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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 self-worship.

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 to me?”

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.
Academic Dean
E-mail: dkyyom@cgsot.edu

If you have any questions, contact or visit the Office Administration at CAL GRAD

California Graduate School of Theology
13280 Chapman Ave, 4th Floor
Garden Grove, CA 92840

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