Hello, My Name Is ‘Former Evangelical.’ It Is Nice To Meet You!

hello-my-name-isSeveral months ago I posted an article titled, “Attention All Former Evangelicals” on Steadfast Lutherans. In this article I announced the need for former Evangelicals who ‘have’ or ‘are’ journeying into Confessional Lutheran thought.  The need was for more participants to provide feedback for a Major Applied Research Project that I am working on at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis.  I am happy to report that I just recently concluded my first survey in the research process with the wonderful help of 307 total participants.

The feedback that I received from the first quantitative survey was extremely interesting and helpful in describing the journey of American Evangelicals into Confessional Lutheran thought.  The bulleted information below is a collective profile of an average former Evangelical.  In other words, the profile represents the collective voice of the 307 participants who have or are journeying into Lutheranism.

Before beginning my journey into Lutheran thought, I attended more than one American Evangelical Church.

Around 50% of my fellow former Evangelicals have backgrounds in the Baptist denomination and/or Non-denominational churches.

About half of my fellow former Evangelical friends spent 15-30 years within Evangelicalism.

My friends and I have been influenced by 3.8 different theological movements such as: revivalism, pietism, dispensationalism, fundamentalism, and/or the church growth movement.

About half of my fellow former Evangelicals were engaged to the Lutheran church for 1-4 years (i.e., the journey into Confessional Lutheranism took 1-4 years)

The highest linguistic confusion for me in becoming Lutheran was with familiar words having a different emphasis. 

Finally, there was a definite shift in where I acquired knowledge.  There was a change in the books that I read, the teachers that I listened to, and so forth.

To learn more about the quantitative results from this 1st survey you can explore the links below.

  • Comprehensive Quantitative Survey Results:  CLICK HERE
  • Overview of Quantitative Survey Results in a Facebook Format:  CLICK HERE
  • Raw Quantitative Survey Data:  CLICK HERE 

Last week I was also privileged to visit with Rev. Jonathan Fisk of Worldview Everlasting about the results of the first quantitative survey.  The actual interview begins at 2:53.



Finally, I could also use your help.  If you are a former American Evangelical journeying into Confessional Lutheran thought, or if you know of anyone that would fit this description, I have two more surveys for this research project.  These two surveys focus on gathering qualitative data, the data that shows the motives behind the statistics and helps to answer the question, “why?”  The survey URL addresses are listed below.

Becoming Lutheran Survey #2 (Qualitative)

Becoming Lutheran Survey #3  (Advice)

Grace and Peace,

Pastor Richard


About Pastor Matt Richard

Rev. Dr. Matthew Richard is the pastor at Zion Lutheran Church of Gwinner, ND. He was previously a Senior Pastor in Sidney, Montana, an Associate Pastor of Spiritual Care and Youth Ministries in Williston, North Dakota, and an Associate Pastor of Children and Youth in Rancho Cucamonga, California. He received his undergraduate degree from Minot State University, ND and his M.Div. from Lutheran Brethren Seminary, MN. His doctor of ministry thesis, from Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, MO, was on exploring the journey of American Evangelicals into Confessional Lutheran thought. Pastor Richard is married to Serenity and they have two children. He enjoys fishing, pheasant hunting, watching movies, blogging, golfing, spending time with his family and a good book with a warm latte! To check out more articles by Pastor Matt you can visit his personal blog at: www.pastormattrichard.com.


Hello, My Name Is ‘Former Evangelical.’ It Is Nice To Meet You! — 15 Comments

  1. Haven’t read this blog for a while — but I am a former evangelical, confirmed lutheran in grad school and now a pastor in the LC-MS.

    If there’s any way to help, let me know.

  2. I went to Ash Wednesday service at a Confessional Lutheran (LCMS) last night. When the absolution was pronounced I started tearing up and though it was a small congregation I felt I was finally among the faithful. The liturgy spoke to my heart and mind with such sharpness! I certainly did not miss the drums!

    I brought another couple with me (he is a PhD student at USC) and we all three are going to pursue Catechism with Pastor. This couple visiting with me were there for the same reason. We see the clear distinction between Law and Gospel! I believe the Confessional Lutherans should stand firm and they will soon be flooded in the next few years as the crazies start teaching their false doctrine (as Mark Comer’s Polytheism or Bell’s Universalism).

    I want to thank this site for helping me see objective justification and the complete work of Christ! I am indebted to your faithfulness and I thank the Lord for your ministry to me and my friends.

