Tuesday, October 11, 2005

The Criterion of Catholicity

Reflecting upon accusations of the left made against evangelicals, I find it quite ironic that we get labeled with almost every negative aspersion possible. Yet, where is the evidence of catholicity, a necessary and historic mark of a true church, in the rantings of the soul libertarians? For generations, Christians have held that a true church affirmed certain beliefs in continuity with the uniform witness of Christ's church in all of its manifestations.

This universal aspect of common belief is present whether one is Calvinist, Papist, Arminian, Dispensationalist, Orthodox, or Pentecostal. Those of us in the evangelical camp share in common, across denominational lines, a genuine catholicity of doctrine with historic Presbyterians, Methodists, Pentecostals, Roman Catholics, Lutherans, Congregationalists, and Eastern Orthodox sisters and brothers.

The revisionists, on the other hand, in their haste to put into concrete progressive liberal definitions of soul liberty, cut themselves off from any meaningful catholicity of confession. They end up with a vision of Baptist life that involves believing any fool thing you want to regardless of its concordance with historic Christianity. "Jesus is Lord" gets evacuated of any denotative meaning when it papers over a hermeneutic of chaotic individualism. As American Baptist artist Steve Taylor once wrote: "they're so open minded, their brains leaked out."

Dennis E. McFadden

[These are my own opinions and observations, not to be confused with official policy, the ideas of officials, or with official entities within the PSW]

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