So twice today I've been sucked into this story, summed up here on Out of Ur:
Evangelicalism is dead.
I say "yeah!"
The first conversation started with my friend Becki on Facebook. She linked to the Christian Science Monitor article mentioned on the Out of Ur blog. To be fair, it's a good article, but as the 3.5 of you who read this blog know, I've called myself post-evangelical for several years now. The death of Evangelicalism happened awhile back, so that's what I said in reply to her post.
I would suggest that Evangelicalism is already dead. Mostly because of #1 on this guy's list. And I think it needs to lay down in the casket, personally. What remains will be precisely those who truly follow Jesus. Me
She responded well: Merriam Webster defines Evangelical: of, relating to, or being in agreement with the Christian gospel especially as it is presented in the four Gospels, emphasizing salvation by faith in the atoning death of Jesus Christ through personal conversion, the authority of Scripture, and the importance of preaching as contrasted with ritual.By the definition above, it could also be said it is a sad day that it is dead and I would say that #2 played more of a roll in it. Had it stayed true to it's definition and remained about the authority of Scripture and Apostolic preaching of the Gospel that confronted people with what the the death of Jesus on the Cross represents and confronted with what their sin caused and its significance then there would be far less people dying and going to hell. Congregations big/small, church building/home churches, it doesn't matter, they are full of people are unconverted believers (of what they have been told and its not the gospel).
This is somewhat true, but not totally in my opinion. Here's my last entry on her comment page:
The word Evangelical is dead, what ole Merriam says (was she Daniel's wife?) is the definition of Evangelical was really a follower of Jesus, and those have been around for awhile now, and will continue to be around until he comes back. I guess they'll be around after that too, come to think of it. This is the problem with much of our vocabulary and even our ideas as followers of Jesus. We have words to describe something that is complex, but eventually if we're not careful we end up fighting for the word and not for the concept. Words like Trinity, incarnation, atonement, and Evangelical (and some day, the phrase "follower of Jesus") are used to describe complex theological thoughts and truths, but we begin to believe more in the use of the word than the truth it reflects. Words become litmus tests of who is in or out.Evangelicalism is dead. Long live the evangelical.
What an Evangelical truly was, when the word was originally coined, is not dead. Just the hollow shell that it had become. Let's let that shell die. It deserves to die. What rises in it's place--really what has been there in the midst of it all along--is authentic regenerated followers of Jesus.