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Source: (consider it) Thread: Do evangelicals love or hate their Jesus?
no prophet's flag is set so...

Proceed to see sea
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I am unfamiliar with all of the varieties and niches in which evangelicals find themselves. We'd label their within-church services practices as pentecostal here but the correct term may be charismatic. Everyday speech contains quiet or not even spoken hallelujahs, like the secret signs attributed to Masons. Their church is an island amidst the secular sea of seething sinners. Lots of bible tells me so. Lots of bible-guided decision making in personal lives and when talking among themselves about the lives of dirty (by which I mean unwashed).

They like stuff like this: Tory MP Compares Jesus' Actions To Canadian Tory Government, and I shall not be talking about it with them, not anything similar, when they return in 3 weeks.

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Out of this nettle, danger, we pluck this flower, safety.
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Beeswax Altar
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quote:
originally posted by Mudfrog:
Well I'm sorry, but he talked about a segment of his family and then used them to damn all evangelicals. He didn't say 'Many evangelicals', he didn't say, 'Some evangelicals','a few evangelicals,' 'a minority of evangelicals', 'Extreme evangelicals', 'radical evangelicals'; he just said:

Indeed...the most accurate thing to say would be "some of my family who identify as evangelicals." A better question would be, "why are Evangelicals who are not socialists not socialists?" Before asking a question, the one asking it should answer the question, "Why should a conservative evangelical or fundamentalist who believes about scripture what conservative evangelicals and fundamentalists believe about scripture be a socialist?" Usually, the ones asking the question don't even bother with proof texts and never provide a coherent exegesis of scripture a knowledgeable conservative evangelical/fundamentalist would find credible.

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Losing sleep is something you want to avoid, if possible.
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Barnabas62
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That's very well put, Beeswax Altar. It isn't easy to do, but it is important to try. Exegetics and hermeneutics function in a particular way within conevo beliefs and in order to have some kind of effective dialogue it is important to try to understand that, to couch questions within that understanding.

It may be that the discussion can then move to some examination of the way exegetics and hermenutics function amongst conevos, explain that not all Christians have the same take on that, and why. But I think it's important to try to "walk in the moccassins" first.

[ 30. July 2015, 21:35: Message edited by: Barnabas62 ]

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Who is it that you seek? How then shall we live? How shall we sing the Lord's song in a strange land?

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Gamaliel
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I think that's certainly true ...

It also explains why some more moderate evangelicals find themselves tarred with the same brush as the more 'extreme' ones.

For instance, a liberal vicar I know expressed surprise and incredulity when he discovered that the evangelical charismatic vicar here was a Guardian reader. He had previously assumed that all charismatic evangelicals read The Daily Mail or were 'wet' conservatives at least ...

Mind you, although he's never done so before, I understand this evangelical charismatic vicar did vote Tory in the last election - but that was chiefly because the local constituency MP is an evangelical Christian and takes a similar hard-line to the one he would take on certain dead-horse issues ...

For me, though, the key issue isn't why aren't certain evangelicals socialists or conservatives or anything else on the political spectrum - but why are so many of them first-class pains in the backside?

The answer, I think, is fundamentalism -- and fundamentalists are pains in the butt whatever tradition or political ideology they represent.

Sure, there's a difference between being a conservative evangelical and being a fundamentalist - and that difference isn't always easy to discern for those who haven't worn the mocassins as it were nor mastered the way to talk to or engage with people with a highly biblicist world-view -- and there's nothing wrong with having such a world-view, I hasten to add -- but there are ways of being informed and 'led' by scripture that don't involve leaving your brain at the door nor supporting particular political positions - of whatever stripe ...

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

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cliffdweller
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# 13338

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quote:
Originally posted by Doc Tor:
quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
I think what Mudfrog's post reveals is that most evangelicals are not the loonies like the ones at Westboro that you think they are!

I'm struggling to understand your position here.

I think it's fair to say that no prophet knows their family better than you do, and is not misrepresenting their stated religious affiliation, nor their theology, in any way, shape or form.

np doesn't 'think' their family are straight out of Westboro, rather that they are fairly representative of North American evangelicalism. Why is so difficult for you to believe that this is possible, given that other people on the thread have clearly identified with np's plight.

Or are you getting the No True Scotsman in by the backdoor?

Actually, if you will read the contributions to this thread by actual, real-life American evangelicals such as myself, you will see that his family is NOT "fairly representative of North American evangelicalism." They are representative of one loud minority subgroup of that group. No one is saying that no prophet doesn't know what his family is like, and no one is saying they're not evangelicals (hence, no "no true scotsman" argument). But they're aren't representative-- and that's the point.

Which doesn't make no prophet's plight any easier, of course. But perhaps will help others from jumping to conclusions when they meet an American evangelical.

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"Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don't be afraid." -Frederick Buechner

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cliffdweller
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quote:
Originally posted by Doc Tor:
quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
Do you really think that that is a position that is fairly representative of North American evangelicalism?

