Younger Evangelicals and Orthodoxy

Although I despise labels, the best one for me might well be “younger evangelical,” depending on how one defines that phrase. There is a very interesting post over at Jesus Creed that Scot has posted from one of his readers. Although the entire post is worth reading, one bit in particular struck me as exceptionally helpful:

I was a little distracted, though, by the continued use in Finding Faith, Losing Faith of the qualifier “orthodox” for “Christianity.” In my own case, I find that I’m moving towards a Christian “orthodoxy” that is more “generous” to borrow a perhaps worn-out phrase. So I can’t really use the word “inerrancy” easily anymore, I’m not sure what parts of the Bible’s protohistory are simply “historical,” and I’m not willing to opine with any certainty about exactly how or exactly whom God will save in Christ (though “in Christ” remains central). Yet I’ll happily confess the Apostles’ Creed. I think there are many, many folks like me, many of whom stay in evangelical churches and try to adopt an “emerging” or “missional” attitude, others who end up in ELCA, PCUSA, Episcopal, and other “mainline” churches — and many I gather who teach at “moderate” evangelical seminaries like Fuller and Regent College.

I could have written that paragraph. To be fair, I haven’t read that particular book of Scot’s yet (how can one, when one is knee deep in Sivan’s Ugaritic grammar?), but the sentiments remain the same. What constitutes “evangelical Christianity?” In my background, if you didn’t vote Republican and believe in a pre-millennial, pre-tribulational rapture you most certainly weren’t headed for heaven (which is, in and of itself, a misunderstanding of Salvation in my opinion). I obviously don’t agree with those sentiments anyway. I can, as the reader quoted above, fully affirm the Apostle’s and Nicene creeds. But words such as “inerrancy” make me a bit nervous. Trying to read the Bible as a history or science textbook, instead of as Holy Scripture makes me even more nervous.

On the other hand, I still fully affirm those statements of faith that the broader Christian community affirms. I also have opinions on other, more minute points of doctrine–though I don’t think they are worth separating from other Christians over. At the end of the day, I wonder where exactly it is that “moderate” (?) evangelicals such as myself end up. Life I suppose, will be an adventure.


2 thoughts on “Younger Evangelicals and Orthodoxy

  1. David, that’s fascinating! I didn’t realize that it was you, I actually didn’t even have any inkling. But I do empathize very much. As I said in the post–I could have written that paragraph, more or less.

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