Friday, February 6, 2009

Evangelically Fixated vs. Theologically Preoccupied

In his column for the Sept./Oct. 2008 issue of Outreach Magazine, Ed Stetzer observed two errant tendencies in the church. He described the first as "Theologically Preoccupied," and the other as "Evangelically Fixated." He noted how each particular post on his blog draws critical responses from one side or the other.

It seems that these two tendencies are both alive and well within my church body, the Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod, as well. This is not to say that the majority of our pastors could be placed in either camp, but sometimes it can feel otherwise, when those at either extreme happen to be some of our most prolific at distributing their opinions. While I realize the majority of our pastors and congregations are doing their best to maintain this equilibrium, we have to admit that there are some who are guilty either of compromising elements of our theology for the sake of growing their church or have become so preoccupied with theological introspection that they never engage or interact with unbelievers, much less participate in evangelism.

I do not intend to say that theological precision is a fault or undesirable--quite the opposite. It is absolutely necessary, but when theological precision is sought to the neglect of evangelistic fervor, it is misplaced. Likewise, Evangelism is not an unnecessary task, and I do not intend to criticize those who have a passion for it. But, when evangelism is pursued at the expense or neglect of theological precision, this is also objectionable.

A Christian should be neither "Evangelically Fixated" nor "Theologically preoccupied." Instead, the church should always find itself Evangelistically Theological and Theologically Evangelistic. These two extremes provide a suitable test for the rest of us. If you find yourself criticized by one of these extremes or the other, perhaps it is time to take a moment to examine your equilibrium. If you find yourself alternately criticized by both extremes, you have probably achieved the appropriate symmetry.

1 comment:

  1. awesome work, I've only read half of it and I look forward to finishing reading later on...definitely worth the time