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Grand Rapids, MI

Embarking Blog

...on the journey towards restoration of all things

The Future of Evangelicalism 7

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So, here's the first picture.  I'm sure I'll create another one.  The idea here is that the middle represents a centered set of core evangelical beliefs, cradled in the larger bosom of Christianity as a whole - represented by the pentagon (oh, should've made that 7-sided!)  There are 5 representative streams of evangelicalism here that represent a different "bounded" set of denomination/ community/ historical beliefs.  These might be, for instance, Baptist, Reformed, Methodist, Pentecostal, and Anglican or something like that (there are many streams, of course).  What this picture misses is a couple of things:

  1. I don't like how the picture intimates that, for instance, the orange group of evangelicals, by being closer to the center, are somehow more orthodox.  I don't mean to imply that, but didn't know how else to draw it.  I would interpret this to mean that all 5 streams are equally valid as evangelical communities of faith, but who interpret Scripture somewhat differently and have some differing doctrinal, practical, or theological beliefs - but that these are secondary. 
  2. The pastor friend I mentioned drew a picture with people who were either approaching the center or moving away from it.  He pondered whether orthodoxy could be defined based upon which way they were pointed, not how close they were to the center.  This reminds me of the biblical meaning of "repent" as "turning" Godward and changing direction.  I like that idea, that the "lines"  of "in" and "out" don't matter as much as which direction you're heading, or your bearing. (I think some of this idea for him came from Brian McLaren if I remember correctly, from a book i never read.)
  3. It also missing a kind of blurry edge.  If you would take all of these 5 potentially faithful evangelical streams, the things all 5 agree on are numerous, even if 2 or three agree on some different things and disagree with others.

evangelical-centered-set.jpg


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