Yes.

You may deplore the signal-to-noise ratio that drowns out people like Tom Sine, Shane Claiborne, and Jim Wallis, but you're simply cherry-picking: no only do people like np's family exist, but they're in the majority of NA evangelicals.

I don't see any evidence that that is the case, although, of course, it depends on how broadly or loosely one defines "evangelical." In fact, in some cases it becomes a sort of "no true scotsman" in reverse-- where the stereotype has become so thoroughly entrenched that those who don't fit the stereotype are therefore deemed "not evangelical" simply because they aren't Republican or don't believe in a 7 day creation or aren't science deniers. But again, the best definition of this group is the Bebbington quadrilateral, which encompasses all these varieties and groupings.

In my experience teaching at an evangelical uni, I will say that younger evangelicals in particular are far more apt to be of the Shane Clairborne/Tony Campolo variety than the Pat Robertson/ Jerry Falwell type.

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"Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don't be afraid." -Frederick Buechner

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Gwai
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# 11076

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In my experience the very conservative evangelicals don't go to university as much as they go to a college that teaches what their brand believes, so if you teach at a university, there is some self-selection going on.

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A master of men was the Goodly Fere,
A mate of the wind and sea.
If they think they ha’ slain our Goodly Fere
They are fools eternally.


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cliffdweller
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quote:
Originally posted by Gwai:
In my experience the very conservative evangelicals don't go to university as much as they go to a college that teaches what their brand believes, so if you teach at a university, there is some self-selection going on.

True, although it probably sounds a bit pretentious if I say that... and it is an evangelical uni so it's more in between the two.

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"Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don't be afraid." -Frederick Buechner

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Doc Tor
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quote:
Originally posted by cliffdweller:
I don't see any evidence that that is the case

You are probably getting a more nuanced signal, being closer to the source. Mudfrog is a near neighbour, and he can't be ignorant of the noise as it is received in the UK.

To answer your unasked question, yes: that is what North American (and US in particular) evangelicals sound like from outside the country.

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Forward the New Republic

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cliffdweller
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quote:
Originally posted by Doc Tor:
quote:
Originally posted by cliffdweller:
I don't see any evidence that that is the case

You are probably getting a more nuanced signal, being closer to the source. Mudfrog is a near neighbour, and he can't be ignorant of the noise as it is received in the UK.

To answer your unasked question, yes: that is what North American (and US in particular) evangelicals sound like from outside the country.

To be fair, that's what we sound like inside the US as well. [Hot and Hormonal]

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"Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don't be afraid." -Frederick Buechner

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Mudfrog
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Can I ask if there is a problem in translation here?

Could it be that 'evangelical' in the US is actually what we here in the UK would call 'Charismatic' or 'Pentecostal'?

In which case I would look at some of what you're talking about in the US and agree with you; but here in the UK Evangelical is not necessarily either of these two things.

I am a conservative evangelical (being a Salvationist) but I am certainly not pentecostal or charismatic. As far as I am concerned 'evangelical' is a doctrinal position or emphasis, not a style of worship, political opinion or acceptance of creationism.evolutionary theory.

So, for example, I know of evangelical Christians who would worship in the same congregation and who would vote Tory and Labour and disagree totally on politics. I know evangelicals, some of whom believe in 6 day creation, evolution as taught in the most un-religious school, or intelligent design somewhere in the middle. I know evangelicals who speak in tongues and others who have no time for anyone who does.

The Evangelical Church in the UK that might be more reformed than I am would be cessationists and have no agreement with anyone who believes the Holy Spirit gives ministry gifts today. They will be strict Calvinists whilst I am a Wesleyan, and some would be full Arminians.

And yet we are all evangelicals because we believe basic evangelical doctrine.

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"The point of having an open mind, like having an open mouth, is to close it on something solid."
G.K. Chesterton

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ExclamationMark
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quote:
Originally posted by cliffdweller:
.... younger evangelicals in particular are far more apt to be of the Shane Clairborne/Tony Campolo variety ....

I'd not classify Clairborne and Campolo as Evangelicals in the strictest definition of the word.
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Gamaliel
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No, in my experience, Mudfrog, the term 'evangelical' in the US is more likely to be used for conservative, 'cessationist' style evangelicals than it is for charismatics and Pentecostals ...

But the mileage may vary.

The fact is, that we don't have an awful lot of evangelical churches here that correspond exactly with the kind of US stereotype we are discussing here ... although there are some.

I think it is fair to say, though, that the kind of independent conservative evangelical congregations here that might most closely match the kind of thing that No Prophet is describing, do have a considerable amount of US influence ...

Indeed, I'd say that UK evangelicalism as a whole is heavily influenced by the US - but without necessarily taking on board some of the cultural accretions or attitudes associated with much (but by no means all) of what we might call US-style evangelicalism.

I've come across both independent and Reformed Baptists who've had considerable input from the US - although without becoming necessarily 'right-wing' in their views. Indeed, I know of one Reformed Baptist Church which - although avowedly cessationist - had no qualms about using charismatic-style choruses in its worship (but without the arm raising and so on). This used to shock visiting US preachers from the equivalent stable across the Pond ... who associated such songs purely with charismatics ...

I think what we are talking about in the case of the US is a variety of independent evangelical groups that tend towards very conservative socio-political views and which tend to be cessationist in polity - and which can be either Calvinist or Arminian depending on the sources and streams that feed into them from whichever group they emerged from ... be it Presbyterian or Congregationalist origins or more Wesleyan traditions ...

There are independent Baptist groups over there which are Calvinist, others which are broadly Arminian.

So it's hard to generalise.

What they have in common, though, is a somewhat conservative mindset, a degree of literalism over issues like the Creation narratives and the end-times and quite an insular mentality.

From what I've seen, younger and - dare I say it - better educated young American evangelicals will incline towards the more 'Democrat' Tony Campolo style of things or the 'Emergent' end of the spectrum ... and that seems to be the case with younger evangelicals over here too.

So, yes, the style of evangelical that New Prophet describes does exist and does have a strong and very visible and vocal platform in the US - but they are by no means the only kind of evangelical there is over there ... any more than your particular brand of evangelicalism is the only available 'flavour' here in the UK.

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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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Sorry, cross-posted with ExclamationMark ...

I think Campolo would self-identify as an Evangelical, though ...

The thing is, of course that some Capital E Evangelicals wouldn't identify Mudfrog and Arminian evangelicals as being Big E Evangelicals either ...

That's the problem with the term. It can mean whatever we want it to mean.

Big E Evangelicals would restrict the term to more Reformed evangelicalism ... whereas Mudfrog and other Arminian evangelicals would also want the term to include them as well.

It all depends on how we define Evangelical.

Is there a Big E Evangelicalism in the same way that there is a Big O Orthodoxy or a Big C Catholicism -- as well as lower-case versions of all these terms?

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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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Alan Cresswell

Mad Scientist 先生
# 31

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I think in terms of doctrine and worship practice both the UK and US has the same range of views within evangelicalism. Though the proportion of evangelicals within each camp is different. There is also an element of some evangelical groups in the US have a much stronger media and political presence than evangelical groups in the UK, which almost certainly biases impressions of relative strengths of different evangelical groups.

Politically and culturally there are considerable differences between the UK and the US. That's a general statement. Naturally that difference is reflected within evangelicalism as well.

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Don't cling to a mistake just because you spent a lot of time making it.

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Mudfrog
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quote:
Originally posted by Alan Cresswell:
I think in terms of doctrine and worship practice both the UK and US has the same range of views within evangelicalism. Though the proportion of evangelicals within each camp is different. There is also an element of some evangelical groups in the US have a much stronger media and political presence than evangelical groups in the UK, which almost certainly biases impressions of relative strengths of different evangelical groups.

Politically and culturally there are considerable differences between the UK and the US. That's a general statement. Naturally that difference is reflected within evangelicalism as well.

Evangelicalism in this country, of course, has much to do with Wesley and Whitfield, Spurgeon, Booth and others. It has less to do with frontier revivalism which, I guess, has a lot to do with what the US experiences. We are a lot more 'British' about our evangelicalism. You'll not find any tele-evangelists in this country!

[ 31. July 2015, 11:35: Message edited by: Mudfrog ]

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"The point of having an open mind, like having an open mouth, is to close it on something solid."
G.K. Chesterton

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Pomona
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IME (which of course may not be accurate) 'Evangelical' in the US tends to suggest worship songs and megachurches - so not necessarily charismatic, but I wouldn't say cessationist. I've heard people distinguish between (Southern) Baptists and Evangelicals for instance. I think certainly 'Evangelical' = non-denominational in most cases in the US, whereas in the UK of course it has historically been driven by various denominations.

I would consider Tony Campolo an evangelical...Claiborne is maybe more borderline but he certainly IDs as evangelical. There is a rather clearer 'post-evangelical' movement in the US though with people like Rachel Held Evans and Rachel Bessey which sort of blends in with the more borderline 'open' evangelicals.

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Consider the work of God: Who is able to straighten what he has bent? [Ecclesiastes 7:13]

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Alan Cresswell

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We also have strong recent influences from across the Atlantic. Billy Graham, and other revivalist preachers, have left us a legacy (how many evangelicals were raised with Mission Praise?). There also been a strong Calvinist strand within evangelicalism, particularly within the Presbyterian churches of Scotland and NI. And, Pentecostalism largely from our immigrant communities over the last 70 years.

The relative lack of TV evangelists has been more to do with broadcast licensing than anything else - if the UK in the 70s and 80s had inexpensive TV and radio broadcast licenses then we would almost certainly have developed our own ministries using these media, more than just Premier Radio. Digital TV has opened up the opportunities to use these media, but I think the time has passed. The Christian digital TV channels carry largely US material (from the little I've seen - I don't really have time to watch much TV at all), and the internet has internationalised broadcast ministries through streamed media - again with the numerical dominance of US churches impacting that.

