From the Dean's Desk
The term “evangelical” came into vogue during the Reformation of the
sixteenth century, when the term served as a virtual synonym for the word
“Protestant.” Historians have often suggested that the two chief causes of
the Reformation were the core issues of biblical authority (sola Scriptura) and
the doctrine of justification by faith alone (sola fide).
The Reformers called themselves “evangelicals” because they
believed that the doctrine of justification by faith alone is central and essential
to the Gospel. In this analogy the term “evangelical Christian” would be a
redundancy because one cannot be a Christian without being evangelical.
Now the term “evangelical” has become a word without a
definition. Today, we have men and women using the word “evangelical” to
define their particular beliefs and experiences without the slightest reference
to the word’s historic roots and parameters. People use the term with a great
deal of ambiguity.
The meaning of the word “evangelical” is becoming obscure when
someone says that man’s problem is not “sin” but “low self-esteem.” The word is
kidnapped when the self is worshiped. Humanistic selfism became a popular
secular substitute religion, which has nourished and spread today’s cult of
It is not surprising today that the average Christian will
define “evangelical” in ways that would have defined him outside of orthodox
evangelicalism just fifty years ago. For hundreds of years the core of the
theological identity of evangelicalism would almost unanimously be defined in
terms of the Protestant solas (sola fide, sola Scriptura, solus Christus,
sola gratia, soli Deo gloria). However, today’s only sola is
the individualist’s creed: sola Meo (Me Alone). This “Meism”
highlights My interpretation of Scripture along with my subjective faith.
My experience with Christ, whom I define in terms
of my experience and culture. Objective truth and doctrines are rejected because
they would expose the idol of “Meism.”
At the heart of most modern evangelicals is the belief
that Christianity is primarily about a personal experience. This is why
theological propositions, church services and ministers are evaluated by how
they make the Christian feel. The question is not, “Was God glorified?” Or, “Were
the Scriptures obeyed?” No, the questions are, “Was my ego satisfied and
strengthened? Were my feelings touched? Is this how I feel God has revealed Himself
The ship of Protestant evangelicalism is now sailing in the
shallow waters of the man-made lake of subjectivism and pragmatism where feelings
and results reign supreme. No longer are the infallible and inerrant Scriptures
the objective standard by which we evaluate our experiences and practices. Now
the Bible is being made to defend our own experiences and agendas.
Today, theological precision is thought to be contrary to a
spirit of love and unity. However, if we divorce Christian love and unity from
apostolic foundations we have pluralism, not theism. We have moralistic and
therapeutic deism, not Christianity.
May the Lord bless Cal Grad so that it would never cut away the
anchor of sola Scriptura and continue to adhere to the apostolic foundations
and the historic Protestant solas.
Daniel K. Yom, Ed.D.