“. . . in key ways, the evangelical church is neither able to help those inside become truly “Christ-like” nor is it able effectively to persuade those outside that “Christ-likeness” is a valuable or viable way of being. To put it in Christian terms, in my view the evangelical church essentially fails at both discipleship and the great commission.”
Last episode, #169, I made this is a massive statement. It’s a bombshell, really. To clarify my position, I defined this brokenness as “dysfunction” and then presented one example of this dysfunction, that being the inability and / or unwillingness of church leaders to accept challenge, critique, or even engage in productive dialogue with those who hold dissenting views.
So why am I repeating points that I made in the previous episode?
I am repeating these points because it may appear that my views are in conflict with each other, such that this fairly all-encompassing critique of evangelical Christianity seems to contradict my strong affirmation of the value of Christianity in general, which has been a main focus of the podcast. Particularly, my comments of last episode are far bleaker and more negative than any that I have offered on the podcast to this point.
On the one hand this is due to the format that the podcast has taken, where John Poelstra and I began first by reviewing several books written by evangelicals and following this our later podcasts maintained a rather discussional format, with John typically raising issues or bringing questions upon which I offered commentary and perspective.
And of course, this format also helped our discussions remain in keeping with the podcast’s tagline: we examined (and I offered perspectives to defuse) “destructive ideologies” and to unsnarl “confused ideas” within Christian belief and practice, and we considered Christianity from a perspective where love and truth, truth and love are co-central.
So my goal in repeating the key points of last episode is to highlight a new focus for the podcast, one that began last episode and will become increasingly prevalent as I go on. This new focus is to clarify the origins of the fundamental flaws in evangelical Christianity (and the entrenched dysfunction that results)—in other words, to present “the problem” as fully and convincingly as possible—and to present, in response, the solutions that I believe are necessary to overcome (and eliminate) the sources of these flaws (and their outworking, as systemic dysfunction).