Friday, November 06, 2015

Media Spin watch, 1: Erick Erickson of Townhall tutors the US media on evangelical faith in America, and on Adventism

Erick Erickson of Townhall has provided a handy tutorial for the US media on evangelical faith in the USA.

He notes:
As Ben Carson rises and the media is confronted by some mysterious something called a "Seventh Day Adventist," it is time again to explain American Protestantism to the press. It is amazing how the American mainstream media continues to write about American Christianity with complete ignorance regarding its basic terms, history, and beliefs.
That is already a sad reflection on want of professionalism, and on lack of integrity. 

A major warning flag.

 He sums up:
mainline protestant denominations are Episcopalians, the United Methodists, the Presbyterians (USA), the American and Northern Baptists, the United Church of Christ, the Congregationalists, the Disciples of Christ, and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

While evangelical churches are more mainstream in America, they are not considered mainline. Many evangelical churches branched off from the mainline. The Southern Baptists, the nation's largest protestant denomination, branched off from the Northern and American Baptist Churches. The Presbyterian Church in America, Evangelical Presbyterians, and Reformed Presbyterians broke away from the main Presbyterian Church, which is today the PCUSA. Anglicans have come back into the country in response to the ordination of gays within the Episcopalian Church.

I await the United Methodist Church splintering over that issue and the social gospel too. The Methodists are one of the last major mainline denominations not to have a serious split, but it is on the verge of happening. For those of you wondering where Mormons are on this list, I am not aware of any Christian denomination that considers the Latter Day Saints to actually be a part of Christianity.
 (You will want to look at his summary of Adventism, which I simply link. Note the concern on the status of the writings/ teachings of Mrs Ellen G White, despite the formal declaration that the Bible is the canon. CARM, here, is also worth noting -- including here on the signature issue of Sabbatarianism.)

If Mr Carson continues to emerge as a leading candidate [and note there is a gotcha hunt on him focussed on odd views he may have . . . the latest being who built the pyramids why], these issues will become fairly prominent.

 The underlying point of course is to characterise Christians who take the Bible seriously as idiots, ignoramuses or worse, unfit for high office or any responsible position.

A key to that is the use of the term "fundamentalism," and Erickson is right to note, on the underlying history of the modernist controversy:
Evangelical churches overall are growing. The charismatic churches are really seeing strong growth. All of these churches are much more concerned with fundamentalism -- which is, like "mainline" -- a specific term. 

When people talk about "fundamentalists" these days, they usually mean hard line Christians who are no fun. Actually, a "fundamentalist" is someone who subscribes to five specific points within Protestantism: 1) the inerrancy of the Bible; 2) the virgin birth of Christ; 3) the atonement of sins through Christ's death; 4) the bodily resurrection of Christ; and 5) the reality of Christ's miracles.
Of course, this post here at KF marks a new series, on spin games -- likely to get bigger and bigger with time. END