It started with this tweet by Dr. Anthony Bradley:
"Being a ‘radical,' ‘missional' Christian is slowly becoming the ‘new legalism.' We need more ordinary God and people lovers (Matt 22:36-40)."
Needless to say, he had my attention. As I read the ensuing article the tweet inspired called "The ‘New Legalism'" (World Magazine), my curiosity quickly turned to confusion, then frustration and finally disappointment. Bradley so misses the mark with this piece that I felt it important to respond in some detail. Please read the original article first, as I don't want you to rely entirely on my perspective.
Bradley starts by identifying a very real and prevalent problem:
"I continue to be amazed by the number of youth and young adults who are stressed and burnt out from the regular shaming and feelings of inadequacy if they happen to not be doing something unique and special. Today's millennial generation is being fed the message that if they don't do something extraordinary in this life they are wasting their gifts and potential."
My reaction to this dynamic is somewhat conflicted. On one hand, I have seen the suffering he identifies and agree that not only do we need to address it compassionately, but also root out the underlying causes. On the other hand, in light of how most Christians around the world live, I have a hard time feeling too much sympathy for those who are almost entirely made up of the world's most privileged few. It is in this sense of tension where I think the problem lies: there is certainly a problem that needs addressing, but the diagnoses of cause(s) and the remedies suggested are so off the mark that I fear they might very well cause more harm than they remedy.
Bradley identifies two significant factors that, in ...