According to some Christian outlooks we were made for another world. Perhaps, rather, we were made for this world to recreate, reclaim, redeem, and renew unto God's future aspiration by the power of His Spirit. - R.E. Slater
Secularization theory has been massively falsified. We don't live in an age of secularity. We live in an age of explosive, pervasive religiosity... an age of religious pluralism. - Peter L. Berger
Exploring the edge of life and faith in a post-everything world. - Todd Littleton
I don't need another reason to believe, your love is all around for me to see. – anon
Thou art our need; and in giving us more of thyself thou givest us all. - Khalil Gibran, Prayer XXIII
Be careful what you pretend to be. You become what you pretend to be. - Kurt Vonnegut
Religious beliefs, far from being primary, are often shaped and adjusted by our social goals. - Jim Forest
People, even more than things, need to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone. – anon
Certainly God's love has made fools of us all. - R.E. Slater
An apocalyptic Christian faith doesn't wait for Jesus to come, but for Jesus to become in our midst. - R.E. Slater
Christian belief in God begins with the cross and resurrection of Jesus, not with rational apologetics. - Eberhard Jüngel, Jürgen Moltmann
Our knowledge of God is through the 'I-Thou' encounter, not in finding God at the end of a syllogism or argument. There is a grave danger in any Christian treatment of God as an object. The God of Jesus Christ and Scripture is irreducibly subject and never made as an object, a force, a power, or a principle that can be manipulated. - Emil Brunner
Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh means "I will be that who I have yet to become." - God (Ex 3.14)
Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. - Thomas Merton
The church is God's world-changing social experiment of bringing unlikes and differents to the Eucharist/Communion table to share life with one another as a new kind of family. When this happens we show to the world what love, justice, peace, reconciliation, and life together is designed by God to be. The church is God's show-and-tell for the world to see how God wants us to live as a blended, global, polypluralistic family united with one will, by one Lord, and baptized by one Spirit. – anon
The cross that is planted at the heart of the history of the world cannot be uprooted. - Jacques Ellul
The Unity in whose loving presence the universe unfolds is inside each person as a call to welcome the stranger, protect animals and the earth, respect the dignity of each person, think new thoughts, and help bring about ecological civilizations. - John Cobb & Farhan A. Shah
If you board the wrong train it is of no use running along the corridors of the train in the other direction. - Dietrich Bonhoeffer
God's justice is restorative rather than punitive; His discipline is merciful rather than punishing; His power is made perfect in weakness; and His grace is sufficient for all. – anon
Our little [biblical] systems have their day; they have their day and cease to be. They are but broken lights of Thee, and Thou, O God art more than they. - Alfred Lord Tennyson
We can’t control God; God is uncontrollable. God can’t control us; God’s love is uncontrolling! - Thomas Jay Oord
Life in perspective but always in process... as we are relational beings in process to one another so life events are in process in relation to each event... as God is to Self, is to world, is to us... like Father, like sons and daughters, like events... life in process yet always in perspective. - R.E. Slater

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Scot McKnight's Review of Molly Worthen's "The Apostles of Reason"

Liberation Themes among Evangelicals
by Scot McKnight
December 6, 2013
“The culture wars, of the late twentieth century began, in part,” Molly Worthen contends, “as a civil war within evangelicalism” (177). So she states in her study of the “gospel of liberation” among evangelicals in her fine study, Apostles of Reason. In the 1960s some American evangelicals looked to the church’s precedents in dealing with the social tensions at work in American society. Two points: (1) “left”-leaning thinkers found resources in the martyr tradition, in the Reformation models of communes to the social welfare pushes of the 19th Century. (2) “Right”-leaning thinkers saw in these proposals traitors to the tradition while the leftists saw the rightists as caving into modernity. There the culture began.
To be sure, 19th Century Evangelicalism was a coalition, and one of the themes was social progress and justice for all. But the rise of the social gospel pressed conservative evangelicals into less social engagement, but connect this to burgeoning interests in the Second Coming [of Jesus] and dispensational thinking and the culture war of the American church took on potent significance.
In 1960, at the NAE meeting, these social issues were at the front: communism, the RC situation, IRS pressure on ministers who preached politics, providing alcohol on planes, and Hollywood’s attacks on evangelicalism (Elmer Gantry). It cared about relief in the world for starvation but did not concern itself with racism or systemic approaches to poverty. Patriotism was important.
But there were some more social-conscience evangelicals, like TB Matson, JB Weatherspoon, Richard Caemmerer, Vernon Grounds, Richard Pierard, Timothy Smith, and David Moberg. Politicians like John B. Anderson and Mark Hatfield broke ranks. Sherwood Wirt’s work belongs here too.
This gave rise to what many call the “young evangelicals.” Richard Quebedeaux was a leading story-teller of this new movement of socially active evangelicalism. It gave rise to Jim Wallis and, in my view, Wallis has carried the banner for this view since the 1960s — 50 years of relentless pressing of evangelicalism to see the social implications of the message of Jesus. He tried to gain a voice in Christianity Today but the editors saw too much politics in Wallis, so he began The Post-American and then Sojourners. They moved to DC and the rest is the story many today already know.
Alongside this theme of social or economic liberation was evangelical feminism. The story is known, too, but hierarchicalism ruled evangelicalism in many ways — Phyllis Schlafly, Beverly LaHaye, and submission [issues], etc. Churches reflected the same. Then came Nancy Hardesty and Letha Scanzoni’s powerful and epoch-changing book All We’re Meant to Be : from sexuality to ministry. Lucille Sider Dayton created Daughters of Sarah , and Paul Jewett at Fuller… and before long turbulence within was interpreted as coming from without.
Then some evangelicals advocated for supporting McGovern… a movement that led to the famous Chicago Declaration for Evangelical Social Concern, which tried to form more consensus across the spectrum and sought to address social issues, and this led both to a major statement and to an eventual unraveling based on identity politics. (This story has been told very well by David Swartz, Moral Minority .)
Theologically, Fuller becomes more the center of the story: George Ladd’s protests against dispensational eschatology, Geoffrey Bromiley’s translation and teaching of Karl Barth, the use of Bonhoeffer among many (it was at that time that I too found Bonhoeffer) … all leading to a bit of a revival of the anabaptist viewpoint among evangelicals.
Molly Worthen’s book, I am suggesting, will become a potential watershed in that she has revealed why the coalition mindset that many of us want-and-believe-in struggles to find genuine centrality among evangelicals because the gatekeepers would prefer less diversity at the table while also wanting the numbers for support in the movement.

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