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« A Just Claim | Main | Relativism: Alive & Well »

May 08, 2008

Comments

>>Denominations are good things, though, for a number of reasons,>>

I know this site is not necessarily for inter-denominational dialogue, but I do have a serious objection to this statement. Surely, the fact that Christians are separated contradicts the prayer of Jesus, the nature of Truth, and the goal of Christian evangelization. Unless by denominationalism we mean differences in the expression ("accidentals") of shared essentials ("substance"). But this is not the case. Different Christian denominations believe different "essentials". The scandal of denominations is a serious issue for us at Christians.

Well, to be fair to the writers of the document, they explicitly state that they do not speak for all evangelicals. Here is part of what they say on page two:

"Evangelicals have no supreme leader or official spokesperson, so no one speaks for all Evangelicals, least of all those who claim to. We speak for ourselves, but as a representative group of Evangelicals in America."

I support Greg Koukl as the new evangelical pope! That should solve a few problems.

:)

I'm puzzled by what those who drafted and signed the document expected the document to achieve. It's a blip in the news cycle, and then will be forgotten. It breaks no new ground, and does not bring clarity to anything. Those who signed the document were less political to begin with. They do not speak for those who ARE political, nor will they change the behavior of those who are political.

And why on earth did it take THREE YEARS to write this thing ? There is nothing original, creative, or distinctive about this document. A decent marketing firm could have done it in 3 days - with better results.

Intentions may have been good on this, but wisdom went out the window. A genuine fiasco.

Melinda, what you didn't say is _why_ people identify more as "evangelical" and less with denominations that you can actually "join."

Arguably, many of the mainline denominations have been systematically taken over by elements interested in watering down the theology and turning the church into a mere service organization. Anybody can start a new chapter of the Lions Club. But only the church can preach the gospel.

So I imagine many people are comfortable with being under the nebulous "evangelical" umbrella, precisely because there's no official national church body to commandeer. Once bitten, twice shy...

You know, I'm not sure I have a clear idea of what evangelicalism is. Every time somebody has tried to explain it to me, it's always been a little different, and it's always been a little nebulous. I've been reading "Total Truth" by Nancy Pearcy lately, and she has three chapters on it. That's about the clearest explanation I've ever heard, but I'm still not sure I have a good grasp. Maybe it's just one of those words that's almost impossible to define precisely. But from reading Nancy Pearcy's book, I've begun to think that I am probably not an evangelical. I don't know, though.

"Every time somebody has tried to explain it to me, it's always been a little different, and it's always been a little nebulous."

That's because Evangelicalism isn't a movement; it's a conversation.

Denominations are good things?

I would support Greg Koukl for new evangelical pope if there were an old evangelical pope. :-)

I think it is a well-crafted statement, signed by many Christians I deeply respect. It is interesting to note that neither the study guide nor the manifesto contrasts Evangelicalism with Catholicism or Eastern Orthodoxy, though it is contrasted with theological liberalism.

If you read the manifesto carefully, it seems to have been deeply influenced by JP II's Encyclicals Fides et Ratio and Evangelium Vitae. The emphasis on theology as knowledge and the importance of the common good and the sanctity of life are virtually absent from pre-JP II Evangelicalism. Given some of the signatories--Mouw, T. George, D. Willard--this does not surprise me.

FJB

Frank, I agree with everything you've said except for the "deep respect" bit. Amazing.

"It is interesting to note that neither the study guide nor the manifesto contrasts Evangelicalism with Catholicism or Eastern Orthodoxy, though it is contrasted with theological liberalism."

In some places it seems as though the "door" was intentionally left open. Looks like you guys are winning this one!

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