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Don't cling to a mistake just because you spent a lot of time making it.

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Pomona
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And don't forget prominent US evangelicals speaking at conferences, especially women's conferences. US evangelical Christian women's blogging is also really big and influences things in a more subtle way.

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Consider the work of God: Who is able to straighten what he has bent? [Ecclesiastes 7:13]

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cliffdweller
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US evangelicalism would include charismatics/Pentecostals and cessationists, just as it would include Arminians and Calvinists.

Again, the definition of "evangelical" used by most scholars is the Bebbington Quadrilateral, which is broad enough to include all these groups. It's the emphasis on those 4 things-- and nothing else-- that makes an evangelical an evangelical.

Campolo definitely is considered an evangelical here in the US and in scholarly circles. A lefty evangelical, but an evangelical nonetheless. Some might call Clairborne "post-evangelical" but that's really more about generation than theology.

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"Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don't be afraid." -Frederick Buechner

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Gamaliel
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# 812

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Keep banging away at the Quadrilateral tambourine, Cliffdweller ... I think you're right to strike that particular note as whatever other differences and ranges/nuances there may be within evangelicalism per se, those 4 issues are the ones where they tend to overlap or correlate in Venn Diagram terms.

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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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# 812

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@Mudfrog - whilst I would agree that the Wesleyan influence has been considerable, I think it is worth bearing in mind that it was less so in certain parts of the country.

Methodism in Wales, for instance, was far less 'Wesleyan' in tone - they were Calvinistic Methodists for the most part - and would have probably been called Presbyterians anywhere else ...

I'd also suggest that, in England at least, the form of Calvinism that has predominated here has been a milder form that is often the case in the US - where influences from Ulster and Scotland were particularly strong.

Until comparatively recently, I'd say that the tone and flavour of Anglican evangelicalism, for instance, was far more Calvinist than Wesleyan.

The Baptists, I'd suggested, are fairly evenly divided on the Arminian/Calvinist issue - often within the same congregation.

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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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no prophet's flag is set so...

Proceed to see sea
# 15560

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The connotation in general in Canada I think is that "evangelical" means socially conservative, tendency toward biblical literalism, life centred on personal responsibility, but almost always extended into the desire to re-form society within the 'good news' they fervently believe and follow, and a great desire to foist their ideas on others. They will tell me that Canada is a Christian country, something I had not noticed. They are prepared to sign petitions, donate to organizations aimed at what they term "traditional" things. Their church services feature bands, emotional speechifying, and often calls to the front to give hearts to Jesus (are minds included or excluded?). The whole package appears unthinking and unwilling to really discuss anything. I used to envy their certainty. But I saw that it hurts people.

They've found themselves with political infuecne in both USA and Canada, with Canadian politicians more shy about expressing themselves than Americans. They want tax cuts, reduced public spending, and have a strong focus on prosperity.

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Out of this nettle, danger, we pluck this flower, safety.
\_(ツ)_/

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Gamaliel
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# 812

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Sure, I think what the rest of us - or most of us - here are trying to say, though, No Prophet is that we've all encountered forms of evangelicalism that are like that ...

However, what we are also saying is that there is more to evangelicalism than that - it's a much wider movement and broader in scope - perhaps not in your immediate vicinity but certainly when you take a wider view ...

Yes, I'd say that there is emotion there - and emotionalism too in many instances - but not all evangelicalism boils down to that.

Yes, there's an emphasis on personal responsibility and self-help too, to a certain extent - but again, that varies ... as does the emphasis on prosperity. At best, that can be a concern about people's well-being -- at worst it can spill over into heretical health/wealth name-it-and-claim-it territory.

FWIW my own take on these things is that a smidgeon of evangelicalism will take you a fair way - but it needs supplementing with a higher fibre diet.

It's a bit like a vitamin or energy pill - it'll give you a sugar rush or some energy for the moment - but to develop muscles to stay the course, you can't simply rely on that.

Now, of course, I'm not saying that there's no more to evangelicalism than emotionalism. What strikes me about some of the most emotional - and off-puttingly so - evangelicals I know is that they ally that with some real grit and stamina - often in unseen ways. I can think of stacks of examples of evangelicals going out of their way to help others - and not expecting anything in return.

Overall, I don't think that evangelicals are any worse at that than anyone else.

What does happen, though, and I suspect this might be the case with the evangelical groups you're telling us about - is that the sub-culture can stultify and prevent further growth and development.

It ain't just me staying that - a good many years ago the unimpeachably evangelical Mark Noll wrote in his best-selling book, 'The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind' that evangelicalism as a whole needed to draw on wider sources - Patristic sources, Catholic sources, Orthodox sources, wider Reformed and reformed sources - if it were to develop the life of its collective mind ...

