why I remain an evangelical (a personal relationship with Christ)

Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.

Though I like much within these traditions, there are a number of reasons I am neither Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox or somewhere within the Great Tradition. And I am one who willingly affirms the faith of those within that, knowing friends and people who have a living faith and are part of one of those churches. And maybe I’m missing the boat on my next point. If you think I am let me know and why.

Somewhere recently (I can’t find the link) I read the main point of why not to become a Roman Catholic, I think it was. The point made was that while those who become Roman Catholic might well have a living, personal faith it is nearly inevitable that somewhere generations following some of the progeny will often at best in the liturgical, sacramental setting, have a faith that is only religious in orientation and not personal. I remain an evangelical because of the need to emphasize the necessity of having a personal relationship with Christ.

I am one who loves liturgy and tradition, I think saying the creeds is good. And I’m becoming more open to more of a sacramental understanding. But there’s one nonnegotiable in which I think evangelical churches have a leg up on their more traditional counterparts: the necessity of a personal relationship with Christ.

Notice I’m not saying an individual relationship with Christ, though I do mean for each of us as individuals. When we become members of Christ through conversion, we are also members of his body, the church. We aren’t just connected to the head when we’re joined to Christ, but to his body as well. The emphasis of the Roman Catholics and the Eastern Orthodox on the church is much better than what I’ve found in evangelical circles where too oftentimes people think lightly of church.

And it’s not like being in an evangelical church tradition means that children and progeny will follow with a living, personal relationship with Christ themselves. Every person and each generation has to find that for themselves. But it is important to be part of a church or tradition which does stress the need for a personal relationship with Christ. Too often in churches of the Great Tradition it seems that baptism, confirmation and engaging in liturgical, sacramental practice is enough. These are all important and means of grace. But again, one must come to a personal relationship with Jesus themselves.

So although I appreciate much within the Great Tradition, and I think we can and should learn from them- apart from some major doctrinal differences I have, the main reason I do not believe I’ll ever become Roman Catholic or Eastern Orthodox is the concern I would have for those who would follow. I am an evangelical. And I appreciate the evangelical tradition in part because of its emphasis on having a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ.