguishes “evangelical” from “fundamentalist?” by Roger E. Olson
It’s interesting to see Roger discuss the infighting that occurs among faculty in seminaries. Those who veer away too far from the declared or undeclared fundamentals first get removed from the “table fellowship,” and if they still persist they’ll receive the right foot of fellowship.
Thankfully, students are given more latitude, but those who raise their hands and question some of the teachings that are keeping the churches spiritually dead aren’t going to have an easy go.
The first time I attended seminary (I never did finish), we had a blast anyway. It was right at the height of the Vineyard holiness revival (1989-90). The old guard professors were so angry. They believed in cessationism, that the gifts of the Spirit ceased after the apostles died. John Wimber and the local Vineyard pastors in Chicago were rocking their boat, big-time! Almost all of the students were talking about it, and we were on fire. The professors wouldn’t even look at us as we passed each other on the sidewalk. How were they going to put out this fire, as they couldn’t prove their case biblically?
TEDS (Trinity Evangelical Divinity School) taught the trinity, but they only had classes on God the Father and Jesus. Some of the students pushed for a class on the Holy Spirit, Who was almost totally ignored — which leads me to my point.
I agree with most of the fundamentals in fundamentalism, but what is really fundamental among the Bible teachers who wrote the Bible? Fundamentalism is missing the key point upon which everything else hinges: the greatest commandment.
Jesus replaced the 10 commandments of the law with the greatest two commandments, of which “loving the Lord our God with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength” is the greatest. Where is that in the fundamentalists’ or even the evangelicals’ lists?
I didn’t have one professor who taught that we must abide in Christ, getting sap from the Vine so we’ll automatically produce fruit — and so our joy will be full — Jesus said. And he warned that if we don’t abide in Christ we’ll be thrown into the fire and burned.
Professor Robert Shank called this “life in the son,” which he discussed in his book of the same title. But I don’t know of any seminary professor who currently teaches the necessity of abiding in Christ:
“Those who are led by the Spirit are the sons of God.”
“My sheep know my voice, and I know them, and they follow me….”
“Now, little children, remain in him, that when he appears, we may have boldness, and not be ashamed before him at his coming.”
“We know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and he who remains in love remains in God, and God remains in him. In this, love has been made perfect among us, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment, because as he is, even so are we in this world.”
There are many more scriptures, but “life in the Son” is what Christianity is. “Salvation through faith alone” is only true if ‘faith’ means having faith to stand before Jesus with a clear conscience on judgment day because our consciences are clear because we lived in the Son on earth.
Being born-again is just the start of our life in the Son.
“Those who are Christ’s have crucified their flesh.”
“There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who don’t walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. … For if you live after the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are children of God.”
It’s interesting to see how seminaries and most ‘churches’ are currently missing what’s fundamentally most important.
So it’s no surprise that seminaries and ‘churches’ are currently dead — neglecting the greatest commandment, while claiming to be theologically sound.
‘ONE’ can only happen when we’re all living in the Son — so our joy will be full, now (John 15), and the world will know (John 17)!!!
What are we waiting for?
Who-Goes-To-Heaven Scriptures — Narrow is the Way | Who are the Children of God?
A Call to Intimacy: The Holy Spirit in John’s Gospel & Epistles — A paper I wrote for D. A. Carson’s Johannine Theology class at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, 1993