I don’t know whether or not I’m an evangelical anymore. Is there a BuzzFeed quiz for that?
— Micah J. Murray (@micahjmurray) March 3, 2014
To a lot of people, this tweet is funny, evoking a light-hearted laugh; for me, its words cut close and deep. Sadly there is not a simple quiz with colorful headers, twelve questions, and six multiple-choice options to choose between. If only it was that simple. Instead of an eye-catching quiz, there is a deep, painful, bloody mess of discerning what the Lord reveals to me and what I was told to accept blindly without any Scriptural support.
I know that I attend Grace College, which is “an evangelical Christian community of higher education.” However, I have become less sure that I identify as an evangelical since coming here. Now that is not meant as an insult in any way. I love Grace and the people here. But as I examine my own beliefs, and search out what God is revealing to me, I find that I tend to disagree with many evangelicals.
Now, I still hold to the basic five tenets of evangelicalism:
However, with many other nuances of faith, I find myself disagreeing with other evangelicals. For example, I do not believe that the modern-day nation of Israel is a continuation of the Biblical nation of Israel. I do not think that the primary focus of the gospel should be “our eternal destination.” The gospel is about more than simply going to heaven or hell. When it comes to the creation story, I don’t think that whether Adam and Eve were real people is the primary focus of the story. I know that God had the foremost role in creation, but I personally don’t care how He did it, nor do I think that it particularly matters. I support my LGBT brothers and sisters and firmly believe that they can live their sexuality out while bringing glory to Christ. I don’t think that “corrupt communication” is the same thing as cursing.
- A personal experience of salvation
- God’s Word as final authority
- Salvation through faith alone
- Evangelize the lost
- The rapture of the church in the end times.
Faith is complicated. It’s never a set of black and white, even within a body of believers. It’s a big gray mess of opinions and beliefs, all brought together because of Jesus. He is why we are who we are, and He is the most important thing to all of us. But so often we place other beliefs over Jesus, choosing to argue with those who have different opinions rather than working together to bring others to Christ.
I’m not saying any of these things for you to tell me exactly why I’m wrong, or to ask you to lift Bible passages out of context and throw them at me, thinking they will change my mind. Believe me, I have already wrestled with Scripture and spent more hours in prayer than you can imagine.
I’m saying this with a shaking voice who is unsure and mildly fearful of what people will say. I’m saying this as a brother in Christ whose faith has grown stronger, but whose faith is also being broken down and remade each day. I’m saying this as a open voice to others who are struggling to believe, whose faith is tested, and who are unsure of where their faith lies. It is okay to have differing beliefs. It’s okay to wonder about different doctrines. After all, our God is all-powerful. He will reveal to us what He wants us to know when His timing is right.
So no, I might not say that I’m an evangelical anymore. But I would say that I am a proud follower of Jesus Christ, and I think that’s a little more important.