The Shipmate Dyfrig, who used to post regularly on these boards, once observed how he'd said to the late John Stott - a significant Anglican evangelical writer and thinker - how evangelicalism was a good place to start, but not necessarily to end up ...

That might sound patronising to those who remain within the evangelical tradition and work happily within that context - and that's great, good luck to them - but I think there's something in that.

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

http://philthebard.blogspot.com

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cliffdweller
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quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
Sure, I think what the rest of us - or most of us - here are trying to say, though, No Prophet is that we've all encountered forms of evangelicalism that are like that ...

However, what we are also saying is that there is more to evangelicalism than that - it's a much wider movement and broader in scope - perhaps not in your immediate vicinity but certainly when you take a wider view ...

...FWIW my own take on these things is that a smidgeon of evangelicalism will take you a fair way - but it needs supplementing with a higher fibre diet.

...It ain't just me staying that - a good many years ago the unimpeachably evangelical Mark Noll wrote in his best-selling book, 'The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind' that evangelicalism as a whole needed to draw on wider sources - Patristic sources, Catholic sources, Orthodox sources, wider Reformed and reformed sources - if it were to develop the life of its collective mind ...

The Shipmate Dyfrig, who used to post regularly on these boards, once observed how he'd said to the late John Stott - a significant Anglican evangelical writer and thinker - how evangelicalism was a good place to start, but not necessarily to end up ...

That might sound patronising to those who remain within the evangelical tradition and work happily within that context - and that's great, good luck to them - but I think there's something in that.

Still happily within the evangelical tradition-- and yes, I would very much agree.

I really like Richard Foster's take in Streams of Living Water in which he breaks Christianity as a whole down into six "streams" or types or genres. What I like is the way he generously assesses the strengths of each stream as well as wisely points out the hazards/perils, then suggests how the different streams can effectively balance one another-- drawing something from one tradition to offset/hedge against the perils of another.

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Baptist Trainfan
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quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
The Baptists, I'd suggested, are fairly evenly divided on the Arminian/Calvinist issue - often within the same congregation.

They might be if most of them knew what you were talking about ... [Devil] I think this is an issue which is far less prominent than it was 20 or 30 years ago.

(That might not be true of Grace Baptists).

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Alan Cresswell

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Of course, there are also streams within evangelicalism. And, one of those streams is intensely intellectual. It's the stream that emphasises personal Bible study supported by a range of commentaries and resources. It's the stream that brought me to Christ, where we were taught to read Scripture in multiple translations since that would give us additional perspective on the text - where going to Bible college and learning Greek and Hebrew to read the Bible in the original languages was something to aspire to. An approach to faith that would use the best of scholarship to understand what the Bible is saying to us.

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Steve Langton
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by Gamaliel;
quote:
Methodism in Wales, for instance, was far less 'Wesleyan' in tone - they were Calvinistic Methodists for the most part - and would have probably been called Presbyterians anywhere else ...

As I understand it Whitefield, a Calvinist, though himself Anglican, was heavily involved in the (hope I get this right) Eglwys Fethodistaidd Calfiniadd, and it is often alternatively referred to as the Welsh Presbyterian Church (can't remember the Welsh version for that 'Eglwys Presbyteriadd...' I think).

'Calvinism' tends to come in two forms - a version which stresses the philosophical 'determinism' aspect and a version which much more stresses the 'grace' aspect in terms of dependence on God and recognising that when people need mercy it is of the essence of the situation that mercy is at the choice of the person giving mercy. See the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector....

JI Packer was of the opinion that Wesley was, in terms of his actual preaching, a Calvinist; but unfortunately he had reacted against people of the drier philosophical version, who might more accurately be called 'hyperCalvinist'. Charles' hymn with its verse starting "Long my imprisoned spirit lay..." caused one Scot to ask "Where's your Arminianism now...."

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Mudfrog
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I'd love to know what stream TSA is in!

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cliffdweller
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quote:
Originally posted by Mudfrog:
I'd love to know what stream TSA is in!

TSA? I thought they were more in
THIS stream... (may not be work safe...)

[ 31. July 2015, 19:02: Message edited by: cliffdweller ]

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Alan Cresswell

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I would expect that most groups (even individuals) are composed of different streams.

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Gamaliel
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There's nothing surprising about Whitefield being a Calvinist and Anglican at one and the same time, Steve Langton.

Wesley's Arminianism was the exception rather than the rule in 18th century Anglicanism.

And of course J I Packer claimed that Wesley was more Calvinist than Arminian - Calvinists always do that. They can't bear to think that there are any alternative 'takes' on things and so try to appropriate anyone they vaguely approve of into their own schema ...

Heck, they've already done it with John Calvin ... [Big Grin] [Razz]

They'll be trying to do it with the Apostle Paul next ...

[Big Grin]

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Steve Langton
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by Gamaliel;
quote:
There's nothing surprising about Whitefield being a Calvinist and Anglican at one and the same time, Steve Langton.
Obviously no surprise - after all, any Anglican taking those 39 Articles seriously should be a Calvinist....

