Guest / Limited Access /

If you have survived a Marine Corps boot camp, read no further. If not, this article is for you.

Over the years I've grown concerned about Christians—especially younger ones—who express little interest in the basic doctrines of the faith. They don't want to appear to be dogmatic or judgmental. I can understand why; after all, as Gabe Lyons and David Kinnaman pointed out in unChristian, we older evangelicals have often come across that way. But our failures do not alter the fact that understanding and living by these doctrines are essential to, well, being Christians.

An aversion to doctrine caused some thoroughly orthodox young evangelicals to decline to sign the Manhattan Declaration (which defends human life, traditional marriage, and religious liberty), even though the document is rooted in Scripture. As one young evangelical explained to me, "We don't like dogmatic statements that a lot of people have to sign." What about the Nicene Creed or the Westminster Confession of Faith?

So I was delighted recently to visit a 31-year-old evangelical who understood my concern. Like me, this young man, Donovan Campbell, was a former Marine Corps officer. He has written a gripping book, Joker One, about his experiences in Iraq as a platoon commander. I asked him about younger evangelicals who believe that we oldsters aren't being sensitive enough to their concerns. "Can you imagine," he asked, "what would happen if a scruffy young recruit were to tell his Marine drill instructor at Parris Island that he ought to be more sensitive to his needs?"

We both chuckled, knowing what would happen to the poor recruit. If he survived, he'd be doing 100 pushups a day for weeks.

The Marine Corps is legendary for building character and ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Read These NextSee Our Latest
Recommended
Subscriber Access Only The Seven Levels of Lying
We lie more than we think. And that's part of the problem.
TrendingChristianity Today's 2015 Book Awards
Christianity Today's 2015 Book Awards
Our picks for the books most likely to shape evangelical life, thought, and culture.
Editor's PickWhat Forgotten Christmas Tradition Should Churches Revive?
What Forgotten Christmas Tradition Should Churches Revive?
Rooting our celebration of Christ’s birth more deeply in our lives.
Comments
Christianity Today
Doctrinal Boot Camp
hide thisFebruary February

In the Magazine

February 2011

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.