You might be an evangelical if (by Mollie)

The Rev. Tom Chryst has an awesome post to help you see how much you’re under the influence of evangelicalism. He’s taking suggestions for additional examples:


You believe it’s important to be “Christian First, Lutheran Second”

You would rather have lunch with James Dobson than C.F.W. Walther

You believe the Great Commission is the central point of Christian teaching

You think that many Lutherans are too concerned about Doctrine

You’ve ever called someone a pharisee for defending a point of biblical teaching

You think that different Christian teachings needlessly offend people

You prefer to say “close” rather than “closed” communion

Your idea of close communion means that Christians from other denominations are probably “close enough”

You say things like, “we’ve just gotta get the young people involved at church”

You don’t see why an organ is more appropriate in church than a drum set

You prefer Group Publishing to CPH

You prefer Youth Specialties to Higher Things

You prefer Focus on the Family over Issues, Etc.

You think churches that are shrinking in size MUST be doing something very wrong
You think churches that are growing in size MUST be doing something very right

You think Lutherans believe “pretty much the same” as non-Lutherans

You think crucifixes and private confession are “too Catholic”

Your prayers contain the phrase, “Lord, we just…”

You repeat the mantra, “everything happens for a reason”

You think congregations should be “mission outposts” not “maintenance stations”

You believe the “marks of the church” include: stewardship, servanthood, and political activism

You think Confirmation is as important, or almost as important, as Holy Baptism

You believe that Holy Communion is between you and God, but has nothing to do with your neighbor


You might be an evangelical if (by Mollie) — 31 Comments

  1. Oh man…I REALLY don’t like reading these things because there are so many in my congregation that would match these. I feel depressed now :(

  2. You believe “I can convert someone to Christ”.
    You believe Balaam’s ass had a ministry.
    You believe the pastor of your church is a CEO or manager.
    You believe church services should be designed to appeal to the “unchurched”.
    You don’t like to refer to some people as “unrepentant sinners”.
    You believe that law should never be spoken in the presence of “seekers”.

  3. Great post as well as the comments. I wonder how of the, pastors, teachers, bureaucrats, elected officials, etc. will understand most of the jibes.

    Again, great post! I’m going to share this with my bible class as soon as my kevlar clergy shirt arrives.

  4. You prefer Sunday after Sunday (after Sunday) the songs of the Newsboys or the Baby Praise CDs to remove emphasis from the church calendar or weekly readings.

    You dread that one sermon a year about sin and the pastor best not mention death and the devil even if Jesus is the victor.

    Your church trims a weekly reading or two [perhaps even the gospel lesson] and your pastor finds it easier to preach on a Psalm with a cool illustration (or accompanied by a video) rather than on one of the weekly readings that remained.

    The parables are about what you need to do, rather than what Jesus has done for you.

  5. Please, Please-Maybe Norm-we need all these complied so that we can distribute appropriately. THANKS!!! So very true and so very sad.

  6. Liturgical sticks.

    Liturgical swaying.

    Clown ministry.

    Woman pastor.

    Unfortunately these are all real, and all at one church.

  7. You use phrases like, “How many do your worship on a Sunday?” (The correct answer is one, BTW)

    You compare notes with other Christians on “how many people you’ve led to Jesus.”

    You complain that the Pastor’s sermon was too much about Baptism and not enough about “Life application.”

    You don’t see the problem with Liturgical Dance.

    You want to watch Rob Bell videos in church.

    You hink that the only reason the Pastor has his job and no one else does is because he has training and can parse Greek verbs.

    You would rather see your Pastor wearing casual ataire, or at the very worst, a suit, but NEVER a collar.

  8. Bubbles,

    What’s a “liturgical stick”?

    I am blessedly behind the times on such novelties.

  9. Could someone expound on “You repeat the mantra, “everything happens for a reason””.

    I have an idea what might be wrong there, but am not sure I’m thinking correctly.

  10. Let me take a crack at it Darrel.

    According to the false piety of the Evangelicals, faith is expressed in some sort of fatalistic trust that God is in control. (This comes from thier Calvnist background but is also fed by their post-enlightement/suburban mentality to have everything make sense.

    According to Lutheran piety we actaully do live by faith. We don’t need everything to make sense. We keep our eyes fixed on the cross and our bellies filled with Christ’s body and blood and face sin and life’s struggles with the confidence that we are forgiven.


  11. Sorry, I guess they aren’t liturgical sticks, they are a stick ministry. Believe it or not, this appears to be big stuff if you do a search for it. Never having seen it live, thanks be to God, I can’t figure out what it would have to do with anything, though I’m told it’s very meaningful.

    Liturgical Flags! Yes, it’s not liturgical sway, it’s liturgical flags! Wowzers.

    Pastor, can we have a flag ministry? PLEAZE?

  12. Bubbles.
    ah. wow. That was, er, ah, interesting.

    When we go camping we have a stick ministry, then I set them ablaze. That’s lutheran, isn’t it?


