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Blog // Thoughts
October 5, 2007

Wither The Evangelicals II

Some time back, while considering the question of whether or not I could still call myself an evangelical, I wrote the following, “Evangelicals were the religious entrepreneurs of early globalisation, but have become the religious localists and negators of the current era of globalisation. This is not a brand I can easily adopt, regardless of […]

Some time back, while considering the question of whether or not I could still call myself an evangelical, I wrote the following,

“Evangelicals were the religious entrepreneurs of early globalisation, but have become the religious localists and negators of the current era of globalisation. This is not a brand I can easily adopt, regardless of how much I cherish its history.”

I’m revisiting the question because of a typical Facebook dilemna. What do you say to old friends you’ve lost touch with, who have stayed in a tradition or group that you’ve moved away from? I’m now having a few interactions with former friends and acquaintances who I respect and who have elected to stay within the Evangelical camp. What do I say?

Well to begin with, I still hold to the statement quoted above. I love the Evangelical tradition because it stood for education and literacy (yes and even intellectualism), entrepreneurship, a global outlook and progress. But when I look around the Evangelical world today, there’s more than a little anti-intellectualism, entrepreneurship has been replaced by big business and pre-packaged solutions and localist conservatism is all too often the tone of the crowd.

However, a recent reading of the edited collection on the work of Charles Pinnock, Reconstructing Theology, gave me pause for thought. I deeply respect Pinnock as a thinker and although his views are controversial (and anathema for some evangelicals), it is fascinating that Pinnock still considers himself part of that tradition and (at least) some still welcome him within it. The debate around his work is an important reminder that to define evangelicalism solely in terms of trends the reformed hegemony, is a grave error.

This week Darryl at DashHouse posted an extended reflection on Tim Keller’s talk about the risks facing Evangelicals. There is a lot of good thinking on display here, made more potent by the emphasis on honestly and humbly listening to criticism and being willing to repent of real errors. If you consider yourself an evangelical, or find yourself on the edges of the movement, it is well worth taking the time to read Darryl’s notes. Without question if Evangelicalism were able to move in this direction, it would appeal greatly to people like myself who still love the best aspects of the tradition and still identify with the core of the doctrinal heritage.

[tags] Evangelicalism [/tags]

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Responses
Paul 15 years ago

i find it fascinating in a lot of these conversations is the shared values that are often held by many evangelicals as well as their offspring in the emerging church and of course other christian traditions – i still like to think of myself as evangelical, it is my heritage, but that doesn’t mean evangelicals think of me as one. Or maybe they do in these happily more humble days 🙂

Fernando Gros 15 years ago

What I’m finding is that although I’ve moved a long way in the last decade or so, old tags like Evangelical and Baptist are still pretty good descriptors for the more abstract and theoretical aspects of my faith. In some ways more so than calling myself emerging.

Sometimes the problem isn’t what is being said, but how it is being said.

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