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Source: (consider it) Thread: The Evangelical Worldview
mr cheesy
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To resolve the derailing of another thread, I'm trying to move a discussion here which revolves around various points with regard to Evangelicals.

These include:

  • that Evangelicals are a kind of default "bad guy" on these boards
  • that Evangelical ideas are not taken seriously by other parts of the church
  • that Evangelicals are true inheritors of Luther's ideas

It is a bit of a rag-bag of thoughts, and I've already said what I think on some of them, in particular that I think there is a form of anti-Evangelical bias in the discussions here.

But I'm also interested to continue with this discussion as to what exactly an Evangelical is. I've been living in this worldview for a long time, so it also surprises me to learn that Lutherans, Prebyterians and others do not consider themselves Evangelicals - and it is no surprise to me that Evangelicals might consider them to be Evangelical brethren.

As I've said previously, I think the one defining thing about Evangelical ideas is the way that new terms are invented and old words are reused in different ways. So it isn't any great surprise to me to see that the way that Evangelicals see the world is quite different to everyone else - even those who (maybe naively) one assumes are theologically close.

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overheard on a Welsh bus-stop: Jesus don't care about you, he's only interested in your soul

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mark_in_manchester

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I could perhaps offer a view from inside and outside the tent!

When I met (mostly free-church) Christian Union students at University nearly 30 years ago, an Evangelical *was* a Christian - formally someone serious about the primacy of scripture, but behind that also someone for whom that primacy had brought them down to a set of beliefs (about conversion, atonement, the role of women etc) which it was assumed the Spirit would bring anyone to, who was serious about the authority of the bible. Other interpretations were 'unsound' (not un-evangelical). As a cradle Methodist I was viewed with some suspicion, despite my denomination's high view of biblical authority - not least because I was assumed to be Arminian, which, once I found out what that was, turned out to be true enough.

Now I hang with RCs sometimes, for whom the term 'evangelical' can sometimes be synonymous with 'schismatic' - someone who has rejected the full revelation (including the authority of the traditions) of the Church. This seems funny to me sometimes, as we meet for bible study and they approach scripture in the same way as those CU people all those years ago, splitting hairs around grammatical points in an English translation, just-really prayers, the lot.

If another Christian says something to me about God with which I disagree, I am likely to think (and probably say) 'what about that bit when it says...' - and go off to read the passage. For me, that makes me evangelical. My RC friends do that too, but their definition of 'unsound' comes from a different place as my reformed student friends.

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"We are punished by our sins, not for them" - Elbert Hubbard
(so good, I wanted to see it after my posts and not only after those of shipmate JBohn from whom I stole it)

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Martin60
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Legalistic, as close to literal as you can get and as close to now as then as you can get with no tradition beyond that.

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Love wins

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Snags
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I suspect this will be about as easy as defining what an Anglican is, and hoping to encompass all Anglicans within that simple definition [Smile]

I think there's certainly a popular perception of Evangelical increasingly meaning a somewhat strident, right-wing, conservative person who believes in the "clear meaning of scripture" (sic). This is in large part fueled by what we see reported in the media, either from the USA or our home-grown variety where to be newsworthy it's either someone in the established church being a bit wet, or it's an 'Evangelical' being a bit mad, shouty, and homophobic (or presented as such).

However, I don't think that's what it means on the inside. It certainly doesn't fit the Evangelical church that I grew up in, or others that I have attended. They would see it more in line with the Bebbington Quadrilateral, and that those elements are in no way incompatible (quite the opposite) with care, compassion, empathy, gentleness, social action, love, acceptance and increasingly an accepting view regarding homosexual relationships etc. etc.

But ... I also know that many who are, effectively, evangelical no longer feel wildly happy with the tag, because of the whole shouty, right-wing, placard-waving, bull-horn using perception.

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beatmenace
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quote:
Originally posted by Snags:
But ... I also know that many who are, effectively, evangelical no longer feel wildly happy with the tag, because of the whole shouty, right-wing, placard-waving, bull-horn using perception.

That will be me then.

"I'm not THAT kind of Evangelical".

See also "I'm not THAT kind of Charismatic".

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"I'm the village idiot , aspiring to great things." (The Icicle Works)

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Snags
Utterly socially unrealistic
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Indeed. I no longer have the first clue what label to use. Although it can make for some good conversations.

"You're religious aren't you?"
"Probably not in the way you mean ..."

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Vain witterings :-: Vain pretentions :-: The Dog's Blog(locks)

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Matt Black

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Far too generalistic a label to answer a question like that about it I'm afraid; rather like asking two Baptists the question "what is a Baptist" and getting three different answers!

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"Protestant and Reformed, according to the Tradition of the ancient Catholic Church" - + John Cosin (1594-1672)

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Gamaliel
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Good call, mr cheesy.

I think one of the issues here is that evangelicals assume that theirs is the default NT / biblical position and that it is therefore the normative one from which everyone else has departed at some point or other - be it after Constantine or Theodosius or in the 19th century with higher criticism.

If only everyone else approached the Bible the way they do then everyone else would come to the same conclusions as they do.

Consequently, as a GLE it came as a complete surprise to me to find that whole sections of Christendom didn't accept PSA, for example and that Reformed folk who were still quite conservative theologically, didn't consider themselves as evangelicals in what we might call the modern US sense.

I don't mean this as a side-swipe or to be disrespectful to evangelicals, but it's as if they regard themselves not as a subset or form of wider Protestantism but as somehow its purest and most biblically faithful form.

They may not express it that way it that's effectively where they're at and why they've set themselves up as some kind of unofficial orthodoxy.

Ok, it may well be that other forms of Protestant do the same, but however we cut it that seems to be the default evangelical position however ecumenical and eirenic they might be in practice.

It's by no means a unique position. I'm sure other small t traditions do the same.

