Confessions Of An Ex-Evangelical, Pro-SSM Millennial

By Rod Dreher, The American Conservative


A terrific letter came in last night from a reader:


As a Millennial whose change-of-heart on gay rights/ssm played a significant role in my walking away from the faith of my childhood, I feel I can shed a little light on that dynamic, and specifically why Millennials aren’t moving on to more liberal churches. My leaving was much more about what the gay rights issues revealed about that faith than it was about the actual issue of gays and their right to marry.
Because there is nothing more obnoxious than a 24 year-old who’s going to tell everyone how the world works, all of this comes with the major caveat that it is simply my experience, and perhaps no one else’s.
I grew up in a Baptist church which practiced a kind of soft Evangelicalism. They would have never thrown out that term because doing that kind of taxonomy isn’t really in the Baptist mindset, but the influence of Evangelicalism was everywhere. Even for non-evangelical Millennials though, it’s important to remember just how much Evangelical culture infused the culture of youth groups from more traditional denominations during this period. I spent a fair amount of time in other churches, and even in those churches that were quite conventional with their adult ministries, their youth ministry was heavily influenced by Evangelicalism.
We were taught that our church not only had the absolute truth, but that there was no earthly history between the Bible and the doctrines being presented to us. I went to Evangelical churches fifty-two Sundays a year for the better part of 19 years, and I cannot for the life of me remember once when the name of a theologian was mentioned. There was one interpretation of scripture, and it was absolutely true. And, in fact, even the various doctrines that were taught were never mentioned by name, because the presence of the name might suggest that there were alternatives. One in three sermons at least name-checked Pre-tribulation rapture theology, but neither those terms nor pre-millennialism or John Nelson Darby was ever mentioned.


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