Why do we need conservative Christianity?

The word conserve implies protection. A conservationist works to protect the fauna and flora against destructive influences. A conservative is one who believes that something exists which must be protected.

For a conservative Christian, that thing is nothing less than truly biblical Christianity. Conservative Christians work to truly understand biblical Christianity and then protect it from those who would warp it.

That raises another question. Why should we be concerned with preserving biblical Christianity?

There at least two reasons that motivate the conservative approach.

First, we have a mandate to pass on the faith. Christianity has to be propagated from one generation to another (Psalm 78:4-7). Therefore, conservative Christians are concerned to pass on the faith once delivered to the saints, not some hybrid species of Christianity. The truth is not something in which we can tolerate the ‘broken telephone’ phenomenon. We are simply one link in a church begun in the past and stretching into the future. Conservative Christians love both their ‘parents’ and their ‘children’ – both the church past and the church future. What we have received through the blood, sweat and tears of 2000 years of Christianity is not something we are authorised to tamper with. We ought to be humbler than that.

That leads us to the second reason we must protect biblical Christianity. All around us are people who seek to innovate when it comes to doctrine and worship, and they present their innovations as genuine, original, biblical Christianity. In other words, conservatives are needed, because threats are always present to the pure biblical faith.

Sadly, many professing Christians within the visible church constitute such threats. Instead of seeking to preserve, refine and pass on what is true, good and beautiful, certain professing believers delight to tear down received traditions, innovate in worship and doctrine, and fly the banner of “relevance” over their innovations. Such kind of people are sometimes misguided; sometimes they are knowingly destructive of conservative Christianity – for it stands in the way of of their personal ambitions. Worse, some of them speak from places of authority, and set themselves up as teachers of the truth.

Against this background, conservative Christians must earnestly contend for the faith (Jude 1:3). This means more than insisting upon pure doctrine, though it certainly does involve that. It means naming and shaming worship innovations. It means calling attention to what is not appropriate in worship or church life. It means defending the integrity of the Gospel from those who would demean it by their actions and attitudes. It means identifying inordinate affection. It means calling people from the thoughtlessness of modern life to a reflective, sober Christianity. It means reminding a church disconnected from its heritage what that heritage is.

We didn’t start the race (Heb 12:1). It may not be us who finish it. But in the presence of the cloud of witnesses, we should determine not to be the ones who drop the baton.

3 Responses to “Why do we need conservative Christianity?”

  1. Clinton Verley Says:

    You didn’t prove your point here. All you did was assert that “blblical” Christianity and “conservative” Christianity are the same.

    A more helpful essay would have proved that link rather than just asserting its existence.

  2. David Says:

    Clint,

    Since this one of the first essays of the site, it simply introduces the topic. The rest of the site describes, defends and develops the biblical nature of conservative Christianity.

  3. arctific Says:

    If Christianity is defined by its holy writings, then seeing fidelity to those writings as a good thing is the genuine article. Then the pro or con for Christianity is with the author of its holy writings, arguably — God.

    Here is hoping it is that simple, clear, clean and wise. If all that is right or wrong is how the Love of God, Christian family, Neighbor or Enemy is done, then a self righting ship could long endure.

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