Where it can get annoying is when it's allied to a kind of sanctimoniousness, a holier-than-thou attitude and a kind of blind-spot when it comes to acknowledging that their position is as much of a tradition as anyone else's and didn't tumble out of the NT fully formed.

Again, evangelicals aren't unique in that.

On the plus side, evangelicals do of course share the same over-lapping segments of the Venn diagram as all mainstream forms of Christianity and are distinguished by their activism, sense of mission and in getting things done.

Any concerns or misgivings I might otherwise have about evangelicalism as a tradition are balanced out by those caveats.

In essence, I believe the evangelicals do have something 'prophetic' on trust as it were for the rest of Christendom - 'repent and believe the Gospel.'

That's my two penn'orth.

I think mr cheesy's point is pertinent that evangelicals assume that their particular world view is THE one to have - but the devil, as always is in the detail.

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Praise the Lord for He is kind.

http://philthebard.blogspot.com

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SvitlanaV2
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quote:
Originally posted by mark_in_manchester:
As a cradle Methodist I was viewed with some suspicion, despite my denomination's high view of biblical authority - not least because I was assumed to be Arminian, which, once I found out what that was, turned out to be true enough.
[...]
If another Christian says something to me about God with which I disagree, I am likely to think (and probably say) 'what about that bit when it says...' - and go off to read the passage. For me, that makes me evangelical.

I'm fascinated by this desirability of the term evangelical.

Before coming to the Ship I don't think I'd realised that this was a term to be fought over, a tent under which so many were keen to shelter. It certainly wasn't a label that the Methodists I knew seemed to want. And I never heard the Pentecostals or Seventh Day Adventists in my family calling themselves evangelicals. (In their cultural setting I don't think the word has much meaning.)

My sense is that the decline of Christianity in the white Anglophone world has made most other Protestant identities more or less irrelevant, even more poorly defined, or just marginal. Hence all the clustering around the word evangelical, even among Christians who find it highly problematic.

This being the case, the cynic in me suspects that in the current climate the only thing better than being an evangelical is being a post-evangelical. Largely because it still includes the word evangelical! No other term has the same degree of cultural heft. And the problem appears to be more cultural than theological.

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Gamaliel
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I think there's something in that, SvitlanaV2 - plus the sense of a need to define and distinguish / differentiate oneself or one's tradition.

That's been going on since time immemorial. One could argue that Nicea, Chalcedon, Trent, Augsburg, Westminster, Savoy, The Lausanne Covenant and any number of macro and micro initiatives to concur and define are all part of the same kind of process.

A lot of it is to do with feeling threatened. Constantine felt uncomfortable with homogeneity. Quick, let's call a Council ...

Conservative Protestants felt threatened by modernism and liberalism. Quick, let's draw up a laager around 'The Fundamentals' ...

There's nothing wrong in any of that, but it's by the nature of these things to draw the line in ever-decreasing circles.

We're not happy with Inerrancy. Let's have Infallibility.

And on and on it goes.

But yes, I suspect the obsession in some quarters with who is or isn't an evangelical and what evangelicalism actually means / stands for - is predominantly a Western WASP thing ... White US, UK and Antipodean and Canadian evangelicals mostly.

It wouldn't even be as big a thing on the European continent. German and Scandinavian Lutherans, for instance, do seem particularly bothered about these issues.

It's a sectional, Anglophone concern that evangelicals, being evangelicals, are universalising and projecting onto everyone else.

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Let us with a gladsome mind
Praise the Lord for He is kind.

http://philthebard.blogspot.com

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Brenda Clough
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In the US the term 'evangelical' is now a stench in the nostrils. They were happy, nay charmed, to endorse a foul-mouthed pussygrabber for President. All their cries about how character was vital for a chief executive stands unmasked as balderdash, the most barefaced hypocrisy. The only hope for Christianity in this country now is to shed the polluted name and find some other term. I personally would avoid any church with that word in the name. It is the label for a whited sepulcher.

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Science fiction and fantasy writer with a Patreon page

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Baptist Trainfan
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In Britain, certainly groups like CICCU and the developing Inter-Varsity Fellowship in the 1920s were making a deliberate attempt to differentiate themselves from - and uphold a "more Biblical" approach than - those 'orrrible liberal folks in the Student Christian Movement.

Mind you, the SCM folks quite possibly felt themselves to be a cut superior to those non-rational, literalist and old-fashioned Evangelicals ...

Many years ago I was involved in a national Baptist committee which - for a specific legal reason which I don't need to go into - had to define the term "Evangelical". After several attempts we had still failed, so we took it to the Baptist Union Council. They couldn't come up with an answer either; but I do remember one person, better versed in church history than I, who thought that the use of the term in Baptist circles (i) had traditionally been used to define what it was "not" rather than what it "was"; and (ii) that it first came into use in order to set itself apart from the burgeoning Oxford Movement (though I can't for the life of me see why: the Baptists could never have been mistaken for Anglo-Catholics!)

[ 07. July 2017, 13:49: Message edited by: Baptist Trainfan ]

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Gamaliel
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Sorry, I meant to type 'don't' in relation to German and Scandinavian Lutherans.

As far as post-evangelicalism goes, I don't think the term holds a great deal of cachet anymore, if it ever did.

I certainly don't hear it as much now as I did 15 or 20 years ago.

The battle lines seem drawn around various Dead Horse issues these days and that applies right across the spectrum.

One could also argue that the word 'evangelical' should be reclaimed from the evangelicals.

Is it significant, I wonder, that my nearest Orthodox parish describes Orthodoxy as 'Catholic without being Roman Catholic, orthodox without being Jewish and evangelical without being Protestant'?

--------------------
Let us with a gladsome mind
Praise the Lord for He is kind.

http://philthebard.blogspot.com

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mousethief

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quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
Is it significant, I wonder, that my nearest Orthodox parish describes Orthodoxy as 'Catholic without being Roman Catholic, orthodox without being Jewish and evangelical without being Protestant'?

