Evangelical Christians, of almost all sorts, are a narrative-driven people. Our evangelism often includes personal stories of how we came to meet Christ. Our worship often includes personal “testimonies,” either spoken or sung. To those outside the community, these can seem cloyingly sentimental, and sometimes even manipulative. Even so, those who emphasize the personal nature of knowing Christ often define following Christ in terms of our past, what we’re leaving behind. But even without a spoken testimony, one can often read what an evangelical is walking away from based on what he’s reacting, or over-reacting, to.
Whenever I hear a Christian say that we shouldn’t emphasize the imperatives of Scripture (the commands of God), but rather the indicatives (who we are in Christ), I can predict that, almost every time, this is someone who grew up in an oppressive and rigid legalism. By contrast, when I hear an evangelical Christian wanting to build hedges ...1