Monday, April 26, 2010

What's Up with Evangelicals?

The evangelical world is all over the place, and the rest of the church might want to clue in.

Last week a friend referred me to a video from her conservative evangelical megachurch (inerrancy, pre-trib rapture, you name it). The church was launching a series on global poverty, in which the pastor used words like "justice" and talked about how God sides with underdogs, classic liberation theology lines. This, in the wake of Glenn Beck's call to abandon social justice churches, is a most hopeful sign. The movement to embrace social, economic, and environmental justice shows broad growth among evangelicals.


At the same time, Reformed Theological Seminary has lost an esteemed faculty member, Bruce Waltke, because he expressed openness to theistic evolution in an interview. Apparently belief in a literal Adam and Eve was not enough. That same seminary has rescinded a speaking invitation to Tremper Longman, III, for his radical opinion that Adam and Eve may not have been historical persons.

The upshot of all this? Evangelicals are feeling a huge pull, just as they did in the 1950s and the 1970s. Some are gravitating toward engagement with the outside world, the larger church, and scientific consensus. Others are resisting like hell, trying to hold the line at about 1913. It's time, now more than ever, for the larger church to reach out to progressive evangelicals, honoring our differences but inviting them into prayer and conversation.

9 comments:

Grigs said...

With all due respect, evangelicals have always endorsed the historicity of Adam and it was the mainline church who were open to conversation with science and modernism. The actions of many independants who call themselves evangelicals are theologically no different except on Church polity than the modernists of the early 20th century. RTS is not fundamentally an evangelical institution but rather it is a broad Reformed seminary featuring several campuses. It is held accountable to the Concensus of the Histoirc Refomred Confessions. I do not see the break up of evangelicalism rather I see many more persons who grew up in it and think of them selves as evangelicals for sociological reasons abbandoning the historic evangelical doctrines for the same old liberalism. The Mainline thought they were 'gravitating toward engagement with the outside world, the larger church, and scientific concensus''in the 30s-50s by the world council of churches and look how glorious it is now. The descendants of those who resisted back in the 50s and 70s are fighting the same battle over Christianity and liberalism and because there is less cultural desire to be known as Christian it is understandable that numbers will go down.

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Chris Ayers said...

Amen!

Richmonde said...

Blogger is throwing a lot of Xtn blogs at me today - passing on them all but yours! Keep fighting the good fight for engagement and social justice!

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Philip G said...

How can anyone believe in the literal interpretation Adam and Eve unless they are prepared to throw science and reason out of the window? It's mad enough that people think they have a relationship with cod, the creator. Come on do you really think that the guy that made all this would want to talk to you or consider your pathetic prayers? Such arrogance.

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