  13. * The syllabi for the church-work courses you teach at Concordia University (pick one) include textbooks by Carl George, Rick Warren, Loren Mead, Kent Hunter, David Leucke, C. Peter Wagner, Donald McGavran, John Maxwell, Reggie McNeal, Lee Strobel, ad nauseam

    * You think you can change the population of heaven or hell by your evangelistic efforts

    * You think the nation of Israel has a role in end-times Biblical prophecy

    * You think the goal of worship is to have a “meaningful experience”

    * You think “The Prayer of Jabez” belongs on your bookshelf rather than on the bottom of your birdcage

  14. You think that personal testimonies and stories of life change are the best ways to get people to accept Jesus.

    You think that you’re saved by accepting Jesus.

    You think that the guy you call “pastor” is also your life coach, marriage counselor, financial analyst, and sex therapist.

  15. “Did the Jewish people dance as part of their worship in the Temple? Many of David’s psalms mention dance and praise.” (my question)

    The Rabbi’s response:


    Temple services were solemn events, and not a time or place for dancing.

    Regards, Eliahu Levenson

    Just so you all know – I am tired of the liturgical _______
    (fill in the blank stuff) I asked a Rabbi – that’s what he said. It’s good enough for me – no dance, no sticks, no flags!!!!!

  16. * You agree with your Pastor basing his sermon on the purpose driven life, and then well since the sermon is based on the book, we should read excerpts from the book before the sermon (in lieu of the gospel).

    Yep, that actually happened at an “LCMS” church.

  17. If you discard the Communion Chalice in favor of trays of throw-away plastic cups, the center ones filled with unfermented grape juice.

  18. #1 is a tough one. I would much rather identify myself as a Christian first, not because I’m ashamed to be Lutheran, but because of Acts 11:26. And if Luther had his druthers he probably wouldn’t have wanted to have a church named after him in the first place.

    DCO Tom- thumbs up on the insightful “Jabez” comment. I’m with you all the way.

    BTW, if anyone can tell me what the deal is with Rob Bell, I’d appreciate it. Only one past experience has taught me to run the other way when the words “Rob Bell video” are connected to any event, but other than that I know nothing about the man.

  19. Let’s go a little easy on James Dobson and ‘Focus on the Family.’ Over the years, Dobson has been extra scrupulous to avoid overt ‘denominationalism,’ and especially to avoid being labeled as an ‘evangelicalofundy.’ Besides, he has an entirely separate mission, more in parallel with us than in competition. 😉

  20. Darn! Almost forgot the most important point: Dobson is a child psychologist with a socially conservative and traditionalist worldview, not a theologian. As for lunch, yeah, Walther would be cool, but I’d really like to sit down with Dietrich Bonhoeffer, so I could figure out some of the murkiness in his theology; failing that, my old mentor John Warwick Montgomery would do nicely, or even Pastors Wilken, Cwirla, or that wild Italian guy Donofrio. Then I could die happily of theology overload. :-)

  21. Tlotliso, a good resource explaining Rob Bell is

    RespectfulRebel, I must respectfully disagree with your assessment of Dr. Dobson. While Focus on the Family may have a separate mission, the problem is that many in American evangelicalism confuse what Dobson is doing with an actual Christ-centered ministry. If I’m not mistaken, the family is his focus. What he’s doing isn’t wrong, per se, but it isn’t right, either. The problem is that what Focus on the Family does as a para-church organization comes too close to what many churches do on a week-to-week basis – they’re “seeker” and “family” friendly, but often to the exclusion of the preaching of properly distinguished Law and Gospel.

    Personally, I’d rather have lunch with James Dobson because I much prefer having lunch with people who are living. The conversations tend to be less one-sided.

    However, if I were having lunch with the Field Marshall, Wilken, Cwirla, and Donofrio, I’d surely ask myself, “What am I doing here among such illustrious company?” Then I’d probably wet my pants and excuse myself to the restroom.

  22. Thanks, Scott- that was helpful. Wow…”discovering the Bible as a human product.” Very interesting indeed.

  23. Karl,

    This is exactly the same situation at my congregation. When taking Communion at this congregation for the first time, I kept waiting for the common cup, which never came. Later on, during the “Basics” class (adult confirmation/new member orientation class here) I asked what happened to the common cup, and the class leader informed me that they simply don’t do that anymore.

  24. Ariel,
    From reading your posts, you sound unhappy in your current congregation, as it seems less than confessional in some respects.
    Are there no other congregations in your area that are steadfast in their practices?
    If you are comfortable, you could post on this site, and those that are familiar with your area could recommend alternatives. If I recall correctly, you are in Michigan?

  25. Ariel,
    I would demand equal time. Most of the time the people that insist on using individual cups FOR EVERYONE are aggressive, obnoxious, and intent on imposing their will upon the congregation, regardless of the feelings of others. I don’t have qualms about giving individual administration to those who have personal issues. But there will always be a significant number of people who sincerely desire the use of the chalice and that ought not to be denied them. There is plenty of ammunition availble debunking the health hazard issue. In this wishy washy protestant environment, there is a place for confessional aggressiveness.

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