In-Sight: The Third Temptation

Steve Harper writes of the Third Temptation: Harper’s “The Third Temptation”

My comment: Excellent reflections, Steve. Thank you for this clear and compelling testimony. Yours is a journey many of us have taken. The tragic irony, of course, is in what has been lost — a focus on Christian Experience (yes, including conversion) and a piety that is deeply linked to the expression of compassion and the commitment to a just society (formerly known as “the spread of scriptural holiness.”) Even so, the allure of perfectionism, legalism and projection of any sinfulness onto those who differ has been, and still is, a threat for those who would be faithful. Keep on keeping on… with gratitude.


I do not usually post something on both Fscebook and Oboedire. This is an exception.


“The Third Temptation”

I cut my teeth as a new Christian on Evangelicalism. I developed my faith within Evangelicalism. I lived into my sixties ministering in various ways as an Evangelical. Today, I have abandoned the word. I have left the camp. Some in that camp have interpreted my leaving it with leaving the faith because to them, Evangelicalism and Christianity are virtually synonymous. But that has never been true, and it is not true in my case either. [1]

But they are correct in one facet of their observation: I am no longer an Evangelical as it has come to be identified (hijacked) by Christian fundamentalists today. [2] The Evangelicalism that I moved with for so long has radically changed, contorting it into a shape that in key respects looks very little like…

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2 thoughts on “In-Sight: The Third Temptation

  1. Philip,

    Thank you for sharing this commentary. I like Steve Harper was reared in a conservative church. Mine wasn’t an evangelical church but a fundamentalist church and part of the Independent Fundamental Churches of America. I was taught at an early age that the mainline denominations were apostate churches, not true Christian churches. In 1960, they backed Richard Nixon because if Kennedy was elected, the Pope would run America. Before this time, fundamentalists did not actively engage in politics. I left fundamentalism during the civil rights movement during a four-year period of time. Fundamentalists did not participate in the civil rights movement because blacks were to be servants of whites as outlined in the Noah story. Leaving fundamentalism in 1968, I was welcomed into a United Methodist church and have called the UMC home for the past 50 years.

    Harper’s commentary is right on target with many of my feelings and beliefs.

    Dan Gangler

    Sent from Mail for Windows 10


  2. I just finished reading your “eulogy” of Evangelicalism. Whenever a group begins to believe that they are right and thus implies that others are wrong, they have lost credibility. Jesus consistently spoke of God as grace and mercy. Following rules/standards as well as believing that they must battle the “opposition” whoever they are, will see those outside of the camp as a threat to their power.
    Ironically, Jesus showed us that the powerless have the greatest power. I just love irony.
    Bill Stephenson, PhD


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