This article was originally published by Mennonite World Review

True evangelicalism?

I question some of the assertions Stephen Kriss seems to make in “Claiming a Truer Evangelical Faith” (Feb. 24). I disavow the segment of right-wing evangelicalism that has distorted or abandoned some of the basic commitments of true evangelical faith as Menno Simons described it. But these evangelicals should not be equated with churches that still faithfully proclaim justice and Good News to all.

As one who has helped resource thousands of churches across our nation, I know scores of very large churches that hold to true evangelical faith — including megachurches with “big projection screens” that are not merely “smiley, thumbs-up” kinds of churches. Is Kriss judging all of these churches by the same criteria?

If so, this is an unfair criticism of movements that have helped millions come to faith: the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, InterVarsity, Youth for Christ, Campus Crusade for Christ and the Jesus Movement itself. Kriss says he himself once participated in a Jesus-Movement, ’70s-style camp meeting. I’m grateful that the Jesus Movement helped multitudes of seekers find faith in Christ during the ’60s and ’70s, as I was privileged to observe on the West Coast.

Faithfulness to the gospel is not measured by the size of our church, our methods of outreach, style of worship or whether we’re one of the ideal churches “without spot or wrinkle” of Eph. 5:27. Unfair criticism can only bring serious harm to the cause of Christ. Statistics portray a North American church in decline. Indeed, much of the church growth taking place today is happening in megachurches. Let’s pray for these brothers and sisters in the faith who still subscribe to these important tenets and celebrate their contribution to our mutual kingdom work.

Lee Suderman
North Newton, Kan.

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