It means they like being cutesy, without being informative.

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God has shown me that I should not call any man impure or unclean. --Acts 10:28

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Gamaliel
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I suspect the fella in your story had in mind the formation of The Evangelical Alliance in the 1840s which arose in response to RC expansion following Catholic Emancipation in the late 1820s and also the growing shift towards 'Ritualism' among the Tractarian Anglicans who hadn't started out that way but we're beginning to faff around with lace and frills and with 'Popish' bowing and scraping ...

Don't forget that the large and very influential Brunswick Chapel in Leeds had split when an organ was introduced in the 1840s, the stalwart Wesleyans seeing this as a 'Romish' innovation ...

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Let us with a gladsome mind
Praise the Lord for He is kind.

http://philthebard.blogspot.com

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Gamaliel
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quote:
Originally posted by mousethief:
quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
Is it significant, I wonder, that my nearest Orthodox parish describes Orthodoxy as 'Catholic without being Roman Catholic, orthodox without being Jewish and evangelical without being Protestant'?

It means they like being cutesy, without being informative.
Ha ha. Informative enough for the priest to refer to me as an 'evangelical schismatic' in a sermon once but not informative enough to acknowledge that it was me that was being referred to when I challenged the priest afterwards - when his parishioners knew darn well that it was ...

--------------------
Let us with a gladsome mind
Praise the Lord for He is kind.

http://philthebard.blogspot.com

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Baptist Trainfan
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Well, this was how Bishop Ryle defined evangelicalism - in both positive and negative terms. But his basic tenet comes at the end; evangelicalism was not "Popish"! As Gamaliel has reminded us, the issues against which it defines itself today are likely to be several from the DH stable - although there is no consistency even there.

[ 07. July 2017, 14:20: Message edited by: Baptist Trainfan ]

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SvitlanaV2
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Gamaliel

I don't suppose 'post-evangelical' is particularly popular, no, but apart from 'ex-evangelical' what other desirable alternatives are there? The word 'evangelical' has to be in there because that's what so many American and British (etc.) Protestants want to hold on to, apparently.

Your Orthodox parish just sounds as if it wants to have its cake and eat it. It imagines it can appeal to everyone by claiming every label for itself. But I don't suppose many people are convinced. Well, I wouldn't be. However, I'm sure they're doing their best.

As for DH issues, some of them represent a big challenge in some congregations, and some don't. I should think many Christians are too busy keeping their churches ticking over, or managing their own spiritual lives, to worry about SSM, or what sex their clergy are, or other people's abortions, etc.

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Mudfrog
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The Salvation Army is a self-proclaimed evangelical movement.


quote:
The Salvation Army, an international movement, is an evangelical part of the universal Christian Church. Its message is based on the Bible. Its ministry is motivated by love for God. Its mission is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and meet human needs in his name without discrimination.
This is taken from a book by Former General, Shaw Clifton LLB, BDiv, AKC, PhD, entitled Who Are These Salvationists? - An Analysis for the 21st Century:

quote:
...(evangelicals) are united in the grand concepts of biblicism, conversionism, activism and crucicentrism. These four pillars characterise and sustain Salvationist Evangelicalism as we enter the twenty-first century. They will be needed at least as much tomorrow as they are today. Restated these four bastions of the evangelical wing of Christianity are:
- An insistence upon the Bible as the ultimate written authority for Christians.
- An emphasis upon and inner and personal (but never stereotypical) conversion experience.
- An explicit recognition of the need of active involvement in religious duties, in compassionate (but never patronising) social service and in wise social action for the eradication of injustices.
- An unfailing focus upon the redeeming work of Jesus on the cross of Calvary, without which there is no gospel.



[ 07. July 2017, 14:35: Message edited by: Mudfrog ]

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G.K. Chesterton

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mark_in_manchester

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quote:
I'm fascinated by this desirability of the term evangelical.

Amongst my more reformed friends, I think it meant 'Sound Christian' - and hence desirable. I still doubt that such a person would 'pass' me in that regard - but having lost my faith and found it again, slightly to my surprise I find I now have the kind of 'what does the bible say about this (and how on earth shall we interpret it)' impulse which I associated with the word when I first met it. With this in mind, I'm happy to own the term.

(Also I suppose I now have a lot more useful experience with where one can end up when 'let's not worry what the bible might or might not say about this' is the default position).

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"We are punished by our sins, not for them" - Elbert Hubbard
(so good, I wanted to see it after my posts and not only after those of shipmate JBohn from whom I stole it)

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wabale
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My nearest Christian bookshop is 20 miles away, and says over the shopfront: ‘Christian bookshop’. Nevertheless it’s not the sort of shop where you would find, say, a biography of the Pope: it was a pretty standard Evangelical bookshop in that respect. A few months ago I became increasingly curious about the shelf marked ‘Science’, and discovered that every single book on it was about Young Earth Creationism or Intelligent Design. When I asked why there were no books reconciling Creationism with Evolution, I was told by the shop assistant that this was shop policy, and she then proceeded to show me all the other materials they had on the subject, and I could see she was intending to convert me to ‘shop policy’. So I explained I had no problem myself with the concept of evolution but I would take the matter up with the shop owner, and added: ‘Well, we still worship the same Lord, don’t me?’ She made no reply but her look suggested she didn’t believe this was the case. I am not so concerned about what ‘Evangelical’ means as I am about our willingness to accept that Christians we disagree with are Christians, and in any case to be respected.
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Gamaliel
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A few observations ...

@SvitlanaV2, I not sure my nearest Orthodox parish is doing a good job. It's fairly invisible and suffers from acute convertitus.

