Am I an Evangelical?

My online friend, Mike Keffer, who is also a contributor to our forthcoming book, Finding Church, sent me the following email and asked me to share it with you for your input…

Here is what he wrote:

I have been a Christian since May 1985…and I have never been evangelical…ever. I have tried, I really have.

evangelicalI realize some of you now think that I am not a “true christian” whatever that looks like. Believe me, I have had the same thoughts. I was not raised in a Christian home. My parents are still unbelievers. George, a friend in High School, witnessed to me for an entire year and then, on the last day of school, I placed my faith in Jesus. It was His love for me that won me over. I was a very, very damaged kid. I had done a lot of bad things and feared Hell more than anyone so I knew what I was saved from and how awesome it was to become a believer in Christ.

Still, I never thought about sharing my faith, I just didn’t want to. I still don’t. At least not like pastors and evangelists say I should. Sure I ordered tracts, in fact there is about 1000 or so in the back seat of my car right now. I just never went door to door to pass them out. I never stood at a bus station or visited hospitals or food banks in order to witness to someone about the glorious Person of Jesus Christ.

It gets worse, I used to be a “fundie.” That’s right, a fundamentalist. And I never shared my faith even when I was a member of a fundamentalist church. Never even thought about it.

It gets worse. I am a seminary graduate. I added up the number of academic hours I have logged in addition to the training I have received and it may exceed 500 hours. I have lost track of the books, syllabi, cassette tapes, videos, etc… I have a BA, a ThM, a ThD, and a PhD. Plus I have graduated courses of study from at least four bible institutes. I have learned from the late Zola Levitt, Jeffrey Seif, Mal Couch, Charlie Bing, and Arnold Fruchtenbaum among many others.

Yet, I still did not develop a zeal for spreading the gospel to others. I don’t have the desire as I write this.

It gets worse still. I was once ordained as a minister of the gospel and a bible teacher. I taught at a bible institute for a while and then I taught my own students who took university level courses of study through me as an accredited mentor. I taught in the local church. I taught co-workers, family members, and I teach my sons. I am an effective teacher too, based on the reaction of those who have heard me. They say I act like I know Jesus, that is pretty cool.

So, what gives? Why don’t I share the Gospel?!

Just so you know, I renounced my ordination and I no longer teach the bible in a formal setting.

In fact, I no longer attend worship in any formal setting.

I have read literally hundreds of books too, I devour them. My OCD/Aspbergers assists me in reading books, I almost memorize them on a subconscious level. Still, I do not want to share my faith like you would think I would.

I guess I do manage to “share the gospel” but only (and I mean only) in a one-on-one basis, but never in a planned way. I do not carry a message or sermon around with me. The verses of scripture I memorize are for me, to help me, and not to share with anyone else. The tracts have been riding around in my car for about a month now. Recently, a fellow believer wanted to go to a local bus terminal during our lunch break one day and pass out the tracts I ordered. I have been stalling ever since…I simply don’t want to go. The thought seems like a colossal waste of time

What is wrong with me? Am I even a believer?

This cannot be normal.

Can the readers of Jeremy’s blog help me? Please share your thoughts about this.

I think Mike’s situation might be more common than he realizes… and he has had the courage to ask the hard questions.

So what do you think? Is he an “evangelical”? Is he even “saved”? Is there something “wrong” with him? Is there even a “problem”?

If there is a problem, is it with him, or does it lie somewhere else?

As you leave comments, be kind and constructive…

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  1. JP says

    Yes, but have you read the early Church Fathers? Intellectual ascent is great as a first step; but, there is so very much more. Take the next giant leap, put the Holy Spirit Word of God, Sacred Scripture, down, get up and ask to walk with the Lord from the get-go, that is the beginning and allow Him to make you His own as only He can…

    • says

      Yes, there is so much more. But we must differentiate between how to receive eternal life (faith alone in Jesus Christ alone), and how to live out our eternal life (through ongoing faithfulness and discipleship).

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