Maybe the NAE Will Ruin Us After All

Things aren’t going to plan in the vanguard against liberalism:

It gets worse. In 2010, the NAE adopted a resolution seeking “common ground” and “fresh national dialogue” on the subject of reducing the number of abortions in the United States. Cizik’s successor, Galen Carey, said at the time that partnering with notorious pro-abortion groups like Planned Parenthood was a possibility. It would seem logical to conclude that the alliance between the NAE and the Campaign is an outgrowth of the 2010 resolution.

A few weeks back I posted Did the NAE Really Ruin the Church of God?  In that I discussed the impact (or lack of it) of the Church of God joining the National Association of Evangelicals.  Some people in our denomination contend that joining the NAE turned our pacifist, free-form Pentecostal church into an authoritarian structure, something I don’t think can be justified by a careful examination of history.

What’s going on here, however, is all too familiar to someone who’s spent much of his life in and around the Anglican/Episcopal world.  It’s the same mentality we saw in the Episcopal and other Main Line churches starting in the 1960’s and proceeding to the present: if we do not “engage the culture” by at least meeting it halfway (and that journey usually takes us further than that) we’ll become irrelevant.  Well, if there’s any lesson of the last half century of Episcopal history, it’s that doing this guarantees irrelevancy, because the message you proclaim (such as it is) is no different from the secularists you’re trying to ape.  So why bother with a church under these conditions?

Evangelicals these days are especially vulnerable to this kind of attack because they’re inveterate populists.  Their aim is to get the Word out to as many people as possible, and this requires adaptability and casting a wide net to as large of a group of people as possible. When adaptability becomes accommodation, as we’re seeing with the NAE, that cast net is getting snagged on a bottom littered with the wreckage of others who have tried the same thing.

It seems that it is time for NAE members to seriously reconsider their affiliation to this organisation, which has apparently outlived its usefulness.

P.S. Note to Anglicans: it’s this kind of thing which led me to oppose the Anglican Covenant.  I think that such a centralised structure is too easy of a conduit for rot at the top to spread down.  I’m inclined to believe that’s something that Rowan Williams knew going in; it’s interesting that TEC never caught on to that angle.

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