I agree with Mousethief, it's being cutesy, latching onto a few stock phrases as if that's going to explain things. 'You've heard of Catholics, right? Well, we're sort of like that but not really. You may have heard the term Orthodox in relation to Jews. Well, we're not like that either ... We are evangelical in the sense that we believe in the Gospel and want to see people come to Christ, but not like those evangelical Protestants down the road ...'

To be fair, they have got their work cut out.

Where do you start? You have to use some reference points.

@Mudfrog, I quite like those Salvation Army definitions within their own terms of reference because they strike me as quite holistic.

--------------------
Let us with a gladsome mind
Praise the Lord for He is kind.

http://philthebard.blogspot.com

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Baptist Trainfan
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This video by David Coffey, describing the "tribes" of evangelicalism, is a bit out of date but still felevant I think. (and yes, I've read the book!)

[ 07. July 2017, 15:12: Message edited by: Baptist Trainfan ]

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SvitlanaV2
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quote:
Originally posted by mark_in_manchester:
I find I now have the kind of 'what does the bible say about this (and how on earth shall we interpret it)' impulse which I associated with the word when I first met it. With this in mind, I'm happy to own the term.

Of course, many Methodists would say they're also concerned with what the Bible has to say, and with trying to interpret it, without having any use for the term evangelical. Would you agree?

When it comes to those who make their living from religious matters, the label they give themselves must take on a more professional significance. And whole congregations presumably identify as evangelical because that helps them benefit from strong evangelical parachurch or ecumenical networks. Those networks dedicated to moderate or liberal Protestant Christianity are perhaps weaker in various ways.

quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
I not sure my nearest Orthodox parish is doing a good job. It's fairly invisible and suffers from acute convertitus.

[...]

To be fair, they have got their work cut out.

Where do you start? You have to use some reference points.

I was trying to be polite in that post, but at the back of my mind was the suspicion that if you try to please everyone you risk pleasing noone. So if I were looking for a church I'd be worried that a parish like the one you mentioned would be rather bland. (Although if they have a lot of converts then someone must find their style appealing.)

From my perspective as a complete outsider, 'Orthodox' is itself a reference point, but perhaps the fear is that the term is mostly unfamiliar to outsiders, and therefore needs to be attached to something that people will understand. Unfortunately, just picking a bunch of religious labels from other traditions looks derivative rather than comprehensive.

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Gamaliel
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Yes, I remember that. I still think it's broadly relevant but there have been some shifts and realignments.

The issue though, is the evangelical world-view. I'd suggest that there are swings and roundabouts and pros and cons with the world-view itself ... That's if we can even agree on what it consists of.

The pros, I'd suggest, are a commitment to the Gospel and to evangelism and activism as well as, in theory at least, serious engagement with scripture.

The cons?

Well, at the risk of being accepted of gratuitous side-swipes, I'd suggest a tendency to fundamentalism - hence the example of the reaction to evolution in the Christian bookshop cited here - an assumption that everyone should march to the same drum, sanctimoniousness, judgementalism and the inhabiting of an evangelical bubble.

Other traditions have their own equivalents of all of that.

--------------------
Let us with a gladsome mind
Praise the Lord for He is kind.

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Gamaliel
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quote:
Originally posted by SvitlanaV2:
quote:
Originally posted by mark_in_manchester:
I find I now have the kind of 'what does the bible say about this (and how on earth shall we interpret it)' impulse which I associated with the word when I first met it. With this in mind, I'm happy to own the term.

Of course, many Methodists would say they're also concerned with what the Bible has to say, and with trying to interpret it, without having any use for the term evangelical. Would you agree?

When it comes to those who make their living from religious matters, the label they give themselves must take on a more professional significance. And whole congregations presumably identify as evangelical because that helps them benefit from strong evangelical parachurch or ecumenical networks. Those networks dedicated to moderate or liberal Protestant Christianity are perhaps weaker in various ways.

quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
I not sure my nearest Orthodox parish is doing a good job. It's fairly invisible and suffers from acute convertitus.

[...]

To be fair, they have got their work cut out.

Where do you start? You have to use some reference points.

I was trying to be polite in that post, but at the back of my mind was the suspicion that if you try to please everyone you risk pleasing noone. So if I were looking for a church I'd be worried that a parish like the one you mentioned would be rather bland. (Although if they have a lot of converts then someone must find their style appealing.)

From my perspective as a complete outsider, 'Orthodox' is itself a reference point, but perhaps the fear is that the term is mostly unfamiliar to outsiders, and therefore needs to be attached to something that people will understand. Unfortunately, just picking a bunch of religious labels from other traditions looks derivative rather than comprehensive.

Sure.

No, they aren't bland. They wear their Orthodoxy on their sleeves. They are mostly British converts plus Eastern European cradle Orthodox.

They haven't grown in terms of numbers a great deal over the last 20 years.

I'd apply some of the cons I applied to evangelicalism to convert Orthodox and convert RCs too. Convertitis.

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by Baptist Trainfan:
This video by David Coffey, describing the "tribes" of evangelicalism, is a bit out of date but still felevant I think. (and yes, I've read the book!)

I think Evangelicalism basically doesn't exist as a thing in the UK, with the various participants closer to others outside of it than with other Evangelicals.

The most conservative Evangelicals probably have the most consistency and internal consistency - but that's basically because they don't recognise others as proper Evangelicals, never mind Christian.

Incidentally, the best Christian bookshop I ever went to was in a RC abbey. Even when I was much more of an Evangelical, I used to go there in preference to the standard Evangelical "Christian bookshops"

[ 07. July 2017, 15:35: Message edited by: mr cheesy ]

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ThunderBunk

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From my experience of those who identify themselves in such terms, the two elements which I find hardest to deal with or get over are these two charges: tone-deafness to biblical text on any level other than grinding literalism, and obsession with ecclesial necromancy. From my observation, the epistles and especially Acts are read as recommendations as to how the "authentic" church should behave, rather than records of how the church made it out of nappies. No sane human being goes around trying to recreate the attitudes and behaviours of their earliest years, and I find this attitude to these writings incomprehensible and utterly maddening.

