Evangelical Protestantism - A Force for Good?

Hello

I have been pondering a question lately. I know an Evangelical whom I am great friends with. Socially, our beliefs are almost identical except when it comes to the ‘prosperity gospel’ and other such beliefs I think should be condemned.

Here is what I like about Evangelical Protestantism:

  • They agree with us on social issues such as abortion, homosexuality etc.
  • They are often willing to form allegiances with us due to our similar social views.
  • They hold onto the basic tenets of the faith and unlike mainline Protestants seem to be firm in stating their beliefs.
  • They often do great work for the poor.

Things that I disagree with:

  • They take the beliefs of the ‘reformers’ too far.
  • They can be very anti-Catholic and often try to evangelise us.
  • Despite their work for the poor, many believe in the awful ‘prosperity gospel’.

So, in general, is Evangelical Protestantism overall a force for good? I think it is, because in this secular world they are willing to stand with us against social evils and despite their very flawed theology and ‘surface level interpretation’ of scripture, they do bring many to Christ.

So, any opinions? Do you think that Evengelical Protestantism is a force for good?

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Yes, some of evangelical Protestantism is a force for good, particularly for the points that you mention. And many evangelicals reject prosperity gospel as well.

One criticism of evangelicalism that I have, though, is that they are generally too attached to partisan politics, which I believe weakens their integrity somewhat.

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I feel that many of them would support Trump no matter what, just because of some of his policies. I support Trump but not unconditionally, as they seem to do.

I would always vote for him over the Dems though, if I was American.

They’re a mixed bag.

On the one hand, God fearing people whose moral standpoints are very close to ours.

On the other hand, they sometimes draw people away from the Catholic Church, and because (in the US, anyway) people think of the Evangelicals when they hear the word “Christian”, we all get lumped into the same category in the minds of the mainstream when their more extreme elements start to hold forth on topics.

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Here in NZ, the ‘generic Christian’ is often thought to be an Anglican.

In the US it seems people think of Reformed Calvinists and Evangelicals when talking about the ‘generic Christian’.

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Along with Catholics, Evangelicals do great things for the less fortunate… I’d consider them to be a “force for good” in that regard. As far as the faith itself goes, Evangelicals lead many astray with false doctrines like sola fide and OSAS, and therefore believe the salvation of themselves and others is guaranteed while ignoring all that pesky scripture about “the narrow gate” and “[unrepentant sinners] shall not inherit the kingdom of God”.

I believe the more humble Evangelicals who share the Gospel and serve those in need are a force for good, as those same people are the ones who introduced me to the faith before I explored it more and became convinced by Catholicism. However, the more prideful Evangelicals who draw judgements upon others about their salvation in the form of a boastful “You’re going to burn in Hell!”, covet the material things of this world, despise the less fortunate, and otherwise exhibit unChristian behavior do the Christian faith a great disservice, making it all the more difficult for us to reach out to non-believers.

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I think they are mostly a force for good. Billy Graham was a famous evangelical who did much for the cause of Christ. I came to follow Christ through one of his crusades.

The so-called “Prosperity Gospel” is only held by a minority, but they are a vocal minority and prominent in my region of the US, so I have to deal with them some. TV preachers like Creflo Dollar and Kenneth Copeland are among its adherents. I think that “health and wealth” philosophy is unbiblical and leads people into error and mixed up priorities.

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There are a lot of good people who are evangelical. I think they do a good job at bringing Christ to people who are not really following any kind of religion and have no relationship with Jesus.

The bad side of Evangelicalism is when it bashes Catholicism or leads Catholics away from the Church.

As for politics and “prosperity gospel”, only a subset of Evangelicals care about those things.

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I think there is good IN Evangelical Protestantism, but I think it is incomplete. The fact these people aren’t Catholic tells me that we are doing a poor job of evangelising. That said, I am always glad to do pro-life work with anyone, even the occasional pro-life atheist

Unfortunately, that movement is becoming larger and larger, though.

And I would argue that many of those people don’t even know the real Jesus – they know a caricature of him that they created in their own minds.

I saw a meme on facebook the other day of Joel Osteen – and it has Joel saying that the moral of Noah’s ark story is that God wants you to have a boat lol.

