"Wealth will increasingly be defined by our ability to go offline whenever we want." - Fernando Gros
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Blog // Thoughts
July 30, 2006

At Last Good News From Evangelicaland?

Actually, there are lots of good news stories if you look under the surface. However, this one from the NYT really caught my eye. Apparently, mega-church pastor Gregory A. Boyd has got himself in hot water (no baptism jokes please) for saying, of all things, that being evangelical doesn’t automatically make you a military-worshipping right-wing […]

Actually, there are lots of good news stories if you look under the surface. However, this one from the NYT really caught my eye. Apparently, mega-church pastor Gregory A. Boyd has got himself in hot water (no baptism jokes please) for saying, of all things, that being evangelical doesn’t automatically make you a military-worshipping right-wing conservative.

Wow!

OK, I’m being a little cynical, but the fact is my patience is a little low with the current state of evangelicalism these days. On a doctrinal level, my beliefs would land me in the middle of the bell curve of historical evangelicalism. But, if we take into account the today’s sociological reality, then thing don’t look so good, in fact they look scary (a few prior examples from this blog are here, here and here).

That’s why example’s like Pastor Boyd’s are so important. They are nothing less than signs that evangelicalism, or some future form of those current disatisfied and disenfranchised by evangelicalism (but not ready to jettison the doctrines), has hope, life and faith. Boyd has clearly, and insightfully articulated the idolatrous thrall that ensnares to many evangelicals today, especially in the US (something this blog has commented on before here, here and here). As Boyd put it,

“When the church wins the culture wars, it inevitably loses,” Mr. Boyd preached. “When it conquers the world, it becomes the world. When you put your trust in the sword, you lose the cross.”

This is powerful stuff, not just because it criticises the direction of much of evangelical “politics” today (and with it evangelical cultural hubris), but also because it helps to uncover the resentiment that I believe is the unamed force behind such approaches ( see On Fundamentalism and Resentiment). The rhetoric of the cultural wars always begins with a claim about cultural displacement and speaks from a position of how that “wounded” the church. Boyd, is turning that on it’s head and opening the doors for others to see how that resentiment is the real wound for the Church.

[tags] Evangelicalism, Resentiment, Ecclesiology [/tags]

Responses
Nathan Clair 16 years ago

Fascinating stuff. I just left the denomination that Boyd is affiliated with. Where did you find this information? Is it an article or an interview? Would love to read it all.

Fernando Gros 16 years ago

Hey Nathan. I failed to add the link to the article, from the new york times. You can find it HERE.

Toni 16 years ago

Wow!

Just wow.

John Smulo 16 years ago

Fernando, great quote from Boyd. His book written with his Dad is the number one book I give out to people who aren’t Christians. It’s called Letters From a Skeptic, and is essentially a dialogue that began in letters between Greg and his intelligent skeptic Dad. I like it because its his Dad who sets the content for the letters that were eventually turned into the book.

Fernando Gros 16 years ago

Thanks for the comment John. I have added that book to my reading list.

Lois 16 years ago

Thanks for your comments. The article in the NYT was so exciting to read and it is great to know that it touched others hearts and minds as well.

John Smulo 16 years ago

Fernando, please let me know what you think of Letters From a Skeptic when you read it!

John 16 years ago

The truth of the matter is that the “church” inevitably lost the culture wars when it was coopted by the Roman state and thus became an integral part of the western imperialist misadventure with its drive to total power and control.

The current US administration (EMPIRE) IS the inevitable historical development of that imperialist power/control project

A “holy” empire being the ultimate oxymoron!

This essay provides some insight into how the “church” was inevitably emptied of Spiritual Wisdom.
How it is totally impossible to promote empire (or even mass religion) and liberating Spiritual Wisdom at the time.

1. http://www.dabase.net/proofch6.htm#idol

Fernando Gros 16 years ago

I would have thought the church became the culture war with the constantinian settlement. Some of the tendencies within the US are the result of the disposition towards manifest destiny, which is a perversion of Christian Theology. However, I’m not convinced it is either inevitable or necessary. Imperialism is the outworking of a political project that co-opts Christianity, it is not a consequence of Christianity.

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