[ 07. July 2017, 15:42: Message edited by: ThunderBunk ]

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by ThunderBunk:
From my experience of those who identify themselves in such terms, the two elements which I find hardest to deal with or get over are these two charges: tone-deafness to biblical text on any level other than grinding literalism, and obsession with ecclesial necromancy. From my observation, the epistles and especially Acts are read as recommendations as to how the "authentic" church should behave, rather than records of how the church made it out of nappies. No sane human being goes around trying to recreate the attitudes and behaviours of their earliest years, and I find this attitude to these writings incomprehensible and utterly maddening.

I think it is an exaggeration to say that Evangelicals are literalists. I'm not even sure that literalism really exists.

And of course this is part of the problem with those Evangelicals who claim that they are literalists; objectively they're obviously not, but the worldview is so strong that they really can't appreciate that what they've signed up for is in fact a complex interpretation rather than simple literalism.

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Mudfrog
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quote:
Originally posted by ThunderBunk:
From my experience of those who identify themselves in such terms, the two elements which I find hardest to deal with or get over are these two charges: tone-deafness to biblical text on any level other than grinding literalism, and obsession with ecclesial necromancy. From my observation, the epistles and especially Acts are read as recommendations as to how the "authentic" church should behave, rather than records of how the church made it out of nappies. No sane human being goes around trying to recreate the attitudes and behaviours of their earliest years, and I find this attitude to these writings incomprehensible and utterly maddening.

Excuse me whilst I laugh in a hearty yet charitable and brotherly manner.

Ecclesial necromancy?
This from a church where the ministers wear a version of the Roman toga and keep reciting stuff, even if only occasionally, in a dead language?

(I say that as someone who does like the sound of Latin words being said.)

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Gramps49
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During the Reformation, the group that eventually became Lutheran started out calling themselves Evangelical, meaning bearers of the Good News. They saw themselves as a movement within the Roman Catholic Church. It was not until the Council of Trent that the term Lutheran was coined by the RC as a way of accusing Luther of forming his own church.

To this day the term Evangelische Kirche refers to the Lutheran Church in Germany.

But in no way are we connected with the "Evangelical" movement in the US. While that movement started out with a fundamentalist bent that developed in reaction to the scientific movement in the mid-1800s (already mentioned), it really did not take off until the 1950's when the US Supreme Court started integrating public schools. All of the sudden white families started pulling their children out of public schools and enrolling them in religious schools set up by conservative churches. When the Internal Revenue Service threatened to revoke their tax exempt status in the 60's I think, the National Evangelical Association was formed to counter the IRS threat.

In 1973 when the Supreme Court allowed women the right of reproductive choice, the National Evangelical Association latched on to the abortion issue, claiming it was pro life (it really isn't--but that is discussed on the dead horse board) With every societal change now it seems the NEA is against it.

The problem I see with the Evangelical movement in the US is they have painted themselves into a corner. They seem to be against progress. I think that is way millennials and Gen Z's are being turned off by them.

But the problem is many churches who are quite open and affirming and progressive also getting tainted by how the millennials are looking at the church. The millennials see the evangelicals being against everything they are comfortable with, and they think all churches are that way.

There is one moderate sized group in the Lutheran Church in America that comes close to being "evangelical or fundamental" That would be the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod and the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Church and a few small Synods, through those bodies are quick to point out they are separated from the National Evangelical Association. The difference would be in the sacramental views.

[ 07. July 2017, 16:02: Message edited by: Gramps49 ]

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Gamaliel
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@SvitlanaV2, if you were looking for a church, I don't think you'd look at an Orthodox Church unless you were particularly interested in Orthodoxy.

In the same way that if I moved somewhere else and was looking for a church I wouldn't look in at the RC parish unless I felt particularly drawn to Roman Catholicism.

The Orthodox and RCs don't operate like the URCs and Methodists.

Besides, cutesy as the Orthodox self-description is in this instance, they would argue that they aren't appropriating terms from other traditions - 'evangel' comes from a Greek word of course and predates evangelicalism - but simply deploying terms people might have encountered elsewhere in order to provide some kind of reference point.

How 'successful' this is would be a moot point. Not very.

Most people who have sought them put have done so because they have become interested in Orthodoxy for whatever reason and want to check it out.

Casual visitors don't hang around very long, they tell me. Presumably because they find the whole thing an acquired taste, off-putting or unintelligible.

Whatever tradition we're from, people are acclimatised and socialised into the Kingdom and into our congratulations. That's a lengthy process.

Tangent over ...

Back to the evangelical thing ...

In some ways one could argue that evangelicals are victims of their own success. They've tended to grow in university cities and among transient or marginal groups.

They are great at getting people through the door, less successful at keeping them.

I would suggest that evangelicalism can only maintain its spiritual health by drawing on wider and broader traditions - but this brings the related 'danger' that they dilute their evangelicalism.

Hence the evangelical concern about too much 'social gospel' and, until comparatively recently, more contemplative or older forms of worship. They worry that the Gospel will be compromised or the fire extinguished.

I understand that and can see the cause for concern. For whatever reason, evangelicals have been weak on ecclesiology and weak on 'spiritual formation' for all the emphasis on personal and corporate Bible study and prayer.

That doesn't necessarily have to be the case. I see no reason why evangelicalism can't sustain that - although I do think it has to draw on a wider frame of reference and wider material than its customary canon of hymns and favourite proof-texts.

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Mudfrog
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quote:
Originally posted by Gramps49:
... the "Evangelical" movement in the US. While that movement started out with a fundamentalist bent that developed in reaction to the scientific movement in the mid-1800s (already mentioned), it really did not take off until the 1950's when the US Supreme Court started integrating public schools. All of the sudden white families started pulling their children out of public schools and enrolling them in religious schools set up by conservative churches. When the Internal Revenue Service threatened to revoke their tax exempt status in the 60's I think, the National Evangelical Association was formed to counter the IRS threat.

