What is Christianity?
That question can be answered in several ways. If one is among a group of atheists, for example, one might make the existence of God a basic part of the definition of Christianity. But I wish to pursue this question in order to demonstrate why North American evangelicalism, in many of it’s different varieties, is sub-christian. Christianity is, contrary to popular opinion, not a “belief-system” or a “world view” any more than France or England is a belief system.
This horribly reductionist understanding of Christianity, instead of being challenged by Scripture, imposes itself upon Scripture. Evangelical readers are given ready-made categories of doctrine within which they are taught to fit the things which they read in the Bible. All sorts of possibilities are closed off without thought, obvious questions are never asked. Christianity is presented as a belief system, and perhaps an experience available to individuals that they may be “saved.”
As a product and adherent to the Reformation Tradition within the stream of Christian history, I am glad to have the resources of Covenant Theology available to me so that I have been able to recognize some of the problems with modern Evangelicalism. But it has been disappointing to discover, that “Calvinists” are just as much prone to the spirit of the age as any other North American Evangelical. Thus, the purpose of this paper is not only to introduce Evangelicals to Covenant Theology, but especially introduce self-styled heirs of the Reformation to it as well. And in doing so, I want to present not one variant on the Christian tradition, but rather the essence of any tradition that can call itself Christian.