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Not long ago I posted on the loss of the evangelical soul, a post in part stimulated by the tone of conversations I am witnessing on FB. Everybody’s a prophet these days and thinks so because, so they think, they are speaking truth to power. They’re not. They’re yelling in a barrel full of self-appointed prophets.
Today’s post moves into signs of evangelicalism’s demise. Let’s get the standard definition of evangelicalism on the table first: an evangelical is committed to these four elements: the Bible, the cross as the place of atonement, the necessity of personal conversion, and an active Christian life both in missions/evangelism as well as justice, peace and reconciliation. On top of this, evangelicalism is non-denominational and cross-denominational. For one very good sketch of evangelicalism, I recommend David Bebbington, The Dominance of Evangelicalism. For a more intra-mural debate, Four Views on the Spectrum of Evangelicalism.
Elements - Folks - Evangelicalism - Politics - Way
Those four elements are crumbling, folks, they are crumbling. It’s not that evangelicalism has been yet again swamped by politics and lost its way. Rather, it is swamped by politics because those four elements are crumbling. Bible and theology are of little interest other than an odd Bible citation to prop up a claim. Small groups read books by well-known authors, rarely are they studies on a single book of the Bible (publishers aren’t selling these as well today), far too many of its most prominent theologians write books unanchored in Scripture and they do not begin with sketches of the Bible.
The most prominent example of this diminishment of Bible is the routine shrug of the shoulders with respect to creeds, confessions and theological claims. It may be the 500th anniversary of the Reformation but what was most central about the Reformation was not Luther, Calvin, and Erasmus but Bible, Bible, Bible. I read...
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Never under estimate the power of the people, especially when they are a stupid mass!