Growing up in an Evangelical Church I was taught that much of life was a slippery slope. We were told never to say words like crap, or dangit because it was to close too words swear words (I find this very funny now because of the word skubalon that Paul uses in Phil. 3:8, which translates into a vulgar version of manure). I was told that a person is one drink away from becoming an alcoholic, one cigar/cigarette closer to addiction and lung cancer. I was told I was not allowed to dance with girls because dancing is sex in motion. I was told that I had to take the Bible literally, because one denial of a literal creation story, Adam and Eve not really existing, no actual flood, or Mary not actually being a virgin (just common modern examples) meant that I was this close to falling out of the grace of God.
When I look back at the past churches I grew up in, there was so much fear. There was fear that they would fall into what they deemed a “sinful life.” They feared that if you questioned the Bible, then you would lose the Truth of God, and fall into worshiping an idol. The slippery slope protects us from the other side. The conservatives I grew up with told me it was a slippery slope into liberalism. I wonder if liberals would say it’s a slippery slope into being to conservative. We make the other side the enemy. I wonder if the slope is the way we build walls into protecting ourselves from one another. This type of binary thinking and polarized living doesn’t produce quality thinking, truly free living; it produces fear, anger, and despair.
I don’t think all of this fear produces good Christians. If perfect love casts out fear, then perfect fear casts out love. If love is the mark of being a Christian, then how is any of this any good? If we fear one another, then how can the world know God? They are supposed to know him by the way we love each other, aren’t they? If we are watching our feet every step of the way, to make sure we don’t fall into sin, then how can we see the road in front of us? If we are trying to manage our sin, then how can we live our lives, and live our lives in love? What would an Evangelical Christianity look like if it didn’t live in this fear?