Introduction to Evangelical Futures

There once was a thing called evangelicalism (or Evangelicalism, maybe?)  Now it is no longer there.  Or maybe it still is – or never was.  These things are confusing, being debated even among theologians and sociologists who dedicate their lives to studying them.

But as Scot McKnight indicates, something seems to be shifting; while the old coalition or consensus between moderately conservative Wesleyans and Calvinists in the United States (the neo-Evangelical movement associated with the National Association of Evangelicals and with such figures as Billy Graham) is possibly eroding, a myriad of smaller and more defined (though even more loosely organized) groups are replacing it.  Or are they?

On a slightly different note, someone like Phil Johnson can ask “whither evangelicalism?” and forcibly lament its turn away from a Reformed and fundamentalist perspective, even to the extent that the “movement” was aligned in that direction.  From a more academic angle, David Wells has diagnosed evangelical theology (at both academic and ecclesial levels) with an aversion to truth in favor of relativism that has much in common with American culture.

With a less polemical perspective, Michael Spencer has pointed to what he sees as the imminent demise of evangelicalism demographically-speaking.  Like many before him, he sees secularization as a coming reality.  And recent numbers from the Southern Baptist Convention evidence declining membership and spiraling attendance, to say nothing of the utter collapse of Sunday School programs.  Oh yes, and Patrol Magazine says that we’ve already talked too much about something that is dead – “definitional masturbation,” they call the latest efforts to define “evangelicalism.”

So what is happening?  Is this a rebirth?  Are evangelicals moving toward newer or better things?  Is there still such a thing as “evangelicalism” as a coherent entity?

By foraying into news and history alike, this group blog hopes to pursue these questions from a multiplicity of angles.  From their various perspectives, the contributors hope to paint pictures of possible evangelical futures, presenting information that points in one direction or the other, debating what is happening and what should happen with whatever this thing called evangelicalism is.

Although many are pursuing similar projects, this blog hopes to bring relative youth to the table as an advantage of sorts; while we may not be the most knowledgeable in every area, we do share a common history of being part of the newest generation of evangelical (or post-evangelical) young adults.  But we are not necessarily “emerging” (any more than we are necessarily evangelical).  For the most part, we are just trying to figure out what is going on.  And we hope that you will join us in this endeavor, as we explore possible evangelical futures.

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  • By Announcing a New Blog « Medieval Leftist on August 8, 2010 at 5:07 am

    […] neo-evangelicalism has dissolved into something other than itself), you might want to check out the introduction/manifesto post on the […]

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