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An open letter to ICCF

This letter is primarily addressed to the leaders of the Illini Chinese Christian Fellowship who served there in 2005-2006, at the time that I decided to leave ICCF.

I served faithfully in your organization for years, particularly in leading Bible studies and creating Bible study materials. I greatly enjoyed it and devoted a lot of time to it (probably too much time - in hindsight, I think I should have focused more on my studies). I tried to steer the fellowship clear of theological controversies and questionable teaching, and tried to set a (theologically and spiritually) balanced tone and an emphasis on practical spirituality and practical Bible study, rather than the doctrinal rabbit trails that others go for. In the process I had to be patient at times with strange ideas or doctrines, or even bad behavior from some people there. Though I did not always feel accepted as an outsider (as a non-Chinese), I at least thought I was serving faithfully, had friends there, and was making…

Evangelicalism's gradual demise

The term "evangelical" was popularized by Martin Luther ("evangelisch" in German), which meant a follower of the gospel. The term was originally a very good and useful term, as it referred to someone who believed in a religion based on faith and following the teachings of Christ, rather than man-made religious rules. It was meaningful enough but also broad enough to encompass a general theological orientation and religious lifestyle. It could include and accommodate somewhat different views or interpretations of Christian belief, including those who focused more on the grace, spirituality and lifestyle of Christ. As such, it was not the exclusive property of one religious group or theological orientation. The meaning has been generally positive in modern church history.

However, in recent decades the term has been hijacked by fundamentalists who insist on a narrow interpretation of the term, insisting on a set of specific theological beliefs, while ignoring the Ch…