I perhaps didn't say it clearly enough but the surprising bit is not Whitefield's Calvinism but his involvement in helping to set up a rival to Anglicanism within the UK - of course if the Anglicans had been doing their job properly it wouldn't have been necessary ....

quote:
And of course J I Packer claimed that Wesley was more Calvinist than Arminian - Calvinists always do that. They can't bear to think that there are any alternative 'takes' on things and so try to appropriate anyone they vaguely approve of into their own schema ...

I can only say I basically agree with Packer on this one. Wesley is far more 'Calvinist' than the typical later American 'evangelist' and he does appear to reject that 'philosophical' Calvinism rather than the warmer and of course more biblical version. In essence he preached biblically and couldn't help preaching the grace of God rather than the proud self-help of sinners. The only Packer quote I can readily access right now speaks of Wesley's 'inconsistent Calvinism'.

BTW, there is on record a story about Whitefield which I like. He was once in the company of several American Presbyterian leaders, and he was asked,
"Mr Whitefield, do you think we shall see John Wesley in heaven?"

"Oh no", he replied - and then confounded the expectations of his audience by following up with "for we shall be so far from the throne of God, and Mr Wesley so near...."

But perhaps we should get back to the OP....

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cliffdweller
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quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:


quote:
And of course J I Packer claimed that Wesley was more Calvinist than Arminian - Calvinists always do that. They can't bear to think that there are any alternative 'takes' on things and so try to appropriate anyone they vaguely approve of into their own schema ...

I can only say I basically agree with Packer on this one. Wesley is far more 'Calvinist' than the typical later American 'evangelist' and he does appear to reject that 'philosophical' Calvinism rather than the warmer and of course more biblical version. In essence he preached biblically and couldn't help preaching the grace of God rather than the proud self-help of sinners.
Of course Wesley didn't preach the proud self-help of sinners. No one does. I think you misunderstand Arminianism if you think it is not, first and foremost, about the grace of God.


quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:

BTW, there is on record a story about Whitefield which I like. He was once in the company of several American Presbyterian leaders, and he was asked,
"Mr Whitefield, do you think we shall see John Wesley in heaven?"

"Oh no", he replied - and then confounded the expectations of his audience by following up with "for we shall be so far from the throne of God, and Mr Wesley so near...."

I've always liked that story as well. It reflects well on both men, I think, and part of the larger story of two men with very different takes on the gospel who nonetheless were able to travel and minister together in a mutually supportive way that showed great respect and kindness. Would that there were more who followed in their stead.

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"Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don't be afraid." -Frederick Buechner

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Steve Langton
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by cliffdweller;
quote:
Of course Wesley didn't preach the proud self-help of sinners. No one does. I think you misunderstand Arminianism if you think it is not, first and foremost, about the grace of God.
Arminius, AIUI, thought of himself as a Calvinist.... The point is that wherever people go philosophically about these matters, biblical preachers cannot avoid that point I made earlier of dependence on God and of recognising God's right to choose, in a situation where we cannot earn his mercy or force his hand. There is a way of preaching faith which stresses too much the other way; God may still use it, but it runs a serious risk of producing shallow and shaky conversions because it has focussed too much on the human decision and not enough on that need of mercy.

This is very interesting but I can't help feeling it's a bit outside the OP. A few posts ago I just commented on Whitefield's relationship to the Welsh Calvinistic Methodists, and I didn't really mean to start a major tangent [Hot and Hormonal]

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cliffdweller
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quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
by cliffdweller;
quote:
Of course Wesley didn't preach the proud self-help of sinners. No one does. I think you misunderstand Arminianism if you think it is not, first and foremost, about the grace of God.
Arminius, AIUI, thought of himself as a Calvinist.... The point is that wherever people go philosophically about these matters, biblical preachers cannot avoid that point I made earlier of dependence on God and of recognising God's right to choose, in a situation where we cannot earn his mercy or force his hand.
We Wesleyans find statements like the above particularly offensive. Welsey was nothing if not biblical. Arminians very much believe we are dependent upon God's grace and no one-- no one-- is going to dispute that God alone chooses-- that Christ alone is the only means of salvation. Arminianism is not in any way shape or form suggesting that anyone can earn his mercy or force his hand. Again, you appear to have a significant misunderstanding of what Arminius and his followers taught/teach. Some of the more uber-Calvinists (yes, John Piper, I'm looking at you) can lead you that way.

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cliffdweller
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quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:

This is very interesting but I can't help feeling it's a bit outside the OP. A few posts ago I just commented on Whitefield's relationship to the Welsh Calvinistic Methodists, and I didn't really mean to start a major tangent [Hot and Hormonal]

But... that's no excuse for dropping an explosive misrepresentation of a significant chunk of your fellow Christians and then trying to shut the door behind you by saying "oh, but that's off topic". You drop a bomb like that, you gotta be willing to stay in the game long enough to clean up the mess.

