Conservative evangelicals mock the idea of your choosing your own gender. In her first day of a psychology class at local junior college, a student asked how many genders there were. The teacher said three: male, female, and whatever you want to be. You may not think this is where evangelicalism is, but it is.
In evangelicalism, you have infant sprinkling and believer's baptism, amillennialism, postmillennialism, and premillennialism, young-earth and old-earth creationism, and both cessationism and continuationism. You have rapped worship and total psalmody. In conservative evangelicalism, those are all acceptable, all true. You can nail the landing off of El Capitan on two feet or stick it in the accordion position, where your ankles join your throat. The placebo or the actual cure are the same. It's whatever you want.
I'm calling this the suicide of evangelicalism. It is. It's worse than suicide, but it is at least suicide, not because I want it to be. It just is. This is what evangelicalism has been for a long time, because it is a slow death suicide. It's already gone. It's the proverbial chicken with its head cut off.
In evangelicalism, you can have the dark auditorium with a theater lit stage, rock drum trap set strategically placed up the middle under a spotlight, the pastor with a Mickey Mouse t-shirt, and jumpers lining the children's area, or the old hymn accompanied by the solemn chords of a majestic pipe organ, pews filled with members in their Sunday best. Neither is superior to the other. One or the other is not to be judged. The worse thing you could do in evangelicalism is to say it matters.
The world knows what I'm writing too. In 2003, Alan Wolfe wrote, The Transformation of American Religion: How We Actually Live Our Faith. A secularist, Wolfe is no sheep --- he does not believe in God and he has no faith. He wrote his book for his friends, sociologists and psychologists, soothing their fears for the encroachment of evangelicalism, the pressure from the religious right, the worry that evangelicals might take over society. Wolfe tells them that they don’t have anything to worry about with the evangelicals, nothing to fear, because in an effort to be relevant they are abandoning all their tradition and all their doctrine. Among many other things that he nails on evangelicalism, he writes:
Evangelical churches lack doctrine because they want to attract new members. Mainline churches lack doctrine because they want to hold onto those declining numbers of members they have.
This is akin, albeit in an even stronger and also happier way to the series of books authored over a decade ago by David Wells, starting with No Place for Truth. Jeffrey Riddle, in a review of Wolfe's book, writes:
In his discussion of worship, the author notes the movement in both Protestant and Catholic circles away from formalism and reverence in worship toward individualism and narcissism. Wolfe calls attention to the shift toward contemporary worship music over “imposing and distant” classical sacred music and the doctrinal minimalism of power-point sermons in church-growth oriented congregations. He notes that liberals who fear the rise of strong religious belief in America “should not be fooled by evangelicalism’s rapid growth." Religion, he adds, like “Television, publishing,He continues:
political campaigning, education, self-help-advice—all increasingly tell Americans what
they already want to hear."
Moving on to doctrine, Wolfe describes what he calls “the strange disappearance of doctrine from conservative Protestantism." American fundamentalists no longer care about dogma but about pragmatism. If fundamentalists are weak in this area, we can just imagine the assessment given to evangelicals: “By playing down doctrine in favor of feelings, evangelicalism far exceeds fundamentalism in its appeal to Christians impatient with disputation and argument."
Evangelicalism claims to stomp its brakes at the gospel, as if there is some scriptural basis for leaving this solitary category in a sacred position. It also allows options on the gospel as seen in the wide divergence on this subject between lordship and free grace. Even if the gospel could be kept sacrosanct by evangelicalism, which it isn't, the gospel can't be separated from the truth. You can't preserve a true gospel when you won't preserve the truth about God. It can't be preserved either by doing so. Truth can't be dealt with in that way, which is how evangelicalism deals with the truth. Even while they are protesting the erosion and destruction of the truth, they are the cause. They don't treat the truth as the truth, that is, like the ultimate effects of gravitational force at the bottom of El Capitan. Like those consequences, you really can't have it both ways. By attempting to, evangelicalism, its churches and leaders and other institutions, have committed suicide. Yes, I mean you evangelical, if you're reading.
Suicide isn't nice. It isn't pretty. It isn't better. Evangelicals treat it like it is, as it relates to the suicide they commit. While people are dying all around worse than a Jim Jones compound, they are more concerned and then upset about those trying to stop them.