For some time, I’ve been trying to think through exactly what is at the core of Americanism (American Christianity). What makes it wrong? What makes it so sentimental?
When the rubber hits the road, most Americanists – Assemblies of God, Baptists to some extent, Dispensationalists, Methodists, etc., can provide at least some defense of their worship styles or lack thereof. And usually there’s at least a grain of truth to it.
Making this even harder is the fact that it’s very hard to critique other Christians. As long as they trust in the Son of the Triune God, and on Him alone depend for their salvation, the most we can do is have a conversation. It’s rare that we must come out and proclaim heresy, a step that should not be taken lightly.
The flip side of that, of course, is that we should never allow a brother to wallow in sin without trying to help him along in the knowledge and trust of Christ.
So what exactly, beyond the obvious, are they doing that is so wrong? What makes the skin of good Protestants crawl when they attend Assemblies of God or “free” “non-liturgy” worship services?
I think I’ve boiled it down to three main points, and bear in mind this is very much a thought-work in progress. Any and all criticism is welcomed.
- New Testamentism
I’ll take these one at a time, and I hope to show how instead of staying in a balance, Americanism has swung far to the extremes on these points (all of which are good and necessary in moderation).