Evangelicalism: After Falwell?

MSNBC is running a story on what Evangelicalism will look like after Falwell. You can join in the discussion over at Christdot. I have a few thoughts on the MSNBC story.

First, I think the author of the article confuses things. Evangelicalism™ was never really a cohesive unit. In my earlier years I would have counted myself among the evangelical sphere. However, I never would have seen Falwell as on the same page as me. Now, as time has gone on Evangelicalism™ has turned into more of a specific theological and political ideology. However that doesn’t mean that it was always that way. Even in its current state of being, which tends to exclude those who disagree with certain of their ideas, it is hardly a cohesive unit. I know plenty of people who would happily call themselves evangelicals who disagreed quite vehemently with Falwell on a variety of issues. Now, it is interesting because the author calls the movement “headless” which seems to get at the heart of things a bit more.

Second, the article cites some interesting statistics regarding younger evangelicals. It seems to paint the picture that younger evangelicals are more concerned with social issues and are ready to overlook, or at least not dwell on, issues such as homosexuality or abortion. I find that quite fascinating. I have wondered at times if the Emerging Conversation is really just growing out of Evangelicalism™. I’ve come to the conclusion that it might be in part, but not in whole since many are coming to the conversation from within the mainline denominations. Nevertheless, the statistics on younger evangelicals interest me. What will Evangelicalism™ look like in twenty years? Will there be Evangelicalism™ in twenty years? If there isn’t I’m fairly sure that it will have less to do with one person passing on (a la Falwell) and more to do with the younger generation taking the spotlight, and by extension, control.

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