    Please pray for our transition. I will probably have to endure the drums in the dark with stage lights whirling for many Sundays with dear wife’s at her church while I go to the earlier and Wednesday Night services. I will have to excuse myself from the grape juice also!

  3. Amen Dr. Ralph. I have been where you are and all I can say is we will pray for your transition. It is hard but so worth it to be among those who see faith as you do.

  4. I have a question for BJS. My family and I have been Lutheran for two years. Our church does its Divine Services straight out of the LCMS hymnal. I read here that Contemporary Christian Music has no place in the Lutheran Divine Service. I except that. My question is do Confessional Lutherans believe you should not listen to CCM on your radio, purchase CCM Cd’s, or go to concerts?

  5. Jason,

    Very good question.

    I formerly rejected Contemporary Worship but still listened to a CCM type radio station a few hours a week.

    Now, a few years later, I do not listen to it all because most of the music stands for an approach to the church that in the long run is harmful, i.e. emotion based faith, a nearly narcissistic emphasis on “me,” zero emphasis on the life-giving sacraments, etc.

    So I would not make it absolute but in the end, that type of music just does not support a Biblical, sacramental and liturgical form of piety.

  6. The CCM station I listen to mostly plays music during the day, with sound bits from different evangelical preachers mixed in. I can distinguish those preachers who are coming form a synergism viewpoint rather than from monergism.

    What music on secular radio supports a” Biblical, sacramental and liturgical form of piety?” Maybe classical music is neutral. I find CCM much better for my overall spiritual life than the classic rock station filling my head with songs from Robert Palmer like “Addicted to Love.” How does that catchy tune go…,”Your lights are on, but you’re not home. Your mind is not your own. Your heart sweats, Your body shakes. Another kiss is what it takes…..”

    How about the Beatles’ “We All Live in a Pink Submarine?”Now there you have some deep theological thinking.

    I would much rather listen to Chris Tomlin’s “Whom Shall I Fear.”

  7. I scanned the radio today and found that there was nothing from the 15 or more radio stations that supported a biblical, sacramental and liturgical from of piety. You much not listen to the radio at all? What do you listen to? Do you listen to Lutheran hymns on CD?

    I have had a conversation with a fundamentalist friend who would not listen to Rich Mullins’ “Awesome God,” but would listen to “Devil With Blue Suede Shoes.”

    When I’m criticized about listening to CCM, usually the criticizer’s alternative isn’t any better. Kind of like two bums in a dumpster eating garbage and one bum criticizes the oher about what garbage he is eating.

    When I turned my back on evangelicalism and turned to Lutheranism I thought I would not encounter legalism anymore.

  8. Been awhile since I heard that song. I think I had it mixed up with Bruce Springsteen’s Pink Cadillac song. Hopefully I got the color right this time.

  9. Hello, I’m a former evangelical. Did you know that as a Lutheran you can enjoy beer, and go to a great movie even though it’s rated “R,” But don’t listen to praise music because that’s taboo to Lutherans.

  10. I would like to publicly apologizes to Pastor Fiene. I broke one of my rules about blogging, and that is to attack issues and ideas but not individuals. I crossed that line here and at my own blog. The damage has been done and words once spoken can never be taken back. This is worse because of the Internet. Please delete the above post and I humbly ask for Pastor Fiene forgiveness.

  11. Been reading Jonathan Fisk book Broken and found out the label or what I like to call “flavor” of evangelicalism that I came out of. Mine was Mysticism and my wife’s was Moralism. For those of you who have read the book you know what these terms mean. I’m only on page 81, so I have much more to discover.

  12. I have really spoken a lot here on this particular post. As things move along and distance myself from my evangelical life, things I held on to I slowly let go. I find myself hardly listening to the CCM station anymore. The reason for that is their programs:
    10:15 AM Mission Network News
    10:45 AM Insights with Chuck Swindoll
    11:15 Life Issues
    11:45 Alpha Radio Daily
    Noon Focus On The Family
    12:30 PM Family Life Today
    1:15 PM Compassion Minute
    1:45 PM Homeword Snapshots
    2:15 PM Listen Up
    2:45 PM Time For Harvest

    Most are short segments except for the noon time. I just could not take it anymore when the Time For Harvest started talking about the “rapture.” All of evangelicalism is “word faith,” “decision theology” etc.

    Pastor Rossow is right that it does not support a Biblical, sacramental and liturgical form of piety.

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