New Evangelical Movement
The Bible teaches that a Christian is to separate from the world, from false teachers, and from disobedient brothers. New Evangelicalism is a philosophy in the church which promotes tolerance and love and speaks of separation in general terms, choosing not to name or denounce false teachers and false teaching. While we are to promote love and tolerance in the church, we are also to speak the truth in love. We are to warn against false teachers and denounce false teaching as the Lord Jesus did. While we are to be patient with young believers, we are not to compromise the fundamentals of the faith. We are always to point to Christ who shows us the way.
Evangelicals have historically held to the following beliefs:
- The inerrancy of Scripture
- The Scripture being the authority for all matters regarding faith and practice
- The doctrine of the Trinity
- The deity, incarnation, virgin birth of Jesus
- The substitutionary atonement of Jesus, meaning that Jesus’ crucifixion is a saving act because his death substitutes for our own deserving death
- The bodily resurrection of Jesus
- The imminent second coming of Christ
- The new birth through regeneration by the Holy Spirit
- The resurrection of the saints to life eternal and the resurrection of the ungodly to final judgment and eternal death
- The fellowship of the saints, who are the body of Christ.
However, New Evangelicals do not necessarily hold to these doctrines today. This is because within the New Evangelical movement, believers were not and are not encouraged to separate from ecclesiastical denials of these beliefs. As a result many evangelicals have allowed compromises of the faith and doctrinal error, leading to apostasy. Thus today we can speak of
- Conservative Evangelicals (Fundamentalism) who affirm the historic faith and separate from all ecclesiastical denial of that faith, compromise with error, and apostasy from the Truth.
- Evangelicals (New Evangelicalism) who affirm the historic faith but do not separate from ecclesiastical denials of that faith and instead, compromise with those in error.
- Neo-Evangelical who do not affirm all the fundamentals of the faith. This group cannot really be called evangelical. However, over the past 50 years, evangelicals who do not separate from ecclesiastical denials of the faith have been influenced by non-evangelicals. They have formed unions and alliances which has resulted in the present day situation where the evangelical community now embraces some groups who deny the historic faith.
While many New Evangelicals adhere to orthodox and Biblical teachings, many also do not. What has caused many to stray from orthodoxy and the Bible is the doctrine of separation. New Evangelicals refuse to separate from churches and systems that do not teach the gospel. Instead, they seek to form alliances with false systems in an effort to influence these systems to turn towards a Biblical position. The problem with this is two-fold: First, to not separate from false systems is direct disobedience to the Word of God; Second, false teachers and systems influence true believers with false doctrines and ideas enter into and pollute the church.
New Evangelicals believe doctrine is not important. This is the logical outcome of their philosophy. Many today believe that knowledge is not important. Thus Bible study is not important. Music, rituals, feelings and experiences have replaced the study of God’s Word. As a result, many have no understanding of doctrine today. Their understanding of God is based on experience and not on Scripture. God’s Word has once again become a dark book. Christians don’t need to live in the dark. They do not need to turn to modern apostles and prophets or any other man. They do not need to seek a new thing or learn to get in contact with spirits. The more we understand the Word of God, the more we understand doctrine, the more we grow. This is the way the Holy Spirit works in believers. When believers ignore the Word of God, they are left to guess at how the Holy Spirit works and are easily seduced by false and lying spirits and men. Doctrine is important. What a person believes can be seen in their character and behavior.