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"Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don't be afraid." -Frederick Buechner

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Beautiful Dreamer
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quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
They may well be odd, Mudfrog, but they may also be very representative of evangelicals in No Prophet's part of North America ... indeed, I would be very surprised if they weren't - even given Cliffdweller's more encyclopaedic knowledge of US evangelicalism in its various facets and forms.

I'd agree that what No Prophet didn't do was to acknowledge that not all evangelicals are like his family - and I have reason to doubt or question his view of what his family are like nor the views they hold.

Sure, I would have preferred No Prophet in the OP to restrict his comments to a particular subset of US evangelicals rather than evangelicals as a whole -- but I don't feel particularly 'defensive' about it on evangelicalism's behalf because I know that as a movement it is far broader than that ...

I'd say similar, of course, if the OP had stated that all RCs were pre-Vatican II types with ultramontane views ... or that all Anglicans were middle-class, drank tea with the vicar and crossed their fingers behind their backs when reciting the Creed ...

Unbelievable as this may sound, I do post on other websites and I've certainly come across the kind of view that No Prophet has expressed about US evangelicalism - I've come across US Episcopalians, RCs and Orthodox as well as mainline Lutherans and others whose only exposure to evangelicalism has been to the kind of groups and views that No Prophet describes - and these people have been surprised - often pleasantly so - when I've directed them to evangelical sites and sources that demonstrate that not all evangelicals come out of that particular mould.

Sadly, however, these other groups are very vocal and tend to have a higher profile in the US than some of the more moderate evangelical groups or the kind of lefty evangelicalism that Cliffdweller espouses and represents.

It's one thing to deplore the rather stereotypical views that a Shipmate may express about a particular group or movement - but we have to understand why that Shipmate has come to that kind of conclusion. I'd suggest that this isn't necessarily the 'fault' of the Shipmate concerned, rather it's the impression they are picking up from the most dominant evangelical group within his/her purlieu.

One could easily pick up stereotypical views of any religious group - whether Protestant, Catholic or Orthodox if one was only exposed to a particularly variety or expression of that tradition on one's own doorstep.

This.

Unfortunately, my experience has been like that of NPs and Belle Ringer's. What's really sad is that, in a lot of cases, it's not just the only impression people get of US Evangelicals-it's the only impression they get of Christians period. Maybe this is more prevalent in some parts of the country (I'm in the Bible Belt too), but I have had to explain to people a number of times that I'm not "that kind of Christian", nor are most Christians I know. It's just that the ones who are are, like you said, more vocal.

I don't know how relevant some of you will find this, but here's a blog post from a former Evangelical whose experience closely fits mine (and I suspect BR's and Egeria's):

But Here's 5 Reasons Why American Evangelicalism Completely Lost Me

I think a lot of the perception some have of US Evangelicalism is because of point #1-that it's gotten into bed with politics so much that it looks more like a political movement than a religion. I think this is where the individualism and (pardon my terms) "screw the poor, they don't deserve crap because they obviously don't care to earn it" attitude BR mentioned comes from. Ditto the "you can't vote Democratic/support LGBT rights/be pro-choice/oppose war/etc" crap. The only explanation I can think of for this is that some conservative politicians (particularly Bush #2, although not only him) have claimed to be Christian. I'm sure some of them are, but for others it seems that "Christian","Jesus", "God" etc are buzzwords they use to get votes. Is this a cynical viewpoint? Yes. Screwed up? Yes. Perhaps I heard this stuff more often because I went to a big "science-and-technology" college and thus wasn't around as many ardent creationists or because I moderated forums with a lot of non- and ex-Christians (cliffdweller, you might remember Discuss Christianity from Bnet), but I can completely see why someone who only hears that side of things might be turned off. It's just that some people are taught not to question what they hear in church/Bible study/from certain talking heads, so they don't know that this isn't how the rest of the world 'does Christianity'. Once we start to, we often find ourselves leaving that culture. That's how it was for me, anyway. YMMV.

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cliffdweller
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quote:
Originally posted by Beautiful Dreamer:

I think a lot of the perception some have of US Evangelicalism is because of point #1-that it's gotten into bed with politics so much that it looks more like a political movement than a religion. I think this is where the individualism and (pardon my terms) "screw the poor, they don't deserve crap because they obviously don't care to earn it" attitude BR mentioned comes from. Ditto the "you can't vote Democratic/support LGBT rights/be pro-choice/oppose war/etc" crap. The only explanation I can think of for this is that some conservative politicians (particularly Bush #2, although not only him) have claimed to be Christian.

It predates both Bushes-- and even devout Democratic Christians like Jimmy Carter couldn't budge this variety (and yes, they are only one variety) of evangelical.

