Impeaching the Witness or, The Genealogy of Convictions

I am no lawyer. Nor the son of a lawyer. Fred over at Slactivst wrote,

By the time of the 1988 elections, everyone in American evangelicalism was wholly opposed to legal abortion and everyone in American evangelicalism was pretending that this had always been the case.

Figuring you may have wondered over to read Fred before proceeding, you now understand the “or” of the title.

During Presidential election cycles you can be sure we will, and have to some degree already, hear that such and such candidate “flip-flopped.” We care little for politicians shifting positions. Even more troubling is the discovery that prominent clergy and theologians may have as well. One only need to follow the reactions when Francis Beckwith took his trek toward Rome.

Young people steeped in the corners of an Evangelicalism bent on inerrancy tend to think precision matters. They trusted those speaking with authority on matters of ethics, life, and faith. And, even when they confront and set aside the attendant biblicism that tends to result, precision still matters. (Natalie has a series of posts on Christian Smith’s, The Bible Made Impossible.) Or, in the words of Jesus, “lest ye be judged by the same measure.” (Matt. 7:1) It is an awful thing when our words come home to roost.

Natalie sums up her move to impeach several prominent Evangelicals who appear to have experienced a nuance of conviction, if not a genealogical overhaul of ethical proportions,

If you want to make valiant, impassioned, public calls to put your faith in God before your obedience to the government, at least be consistent. Because if not, even an inexperienced law student would have you impeached on the stand in a heartbeat.

I am working on a piece about young people and “leaving church.” A recent Baylor study suggests the case for young people leaving the church may have been somewhat overstated. But, should it eventually bear out that young people are leaving some churches for other churches, you can be sure those like Natalie have been given enough fodder to make such a move.

The irony for me – I came of age in an era where Southern Baptists opined the ill-effects of liberalism on the faith of young people. What will they write when the table is turned and some find that leaving fundamentalism saved their faith? Some already are, writing that is.

About the Author
Husband to Patty. Daddy to Kimberly and Tommie. Grandpa Doc to Cohen, Max, Fox, and Marlee. Pastor to Snow Hill Baptist Church. Graduate of Oklahoma Baptist University and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Reading. Photography. Golf. Colorado. Jeeping. Friend. The views and opinions expressed here are my own and should not be construed as representing the corporate views of the church I pastor.

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