Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Defining an Evangelical!

What Makes Evangelicalism Evangelical? A New Book Joins the Argument:

Dr. Mohler  delineates that there is a new position what is Evangelicalism which in the end is liberalism by another name - Reformist or Revisionist Evangelicals.


The evangelical movement in America emerged in the twentieth century as conservative Protestants sought to perpetuate an intentional continuity with biblical Christianity. While the roots of the movement can be traced through centuries prior to its emergence in twentieth century America, its organizational shape appeared mainly in the years after World War II. And, as anyone who considers the movement with a careful eye understands, evangelical definition has been a central preoccupation of the movement from the moment of its inception.

The word “evangelical” long predates the coalescence of the evangelical coalition of the last century. The word has been applied to Methodism in the eighteenth century, to nonconformists and low church Protestants in Great Britain in the nineteenth century, and to a host of groups, churches, and movements ever since. As early as the nineteenth century, frustration and confusion arose over the use and misuse of the term. The seventh Earl of Shaftesbury expressed the late-nineteenth century frustration when he declared, “I know what constituted an evangelical in former times . . . I have no clear notion what constitutes one now.”
In this light, one is tempted to identify with the late Justice Potter Stewart, who during deliberations of the U. S. Supreme Court in a 1964 case concerning pornography, simply declared: “I know it when I see it.” Keep Reading

Dr. Mohler looks at a definition of Evangelicalism in three senses:
  1. historical, 
  2. phenomenological, and 
  3. normative 
In another article Mohler defines some of the essential evangelical frame work in saying: 
But the founders of the evangelical movement sought only to defend the crucial doctrines of biblical inerrancy and infallibility, the plenary verbal inspiration of the Scriptures, the Nicaean and Chalcedonian consensus on Christology, the substitutionary character of Christ’s atonement, and the entire structure of the classical Christian tradition. They saw themselves as protecting this doctrinal inheritance from marginalization on the right and from accommodation on the left. They feared that fundamentalism was fighting over many of the wrong issues even as the liberals were tearing down the house.
In this 2nd article - A New Third Way? Reformist Evangelicals and the Evangelical future - Mohler describes these reformist Evangelicals (not to be confused in any way with Reformed Christianity) as those who are raising the questions of evangelical identity anew in a form of Protestant Liberalism or at least sub-evangelical.  Men such as Clark Pennock, Stanley Grentz, and Rodger Olson have and/or are calling for forming a new center for evangelical theology.

It is helpful to always define our terms and I pray as I read this book (see above) it will be beneficial in defining Evangelism today!  It will be helpful to read directly from opposing viewpoints in this important debate.

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