I have a disclaimer to make, I’ve been working on these posts for the past week, and as of last night I’ve had to rewrite and change course for this discussion. This is largely due to a conversation that I had with two good friends James Pitts and Kent Davis Sensenig. Because of this conversation, I’ve reframed my initial intent.
Who is Evangelical?
Big ‘E’ evangelicalism is as elusive a term as there can be. Many churches and church organizations have it in their titles but if you asked the people of those church communities few would be able to tell you want it means. Most independent non-denominational churches are Evangelical, but many denominational churches are as well. It is a large category that encompasses people from the super large purpose driven??? mega-churches to the small Independent, Fundamentalist, KJV only??? churches. It also contains within its walls Christians as conservative as Pat Robertson and as socially conscious as Jim Wallis.
I am not sure where I fall, nor do think it matters all that much, in the Evangelical rubric, but I can affectionately repeat what Brian McLaren says about Evangelicalism in his book A Generous Orthodoxy,
Big E Evangelical refers to a segment of the church that I love and from which I hail, but which I don’t thin I understand so much anymore, and in which I may no actually be wanted anymore (116).???
I must confess I personally have grown weary from the many constraints of theological assumptions that make up much of the Evangelical movement, and I agree with a number of scholars that many of those presuppositions and its core values have limited the work of the Church. But still I recognize that I am within the Evangelical umbrella of the church and have chosen to remain there for the time being. And because of this its important to be able to constructively critique what lays before us.
Continue reading What Evangelicalism is: Part II