In 1973 when the Supreme Court allowed women the right of reproductive choice, the National Evangelical Association latched on to the abortion issue, claiming it was pro life (it really isn't--but that is discussed on the dead horse board) With every societal change now it seems the NEA is against it.

The problem I see with the Evangelical movement in the US is they have painted themselves into a corner. They seem to be against progress. I think that is way millennials and Gen Z's are being turned off by them.

But the problem is many churches who are quite open and affirming and progressive also getting tainted by how the millennials are looking at the church. The millennials see the evangelicals being against everything they are comfortable with, and they think all churches are that way.

There is one moderate sized group in the Lutheran Church in America that comes close to being "evangelical or fundamental" That would be the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod and the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Church and a few small Synods, through those bodies are quick to point out they are separated from the National Evangelical Association. The difference would be in the sacramental views.

That seems to ignore entirely the fact that the Evangelical 'Movement' as you call it, actually came from the evangelical awakenings of the Nineteenth Century which, inspired by German Pietists was actually brought to the world by Wesley and Whitefield.

They gt a ship and shared kt with the Americans but it's essentially, originally, a European phenomenon.

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SvitlanaV2
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quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:

The cons [of evangelicalism]?

Well, at the risk of being accepted of gratuitous side-swipes, I'd suggest a tendency to fundamentalism - hence the example of the reaction to evolution in the Christian bookshop cited here - an assumption that everyone should march to the same drum, sanctimoniousness, judgementalism and the inhabiting of an evangelical bubble.

The problem is, once you agree that everyone should march to their own drum, you're becoming less evangelical, because you're embarking upon religious relativism.

Evangelism is already difficult; but it's much more difficult if you believe it's perfectly reasonable for everyone to do their own thing. Why commit so much time, effort and money to such an embarrassing and risky activity if the alternatives are okay? Especially in a 'Christian country'.

But perhaps you should be grateful that these judgmental and sanctimonious people inhabit their own bubble. That means they're not out offending other Christians somewhere else! Mutual avoidance seems like a good policy for people who don't get on. That's why we tolerate divorce.


quote:
I not sure my nearest Orthodox parish is doing a good job. It's fairly invisible and suffers from acute convertitus.

[...]

No, they aren't bland. They wear their Orthodoxy on their sleeves. They are mostly British converts plus Eastern European cradle Orthodox.

They haven't grown in terms of numbers a great deal over the last 20 years.

I'd apply some of the cons I applied to evangelicalism to convert Orthodox and convert RCs too. Convertitis.

Well, at least they're marching to their own drum....

Poor growth is fairly normal in British Christianity overall, so in that respect this parish is nothing special. The converts themselves will become more 'normal' in a few years' time.

[ 07. July 2017, 16:08: Message edited by: SvitlanaV2 ]

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SvitlanaV2
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You've addressed some of these points in your previous post, so no need to respond if you have other things to say.

I'm particularly interested in your vision of an evangelicalism that draws on a wider frame of reference.

Is there a particular evangelical denomination or movement which you believe is especially good at this? I'm sure you have something in mind.

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ThunderBunk

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quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
quote:
Originally posted by ThunderBunk:
From my experience of those who identify themselves in such terms, the two elements which I find hardest to deal with or get over are these two charges: tone-deafness to biblical text on any level other than grinding literalism, and obsession with ecclesial necromancy. From my observation, the epistles and especially Acts are read as recommendations as to how the "authentic" church should behave, rather than records of how the church made it out of nappies. No sane human being goes around trying to recreate the attitudes and behaviours of their earliest years, and I find this attitude to these writings incomprehensible and utterly maddening.

Excuse me whilst I laugh in a hearty yet charitable and brotherly manner.

Ecclesial necromancy?
This from a church where the ministers wear a version of the Roman toga and keep reciting stuff, even if only occasionally, in a dead language?

(I say that as someone who does like the sound of Latin words being said.)

The adoption of the ceremonial garb of Roman judges is one thing. A tendency to say "this is what is recording as happening in one specific circumstance therefore it is how the church must behave for all times" is another. This latter tendency leads, again, to complete tone-deafness to the situation being faced now, and an obsession with shoving people into boxes.

But feel free to patronise. It's not really a problem for me unless and until I'm the person being shoved. I have been, or at least I have been on the sharp end of such attempts, which is what makes me quite as quick to identify this tendency as I am.

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Mudfrog
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Me! Me! Sir, Please Sir, I know. Me! Me!

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
That seems to ignore entirely the fact that the Evangelical 'Movement' as you call it, actually came from the evangelical awakenings of the Nineteenth Century which, inspired by German Pietists was actually brought to the world by Wesley and Whitefield.

They gt a ship and shared kt with the Americans but it's essentially, originally, a European phenomenon.

Right. The idea that Evangelicals only emerged in the 1950s is quite an odd sounding one to a British Evangelical.

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by ThunderBunk:
The adoption of the ceremonial garb of Roman judges is one thing. A tendency to say "this is what is recording as happening in one specific circumstance therefore it is how the church must behave for all times" is another.

Is it? What's the difference?

quote:
This latter tendency leads, again, to complete tone-deafness to the situation being faced now, and an obsession with shoving people into boxes.
I see. So it is fair enough to shove all Evangelicals into a box, even though some of us have consistently said that this isn't credible, but unreasonable to make factual statements about another church where there is far more consistency of practice. Oookay then.

quote:
But feel free to patronise. It's not really a problem for me unless and until I'm the person being shoved. I have been, or at least I have been on the sharp end of such attempts, which is what makes me quite as quick to identify this tendency as I am.
Who is patronising? What exactly is wrong with making factual statements about your church to compare with the generalisations you're making about Evangelicals?

