The Common Good
April 2012

Avoiding Arrogance

by John McRae | April 2012

I appreciated Jim Wallis’ plea for more precision in how the word “evangelical” is used in our society and especially in the media (“Defining ‘Evangelicals’ in an Election Year,” February 2012).

I attended three seminaries. The first one was in the buckle of the Bible belt, known for its fundamentalist stance with regard to the Bible’s inerrancy. The second seminary called itself “neo-evangelical,” in an attempt to distance itself from fundamentalism’s theological conundrums and self-righteous attitudes. The third was mainline Protestant and characterized itself as “neo-orthodox,” distancing itself from fundamentalism and neo-evangelicals.

All three were comfortable with the term “evangelical.” All three quoted the church fathers and the reformers as if they were members of their respective faculties. And, if the truth be told, all three preached the gospel of Jesus Christ but couched it carefully within their ideological canons. I also learned that none of the three had a corner on the gospel truth, and they often unfairly caricatured the other camps’ positions.

Ronn Garton
San Diego, California

Sojourners relies on the support of readers like you to sustain our message and ministry.

Related Stories

Like what you're reading? Get Sojourners E-Mail updates!

Sojourners Comment Community Covenant

I will express myself with civility, courtesy, and respect for every member of the Sojourners online community, especially toward those with whom I disagree, even if I feel disrespected by them. (Romans 12:17-21)

I will express my disagreements with other community members' ideas without insulting, mocking, or slandering them personally. (Matthew 5:22)

I will not exaggerate others' beliefs nor make unfounded prejudicial assumptions based on labels, categories, or stereotypes. I will always extend the benefit of the doubt. (Ephesians 4:29)

I will hold others accountable by clicking "report" on comments that violate these principles, based not on what ideas are expressed but on how they're expressed. (2 Thessalonians 3:13-15)

I understand that comments reported as abusive are reviewed by Sojourners staff and are subject to removal. Repeat offenders will be blocked from making further comments. (Proverbs 18:7)