Thursday, November 17, 2016

...and for the evangelicals

About 15 years back, I had the privilege of reading The Coming Evangelical Crisis, in which a number of evangelical scholars--among them many of the men described by the FBFI as "convergent"--noted then-current challenges in evangelical theology.  My pastor at the time noted that it was drift that was predictable given the origins of evangelicals.

Those origins, for the uninitiated, are more or less that after World War Two, many fundamentalists like Billy Graham started to move away from things like secondary separation (separating from those who refuse to separate from theological error) and the kind of cultural rules I mentioned in this post.  If you've been a part of a local nondemoninational church, you've been part of this movement, and if you have, one thing you'll note is that in practice, most evangelicals don't take that much advantage of the emancipation from cultural rules. 

What they did do, however, was to get their colleges accredited and start producing earned doctorates, more or less trying to keep the theological fundamentals while walking away from....let's face it, some public behavior and odd separation that had just gotten embarrassing. 

So what's the rub, one might ask?  Well, in my view, evangelicals got "accredited", but without learning the tools of self-defense from those in the academy who would take advantage of them, and the result is predictable.  Too many evangelicals are giving up not only the culture, but also the theology, and in their interactions with their fundamental brothers, they're still stuck in many of the same bad habits.  You'll see this quite a bit in the "worship wars" about music in the church.

The way out, and really for both warring parties, is really to follow the evangelicals, but to take the move back to the academy seriously enough to know that the people of the Word (logos) might do well to learn how to handle words in logic and rhetoric. 

In other words, we ought to return not to the academy of the modern era, but rather that of the Middle Ages and Renaissance.  You'll get the knack of "angels dancing on the head of a pin" soon enough.


Hearth said...

Yes. We need more academic rigor. The love bit? CC has the love bit down. Solid preaching of the Word? Check. Listening to the Spirit? Check. Rigor and history? Um....

Bike Bubba said...

The one thing I'd add, sister, is that as pastors start to get academic and logical rigor, you might just find that the solid preaching doesn't sound quite so solid anymore. Evangelical sob stories will disappear from preaching, genetic fallacies will go away, and more.

Hearth said...

The benefit of CC is that Chuck left the "non-denomination" with the habit of preaching nearly entirely verse-by-verse through the Bible. So, the preaching is very, very solid. But not historical. We're a newbie Christian destination, and I think that affects the result.