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Nick Tamen

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quote:
Originally posted by Brenda Clough:
I personally would avoid any church with that word in the name. It is the label for a whited sepulcher.

The thing is that most churches that have "evangelical" in their name, such as Lutheran churches, would not be evangelical in the sense you're talking about, while at least in my experience the churches that are evangelical in the sense you're talking about would not have "evangelical" in the church name.

quote:
Originally posted by SvitlanaV2:
As for DH issues, some of them represent a big challenge in some congregations, and some don't. I should think many Christians are too busy keeping their churches ticking over, or managing their own spiritual lives, to worry about SSM, or what sex their clergy are, or other people's abortions, etc.

Unfortunately, some time in the American Bible Belt might have you reconsidering that. A "correct" position on DH issues, and a conservative political outlook generally, in the midst of an American society viewed as increasingly Godless seems to have become the sine qua non of much of American Evangelicalism.

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The first thing God says to Moses is, "Take off your shoes." We are on holy ground. Hard to believe, but the truest thing I know. — Anne Lamott

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Gamaliel
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Good question but it's not an issue that can easily be resolved because:

- Not all evangelicals are in hermetically sealed evangelical denominations. Much as figures like Dr Martin Lloyd Jones would have liked them to be.

- Evangelicalism is pan-denominational and, on one level is quite ecumenical insofar as they tend to hob-nob with evangelicals in other churches rather than non-evangelicals within their own denominations.

Equally, I don't think that ALL evangelicals are sanctimonious and judgemental, but it can be the shadow-side of their verve and fervour - just as wishy-washiness can be the price to pay for bring MoTR.

In practice, whether they are aware of it or not, I'd suggest that most evangelicals draw on a wider frame of reference.

It's a bit like mr cheesy's point about evangelical interpretations of scripture being more than simple reactions to an agreed corpus of texts. Rather, it's a cm web of interpretative frameworks and assumptions.

So, at any one time evangelicalism s going to be subject to the tug and pull of internal and external forces - just as any other tradition is.

I would argue that it is possible for evangelicalism to take on board practices and influences from other traditions - contemplative prayer, charismatic or Pentecostal influences etc - but at some point a tipping point is reached.

It's a bit like the old fellas in Flann O'Brien's The Third Policeman who ride around on bikes so often that their molecules and the bikes' merge to the extent that they sleep by leaning their elbows against a wall ...

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Nick Tamen

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quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
That seems to ignore entirely the fact that the Evangelical 'Movement' as you call it, actually came from the evangelical awakenings of the Nineteenth Century which, inspired by German Pietists was actually brought to the world by Wesley and Whitefield.

They gt a ship and shared kt with the Americans but it's essentially, originally, a European phenomenon.

Right. The idea that Evangelicals only emerged in the 1950s is quite an odd sounding one to a British Evangelical.
Well, he did begin by saying "the Evangelical Movement in the US."

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The first thing God says to Moses is, "Take off your shoes." We are on holy ground. Hard to believe, but the truest thing I know. — Anne Lamott

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ThunderBunk

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quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
quote:
Originally posted by ThunderBunk:
The adoption of the ceremonial garb of Roman judges is one thing. A tendency to say "this is what is recording as happening in one specific circumstance therefore it is how the church must behave for all times" is another.

Is it? What's the difference?

quote:
This latter tendency leads, again, to complete tone-deafness to the situation being faced now, and an obsession with shoving people into boxes.
I see. So it is fair enough to shove all Evangelicals into a box, even though some of us have consistently said that this isn't credible, but unreasonable to make factual statements about another church where there is far more consistency of practice. Oookay then.

quote:
But feel free to patronise. It's not really a problem for me unless and until I'm the person being shoved. I have been, or at least I have been on the sharp end of such attempts, which is what makes me quite as quick to identify this tendency as I am.
Who is patronising? What exactly is wrong with making factual statements about your church to compare with the generalisations you're making about Evangelicals?

Factual statements? Oh, is that what you are calling them this season? How silly of me.

Anyway, setting the obvious difference between clothing and actions aside (and I'm not sure why a version of nineteenth-century military uniform or indeed twentieth-century business attire is so much more suited to leading Christian worship, but moving on...), the nature of anamnesis should serve to make my point. The central point of anamnesis is bringing an historical event into the present and into relationship with the circumstances of the present. The circumstances of the present are therefore free to remain as they are, and the power of that event, of the death and resurrection of Christ is enacted in the present and brought into relationship with that present.

The repeated evangelical reflex is to adopt the external attributes of contemporary culture whilst dealing with actual people as if they were still in first-century Palestine. Attitudes to mental health are a very good example of this, where deliverance ministry is fastened on as a result of the biblical record, with no interrogation of its effectiveness or its potential to do harm in the twenty-first century.

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by ThunderBunk:
Factual statements? Oh, is that what you are calling them this season? How silly of me.

Explain to me how the comments about dress and language in your church are not factual statements.

quote:
Anyway, setting the obvious difference between clothing and actions aside (and I'm not sure why a version of nineteenth-century military uniform or indeed twentieth-century business attire is so much more suited to leading Christian worship, but moving on...),
Agree with this.

quote:
the nature of anamnesis should serve to make my point. The central point of anamnesis is bringing an historical event into the present and into relationship with the circumstances of the present. The circumstances of the present are therefore free to remain as they are, and the power of that event, of the death and resurrection of Christ is enacted in the present and brought into relationship with that present.
Don't understand the relevance of this para.

quote:
The repeated evangelical reflex is to adopt the external attributes of contemporary culture whilst dealing with actual people as if they were still in first-century Palestine.
Mmm. that's an interesting way to put it.

quote:
Attitudes to mental health are a very good example of this, where deliverance ministry is fastened on as a result of the biblical record, with no interrogation of its effectiveness or its potential to do harm in the twenty-first century.
Right, but once again you're using a broad brush to paint all Evangelicals in a particular way, when in fact this specific issue is only one for a relatively small subset of Evangelicals.