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Good points of Evangelicalism = They introduce to people to Christ better than any of us. That alone is a huge positive. They are also morally upright which is great.

Bad points= They lack structure. So they can go in 5 million different directions and claim the Holy Spirit took them there. They can be too rigid and close minded. Most of them will never be like the non-Catholics here and come to CAF and have fruitful discussions and try and understand our faith, rather than tell us what we believe.

Here in my area, which is mostly Evangelical the local churches have/support many ministries that are “forces for good”. Here are a few examples.

  • Crisis Pregnancy Center (helps girls/women who choose to keep their baby)
  • Downtown Rescue Mission
  • Local Churches Involved (provides food, furniture, and pays utility bills for people in need)
  • English as a Second Language Classes
  • Loads of Love (goes to laundry mats on Saturdays and pays for peoples laundry)
  • A ministry to provide GED classes to adults who never graduated high school, then mentors them as they go to the local community college/trade school
  • Marriage counseling services
  • Celebrate Recovery (addiction recovery)
  • Full Tummy Project (provides weekend meals for school children)
  • Financial Peace (Dave Ramsey’s classes on Financial matters)

Those are just the ones off the top of my head that are in my local community. Most churches also send mission groups out several times a year to different places around the world. I believe the church I attend is sending seven different teams to do various mission work to different countries.

You can say we are a splintered group who’s doctrines are wrong all you want. But I don’t think you can logically say we aren’t “A force for good”.

That’s funny. I suppose God also wants you to put a zoo on it.

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I would definitely agree that at least in the U.S. (where evangelical Protestantism is strongest anyway) that they are largely a force for good. On social issues evangelicals’ views usually line up with Catholic teaching better than the mainline Protestant denominations such as Anglicans, Lutherans, etc. They can usually be counted on to join in efforts to serve the poor, prolife activities, support for religious freedom issues, etc.

From a standpoint of evangelicalism, I have always felt that evangelical Protestants were a much better audience to focus Catholic evangelism efforts on than mainline Protestants. Whereas mainline denominations are drifting further and further away from Catholic doctrine on numerous issues, evangelical Protestants are still largely in line with Catholic teaching on many of these topics. The stumbling blocks you meet with evangelicals usually have more to do with higher theological issues such as the papacy, sacraments, tradition/scripture vs. scripture alone, etc. But in my mind these issues would be more likely to be overcome than convincing some mainline denomination to give up women clergy or gay marriages. I guess the main drawback of this is that evangelicals are not usually part of a larger body that you can centralize discussions with, which means you would be evangelizing in a more “piecemeal” fashion than just talking with the governing body of a larger mainline denomination. But I think there is more of a possibility of bearing fruit with evangelicals even with this problem.

But yes, I think evangelical Protestants are a force for good in the U.S. Catholics will need the support of evangelicals in the years to come as the country and the government becomes more hostile towards Christians and their activities in the public sphere.

In addition to that, they have a lot more members genuinely excited about having a relationship with the Lord and sometimes making sacrifices or changing their behavior out of love for him.
I don’t see that very often in the mainline Protestant churches, except for ministers and pastors.

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I also think they can be quite off-putting to non-believers, especially the more fundamentalist dinosaurs-lived-in-caves-with-humans types. I also wonder if the typical mega-church form of worship-as-concert is actually attractive to non-believers. Of course, the same question could be asked about a typical Catholic parish Mass.

A lot of Evangelical churches are pretty small. They’re not all megachurch extravaganzas.
The small communities getting together for praise and worship with their own choir or their own “praise band” can be appealing in a grassroots way.
I’m actually considering visiting one because of that (no worries about me quitting the church though).

Of course, a lot of people like the spectacle of a big megachurch too. It’s more exciting than just sitting in a pew praying to Jesus. And if there’s a huge attendance then it makes people feel like they’re part of a big group and they get excited by that just like if they went to a big sports event or an Ariana Grande concert.

Here’s the rule of thumb that I follow:

Mark 9:40 for whoever is not against us is for us.

Since your friend tries to proselytize against the Catholic Church, he would fail that test, in my book.

Yes. I think they are bringing the Gospel to people who might otherwise not hear it.

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They deny the sacraments and teach others the same, potentially condemning many souls.

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