Neo-evangelicalism is sold on the principle of parachurch organizations and interdenominational groups. Notable among these are the National Association of Evangelicals, Youth for Christ, Campus Crusade for Christ, Radio Bible Class, and Intervarsity Christian Fellowship. Although many of these organizations were founded with good intentions, the philosophy of neo-evangelicalism and para-church corrupted them.
Neo-evangelicalism has spread through educational institutions. Some common neo-evangelical schools are Gordon-Conwell, Biola, Regent, Westminster Theological Seminary, Evangelical Divinity School, Moody Bible Institute, Fuller Theological Seminary, and Wheaton College. Wheaton is a school that John Rice felt comfortable sending his daughters to years ago. These places are present day hotbeds of neo-evangelical ideology.
What is truth if there is not an opposite? If there is truth, then there is error. Churches need to hear what error is. A “fundamentalist” may visit a neo-evangelical church and hear nothing disagreeable. He may go there for a period of time and hear nothing heretical. The problem, however, is what is not heard. Strong preaching on separation and clear condemnation of error is absent. A person may hear truth, but not the whole story.
The publishing media promotes neo-evangelicalism. Christianity Today was started in 1956. Even today it is promoting neo-evangelical causes. In the first two years that it was printed, it was distributed to preachers in the USA, Canada, Great Britain,
Australia, and New Zealand at no cost. That is the attempt to infiltrate belief and thought into churches. Christian publishing companies (for the most part) have promoted neo-evangelical authors.
Neo-evangelicalism seeks to replace separation with dialogue. Several years ago, a homosexual active group travelled to “conservative” colleges around the country, one of which was Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina. They were stopped at the gate and not allowed to come in. They continued on to Cedarville University in Ohio (a General Association of Regular Baptist churches approved school). Cedarville (a Neo-evangelical institution) authorized a dialogue between the unrepentant homosexuals and its’ students. Neo-evangelicalism is characterized by replacing separation with, “Let’s just hear what they have to say. We have a responsibility to hear them out. It’s not really Christian not to listen, is it?”
Neo-evangelicalism divides Biblical truth into the categories “essential” and “non-essential”. Again, Pastor Ken Brooks delves into this in depth in “Why Cumbereth it the Ground?” In the history of evangelicalism (and even fundamentalism), critical Bible doctrines, such as the doctrine of baptism, have been on the “non-essential” list. Considering the number of Bible believers throughout history that have died for over this doctrine, should baptism really be considered a “non-essential”?
Neo-evangelicalism is characterized by an attitude of softness. This attitude reveals itself in the desire for a “less strict” Christianity. The typical person does not want to go to war, but the Bible speaks throughout regarding battle; it is inevitable. A
person either stands or caves in to the forces that would turn him away from Bible Christianity.
Neo-Evangelicalism has redefined Bible terms. One of these is the term judging. Should Christians judge? Although scoffed at by the typical Neo-evangelical, the Bible is replete with commands to judge. A Christian must “prove all things”. He then must “hold fast to that which is good”.
Another misinterpreted term is love. Notable Neo-Evangelical Jack Van Impe said this:
“Let’s forget our labels and come together in love. The pope has called for that. I have 400 verses on love. Until I die, we’ll proclaim nothing but love for all my brothers and sisters in Christ, my Catholic brothers and sisters, my Protestant brothers and sisters, Christian, Reform, Lutherans, I don’t care what label you are, by this shall all men know that ye are my disciples if you have love one to another.”
Love has to be defined biblically. To human thinking, love may be nothing more than a warm feeling or a romantic thought. Among a majority of modern Christians, love is a broad mindedness and a nonjudgmental tolerance of anyone to claims to follow Christ. This is not what the Bible says about love. John 14:23 states, He answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words. Philippians 1:9,10 says, And this I pray that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment.
I John 5:3 records, For this is the love of God that we keep his commandments.
Another word that is misused by neo-evangelicals is the word unity. There is a unity in the spirit; a unity of faith; a unity that has as its’ foundation the New Testament assembly. Neo-evangelicals frequently point to Ephesians 4:1-6 and say, “We all need to
come together. We all need to be unified. If you are causing contention, then you are breaking the command of God to all be unified together.” This is a clear illustration of the truth that what a person believes about the local church, frankly, determines most of what he believes theologically. When the book of Ephesians was written, it was addressed to the believers at the church of Ephesus. A contextual reading of Ephesians 4:1-6 will confirm that the unity spoken of is a unity of the body of believers at the church at Ephesus. It is not calling for a unity of anyone that claims the name of Christ. Christ never taught that, and that is an impossibility. This mindset is simply an excuse for being interdenominational and para-church in their doctrine, practice, and preaching. They cannot be “big” if unity is limited to the local church.
Legalism is another misused term. Obeying God’s commands is not legalism. Living a holy life set apart to the Lord’s service is not legalism. Living a life separated to Christ and from the fads and fashions of the world is not legalism. Romans 12:2 says Be not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind.
Wayne VanGeldren, Sr. who pastored the Marquette Manor Baptist Church, said in the article A New Softness Within Fundamentalism:
“In the 50s and 60s the Conservative Baptists were the Fundamentalists, the Separatists among the Baptists in the north. They had fought a noble battle but finally had to come out of the old northern Baptist convention. Soon after the separation and the formation of the Conservative Baptist Association, there began to emerge a strange spirit. Many began to feel that we needed to be more Christian, more practical, more communicative, more gentle in our stand for God. The terms “soft core” and “hard core” were used to describe the two camps that emerged. The soft policy was to be practical at the expense of being righteous. The results sought for were more important than the means. These compromisers believed that part of the movement was too hard. Over 400 churches left the Conservative Baptist Association in a division in the 1960s and these fundamentalists churches blossomed and multiplied in the 70s and in the 80s. Now, in the 90s, some of us see a reenactment of the past. There’s a new emphasis on methodology. Holiness is pushed back into the Dark Ages. In spite of greatly increased open sin, the preaching against sin has softened. In every generation, our battles must be re-fought. The generation that does not follow the old paths will die the same way that the previous generation that refused to fight died.” (Quoted by David Cloud in the article New Evangelicalism – Its History, Characteristics and Fruit at http://www.wayoflife.org)
The pressure to compromise is only going to grow, so this pressure must be neutralized by a determination to stand true to the whole counsel of God. Charity rejoiceth not in iniquity but rejoiceth in the truth. John 17:17 states, “Thy word is truth”.