Can A Conservative Evangelical Millennial Still Have A Voice?

If there’s anything the recent World Vision issue has taught me, is that I am increasingly going to be on the short end of the stick. I am someone who sponsors a child through World Vision and was concerned when they changed their employees stance on same-sex marriage. No, I wasn’t going to abandon the child I sponsored, but I was uneasy about identifying with an organization that I cannot agree with theologically, especially when there are other organizations that do the same thing World Vision does without compromising their beliefs. This issue isn’t simply about marriage, but about the authority of Scripture. Yes, there is room for different interpretations of Scripture, but not for questioning what God has clearly commanded. And despite what many have tried to argue, the Bible is clear that homosexual acts are a sin (not the only sin, mind you, but still a sin).

As these issues begin to become more frequent, I am continually seeing that people don’t want to listen to or agree with me because I am a conservative Evangelical who looks to Scripture as my final authority and look back to church history to help me understand the issues of today. As soon as Scripture begins to be questioned the rest of the Christian worldview falls apart. So what do we do when, as a writer at Desiring God put, the Bible is the controversy?

I know that there are a number of Millennials who are in the same boat as me. After all, the “Young, Restless, Reformed” movement is still on the rise among many of the people I talk to. There’s a growing awareness of the need for biblical authority and understanding to help us deal with issues like what happened with World Vision. People are willing to change the message of the Gospel in an attempt to make it more palatable. But the Gospel isn’t palatable. It’s offensive. Jesus said things that got him in a lot of trouble. He said things that were incredibly offensive, like “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” Our whole faith hinges upon the brutal execution of an innocent man. This is how God showed his love to the world. By hanging his one and only Son on the cross in our place. How can you soften that blow? How can you being a sinner sound rosy and cheerful? And it’s not a one time event, it’s not saying a sinner’s prayer and having fire insurance, it’s a daily act. I think Luther said it best when he said, “When our Lord and Master Jesus Christ said “Repent,” he intended that the entire life of believers should be repentance.”

With all this concern that Evangelicals are shooting themselves in the foot by being too controversial, I think it’s necessary to look back at Jesus’ ministry to see just how offensive the Gospel really is. And I hope that drives people away! I’ve been saying for a while that I hope I offend people regularly. Not because of the things I do, but for the sake of the Gospel and Jesus being lived out in my life. I know I’m not always going to take the popular road, or the easy road, but I know that I will do my best to continue to follow the Lord’s leading and guiding in my life as I continue to live as a saved sinner in a sinful and broken world. I eagerly look forward to the day when Jesus will make everything right with the world and there won’t be controversy like this, but until that day, I will continue on.

For another look at this issue, see Trevin Wax’s article on this issue, it’s very helpful.

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8 Comments

  1. I may disagree on a lot of thing sin your blog but what i still will commend you for is your outright honesty 🙂 Not many people have the guts to be honest openly in our times 🙂

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  2. So refreshing to meet another young person who is not swept away by the craziness of our culture. Pleasure to find you here!

    Reply
  3. I am a believer who is no longer “Evangelical” (I subscribe more to the Micah Murray side of the debate) and for me, and many like me, it comes down to the fact that I don’t believe in the inerrancy of the bible, therefore I don’t know for sure that homosexuality is the sin the “church” makes it out to be (which usually includes some form of shun and shame). For me, I think when you claim to know all things the bible is intending to say it smacks of arrogance; no way am I going to put words in God’s mouth or judge others in His name — that’s between God and the other person (or me if I am the sinner), I am here to love them and show them compassion. Or, to be as Christ-like as possible; difficult yes, but I try all the same.

    What I have found in my years growing up in the Baptist church is that when we claim interpretation we set ourselves up for a certain hypocrisy — for instance, I heard, and hear still, constantly about homosexuality but very little about divorce, which is explained away and re-interpreted on a colossal level in the church because so many of the followers are, well… divorced, but very few are homosexual. How convenient.

    I applaud your honesty and your ability to convey your message (that’s why I follow your blog), much needed in this day and age. Above all else, whether we all agree or not let’s keep the conversation going! Thank you!

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    • Totally agree Leah, that is why I am Roman Catholic- it is totally arrogant to think we can interpret the Bible!

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    • Thanks for your comment and for reading! No matter how hard any of us try, we all fall short in our interpretation of Scripture, and the way homosexuals have been treated by the church in the past haven’t always been good, but at the same time they haven’t all been bad. There are some pastors I’ve talked to who have done an incredible job of welcoming those with same sex attraction into their church. Unfortunately, not all churches are like that, but I’ve seen them continually getting better.
      As far as interpreting Scripture, it’s impossible to get away from any preconceived notions we might have, but they are still true (as attributed to in 2 Timothy 3:16-17). There also needs to be room for the author’s original intent to come through, otherwise it’s worthless to even have any text! (This would be the same as me reading your comment and interpreting it as completely agreeing with me.)
      Finally, the other issue I see with many churches today (and I struggle with this at the church I serve in) is to not attribute unnecessary weight to specific sins. Yes, divorce is a sin, but that doesn’t mean that homosexuality isn’t a sin. Romans 1 speaks out very harshly against homosexuality, but also includes things like: envy, strife, deceit, gossip (some small groups are composed of only gossip cloaked as “prayer requests”), boastful, disobedient to parents, and faithlessness. I have yet to meet a perfect person, and when I do I’ll be in heaven, but until that time, we are to remain faithful to God the His Word.

      Reply
      • I agree with what you say about sin- it is so difficult to get older generations on board with the fact that we are just as sinful as others whose sins have historically been regarded as worse. However, when it comes to interpreting the Bible, it is of course true, yet we should depend on the Church, as it says in Timothy 3:15, “the Church is the pillar and foundation of truth.” Stay tuned this week for a blog by my friend who struggles with SSA, and how he has embraced a celibate life with Christ, its so beautiful!

      • Looking forward to reading it! I’ve got a friend who’s chosen to do something similar who wrote the book “Washed & Waiting” that’s a beautiful testimony to God’s grace in the struggle against SSA. And I agree that the church should help in our interpretation of Scripture which is why books and commentaries are so helpful! And what if, as is my case, you work at a church and regularly teach the Bible? Am I then “allowed” to interpret Scripture faithfully?

      • I would say that so long as it is personal revelation and not meant to be novel public revelation! (An example of public revelation, or the revealing of new theologies would be the Mormon Church, public revelation died with the last apostle…) And So long as it is not heretical and in agreement with the magisterium I’d say you’re fine! 🙂

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