Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Evangelicalism's Terminal Generation

Southern Baptist theologian and seminary president Dr. Al Mohler is someone for whom I have a great deal of respect. His blog is linked over to the right in my "links" section. However, I wanted to direct attention to a recent post of Dr. Mohler's regarding the state of evangelicalism today. This column is worth reading and pondering. The evangelical movement has been at a crossroads for some time, and I think we're nearing the breaking point where we have to decide whether we're going to maintain biblical fidelity or go the way of the mainlines.


lee n. field said...

A wider and longer perspective would be helpful. The collapse of the US-ian evangelical puffball would not be the end of the church.

I have many thoughts on this, that usually come out as rants that my wife tolerates. Alas, the time for me to go off and slave for Pharaoh approaches. More, and better articulated comments later.

lee n. field said...

Mohler's piece is a repeat from 2004.

More such: Sinclair Ferguson "Medieval Mistakes", on the similarities between contemporary evangelicalism and the late medieval RC church.

Ready for about 3 weeks worth of reading? Books on this subject have been published (that I have read) in the last year alone: David Wells The Courage to be Protestant, Michael Horton, Christless Christianity (not strictly evangelicalism), Julia Duin Quitting Church (good anecdotal recounting, appalling recommendations.), and most recently Warren Cole Smith, A Lover's Quarrel with the Evangelical Church ("Christian Industrial Complex"? -- you know of what he speaks). This is becoming practically it's own genre.

"We should be very concerned about certain trends in contemporary evangelicalism that threaten this integrity. The first is an ominous confusion about the Gospel itself. The heart of the Gospel is the objective truth that Christ died for sinners, and that salvation is by grace alone through faith in Christ--alone. The cardinal doctrine of justification by faith is, as Martin Luther warned, "the article by which the church stands or falls.""

America has a national myth that we loudly tell ourselves and the world, that we are wondrously, gloriously free. Never mind that we are less so all the time.

I think, evangelicalism has an a similar internal myth. We believe, because we are evangelicals, that we have a good handle on the gospel. I suspect, at this time, that it is simply not so.

One of the things I listen to regularly is the White Horse Inn podcast. One of the things they do regularly is have their producer Shane Rosenthal go to Christian venues with a microphone and recorder, and ask basic questions about the Christian faith. A couple years ago they did one (I think this is it, worth a listen.), where Shane asked "What is the gospel." Very, very few of the answers got anywhere near Jesus crucified and rising from the dead.

Randy said...

Dr. Mohler's message was right on target. It hits a home run. Now, if everyone would embrace it we'd be better off.