Francis Schaeffer’s son says no!
Who are these conservative evangelicals?
They are people who suffer from:
• Read the Bible only in the original version – the NIV, of course! –
as if there were a neutral and stable position from which this library
of a book could be translated, as if translations weren’t themselves
interpretations, and as if our interpretations of these interpretations
didn’t go all the way down and resist closure – they do.
• Hold tenaciously to the quite unbiblical, relatively newfangled, and deeply problematical doctrine of biblical inerrancy.
Act like the doctrine of penal substitution is in the Creeds, find
nothing at all sub-Christian in the idea that God “punished” Jesus on
the cross, and deploy this model of the atonement as the litmus test
for distinguishing “real” Christians.
• Argue that the Levitical
and Pauline condemnations of homosexuality conclusively settle the
contemporary discussion of same-sex relationships, insisting, however,
that “while we hate the sin, we love the sinner.” (Gay/Lesbian
Christians: “Yeah, right!”)
• Worship with “choruses” that are four lines long, a half-inch deep, and take 20 minutes to sing.
Punctuate their prayers with the word “just” (“Father, we just pray
this, and Father, we just pray that”) with mind-numbing repetition, and
assume that the more people you have praying about something, the more
likely you are to get a result.
• Despise Richard Dawkins while
actually believing in the kind of God he rightly rejects, as if the
existence of God were, in principle, demonstrable, as if the
proposition “God exists” were a hypothesis to be affirmed or denied, as
if God were simply the hugest of individuals.
• Treat the
visions in the book of Revelation as if they were the prognostications
of a Nostradamus rather than imaginative murals of encouragement for
confessing churches and protest against militant empires.
Believe, sometimes with quite unpleasant schadenfreude, that hell will
be full rather than empty – and that they have access to the Inferno’s
• Are fans rather than followers of Jesus when it comes
to his absolute rejection of violence; for example, they will kill
other people if the state tells them to.