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ThunderBunk

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It's quite possible that I am describing a subset of evangelicals, but it's the subset I've seen in action and the damage I've seen as a result. At one stage, I was nearly a casualty.

As far as the relevance of anamnesis is concerned, I was using it to demonstrate the difference between celebrating the Eucharist wearing the vestments deemed appropriate to the action and carrying out a form of deliverance ministry in a business suit (or for that matter a t shirt and shorts, depending on temperature). Different elements travelling in different directions along the time line, in response to a historical precedent differently understood.

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Currently mostly furious, and occasionally foolish. Normal service may resume eventually. Or it may not. And remember children, "feiern ist wichtig".

Foolish, potentially deranged witterings

Posts: 2097 | From: Norwich | Registered: Apr 2010  |  IP: Logged
RuthW

liberal "peace first" hankie squeezer
# 13

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quote:
Originally posted by Nick Tamen:
quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
That seems to ignore entirely the fact that the Evangelical 'Movement' as you call it, actually came from the evangelical awakenings of the Nineteenth Century which, inspired by German Pietists was actually brought to the world by Wesley and Whitefield.

They gt a ship and shared kt with the Americans but it's essentially, originally, a European phenomenon.

Right. The idea that Evangelicals only emerged in the 1950s is quite an odd sounding one to a British Evangelical.
Well, he did begin by saying "the Evangelical Movement in the US."
Which really got going with the Great Awakening in the 1730s. It was originally a British import, spurred on as it was by revival meetings at which George Whitefield preached, but evangelicalism went on to be the strongest of any religious influence in American culture throughout its history. There was another Great Awakening in the 19th century, and the temperance movement was always an evangelical one, as was abolition. Evangelicalism lost some of its steam in the US in the late 19th/early 20th century. Evangelical Christians in the US essentially split at that point -- some became modernists and took over the mainline Protestant churches, and the rest regrouped as fundamentalists. Mainline Protestantism was the bigger force in the North, and fundamentalism was stronger in the South. Some say fundamentalists were culturally marginalized, but I think that overstates the case -- they simply were in cultural second place overall. This changed in the second half of the twentieth century, when fundamentalists got better at organizing themselves as political actors.
Posts: 24321 | From: La La Land | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
Nick Tamen

Ship's Wayfaring Fool
# 15164

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All very true, RuthW.

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The first thing God says to Moses is, "Take off your shoes." We are on holy ground. Hard to believe, but the truest thing I know. — Anne Lamott

Posts: 2396 | From: On heaven-crammed earth | Registered: Sep 2009  |  IP: Logged
Gamaliel
Shipmate
# 812

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Indeed.

Is it time to distinguish, though, between an evangelical world-view and a fundamentalist one?

The two are not coterminous.

Meanwhile, hopefully without pouring oil on the emerging spat between Thunder unknown, Mr cheesy and Mudfrog, my observations would be that:

- Dress code in the SA is far more flexible than ThunderBunk suggests and it's musical offerings tend to he wider than the oompah stereotype too. In many ways the SA is a lot more holistic than some predominantly evangelical groups and denominations.

- As mr cheesy says, the 'deliverance' thing isn't that widespread within evangelicalism per se but that doesn't diminish the harm it can cause.

- The sacramental / amenensis aspect is obviously played down within evangelicalism but I wouldn't say it was eradicated entirely - they simply 'sacralise' other aspects of praxis - be it Bible study, sermons,the 'worship time' or - tongue firmly in cheek now - the 'church meeting' if you're a Baptist ...

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Let us with a gladsome mind
Praise the Lord for He is kind.

http://philthebard.blogspot.com

Posts: 15311 | From: Cheshire, UK | Registered: Jul 2001  |  IP: Logged
mousethief

Ship's Thieving Rodent
# 953

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quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
Who is patronising? What exactly is wrong with making factual statements about your church to compare with the generalisations you're making about Evangelicals?

Surely you are not as tone-deaf as all that. One can be perfectly patronizing while stating nothing but the truth.

quote:
Originally posted by Nick Tamen:
A "correct" position on DH issues, and a conservative political outlook generally, in the midst of an American society viewed as increasingly Godless seems to have become the sine qua non of much of American Evangelicalism.

This has been my experience.

quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
- Evangelicalism is pan-denominational and, on one level is quite ecumenical insofar as they tend to hob-nob with evangelicals in other churches rather than non-evangelicals within their own denominations.

In this country, the "Evangelical" ranks are predominantly filled by non-affiliated individual (single-building, if you will) churches, or tiny or started-tiny 20th- or 21st-century denominations such as Foursquare.

quote:
Originally posted by RuthW:
quote:
Originally posted by Nick Tamen:
"the Evangelical Movement in the US."

Which really got going with the Great Awakening in the 1730s.
Thank you. I couldn't remember the details, just the name "Great Awakening."

[ 07. July 2017, 18:36: Message edited by: mousethief ]

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God has shown me that I should not call any man impure or unclean. --Acts 10:28

Posts: 62784 | From: Ecotopia | Registered: Jul 2001  |  IP: Logged
chris stiles
Shipmate
# 12641

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quote:
Originally posted by Brenda Clough:
In the US the term 'evangelical' is now a stench in the nostrils. They were happy, nay charmed, to endorse a foul-mouthed pussygrabber for President. All their cries about how character was vital for a chief executive stands unmasked as balderdash, the most barefaced hypocrisy.

Evangelicals in the US are rapidly resembling Milwall supporters in the UK. "Nobody likes us, we don't care"

[ 07. July 2017, 18:36: Message edited by: chris stiles ]

Posts: 3640 | From: Berkshire | Registered: May 2007  |  IP: Logged



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