Jim Wallis places it correctly I believe in the pro-life movement of the 1980s. The fatal decision was made early on to hinge the entire movement to the GOP's pro-life platform. Never mind that they never did one single thing to actually act on that pro-life agenda (even, at times, opposing pro-life agenda if it came from the left). Never mind that their social/economic policies actually increased abortions while Democratic ones decreased abortions. No, pro-life evangelicals were persuaded to go all in for the GOP, even when that entailed looking the other way to a whole host of egregiously unChristian behavior. And all it cost the Bushes et al was a gratuitous line on a piece of paper.

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"Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don't be afraid." -Frederick Buechner

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Beautiful Dreamer
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I guess I saw it mostly with the Bushes because Bush #2 came along when I was at a crossroads in my life (just graduated college). But I know what you mean re: pro-life automatically going with GOP regardless of what actually happened when said party was in office. LOL I remember hearing about how Democrats (like me, then) were "helping the devil". I laugh because, like you said, it's not like the other party doesn't have its problems.

As much as a lot of Americans like to think our country does well, I feel like it's a huge mistake for the church to mix too much with *any* government because it seems that it's the church that suffers the most when they do. I just wish I knew how to find the right balance between faith and culture, because I know my ideas about God and the rest of the world can be colored badly by what I see around me at any given time. I know cynicism isn't the best trait for a Christian, but sometimes it gets the best of me.

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fausto
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quote:
Originally posted by Steve Langton:
Arminius, AIUI, thought of himself as a Calvinist....

This has led to quite a bit of misunderstanding in later discussions of "Calvinism". Both factions of the Synod of Dort belonged to the Reformed churches and looked to Calvin as the originator of their doctrines, although I'm not sure whether the term "Calvinist" had been coined yet. The winning faction at Dort that came to be called "Calvinist" was led by Franciscus Gomarus and advocated the more specific views of Calvin's follower Theodore Beza. At the time they were known as "Gomarists". The losing faction that advocated the views of Jacobus Arminius called themselves "Remonstrants" and were led by Simon Episcopius. So it might be more accurate and less confusing to speak of Arminians and Bezans, or Episcopians and Gomarists, rather than Arminians and Calvinists. (Although using the term "Episcopians" to refer to someone other than Episcopalians would presumably usher it its own new tangle of confusion.)

Incidentally the Dutch Remonstrant church still exists. They are in fellowship with other denominations of the European Liberal Protestant Network, and were one of the founding denominations of the World Council of Churches. In 2006 they adopted a new confession that I think is just beautiful:

We are aware and we affirm

that we do not find our peace in the certainty of what we confess,
but in wonder of what befalls us and what we are given;

that we do not find our destination in indifference and greed,
but in vigilance and in connection with all that lives;

that our existence is not fulfilled by who we are and what we possess,
but by what is infinitely greater than we can contain.


[further text removed for copyright considerations, may be found here]

[ 01. August 2015, 11:49: Message edited by: Eutychus ]

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"Truth did not come into the world naked, but it came in types and images. The world will not receive truth in any other way." Gospel of Philip, Logion 72

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Eutychus
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hosting/

In line with Ship practice, I have removed the rest of the text and substituted a link. For reasons of potential copyright infringement and a focus on user-generated content, please don't post the entire text of anything here. A link is quite sufficient.

/hosting

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Let's remember that we are to build the Kingdom of God, not drive people away - pastor Frank Pomeroy

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fausto
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quote:
Originally posted by no prophet's flag is set so...:
The connotation in general in Canada I think is that "evangelical" means socially conservative, tendency toward biblical literalism, life centred on personal responsibility, but almost always extended into the desire to re-form society within the 'good news' they fervently believe and follow, and a great desire to foist their ideas on others. They will tell me that Canada is a Christian country, something I had not noticed. They are prepared to sign petitions, donate to organizations aimed at what they term "traditional" things. Their church services feature bands, emotional speechifying, and often calls to the front to give hearts to Jesus (are minds included or excluded?). The whole package appears unthinking and unwilling to really discuss anything. I used to envy their certainty. But I saw that it hurts people.

They've found themselves with political infuecne in both USA and Canada, with Canadian politicians more shy about expressing themselves than Americans. They want tax cuts, reduced public spending, and have a strong focus on prosperity.

The same observations apply here in the USA too. I think it's by and large an accurate perception. It may not describe all evangelicals, as cliffdweller points out, but I think it does describe the largest proportion of them, not merely the loudest. (Cliffdweller, you know I love you, but even Rachel Held Evans no longer finds it possible to define herself as "evangelical". You sound a bit like me when I try to argue that we Unitarians are still Christian.)

In the USA anyway, a lot of them also distrust science and public education as inconsistent with biblical truth, and are prone to conflating religiosity with nationalism. There is a strong faction that sees the USA as possessing a new national covenant with God as His Chosen People.

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"Truth did not come into the world naked, but it came in types and images. The world will not receive truth in any other way." Gospel of Philip, Logion 72

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cliffdweller
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quote:
Originally posted by fausto:
The same observations apply here in the USA too. I think it's by and large an accurate perception. It may not describe all evangelicals, as cliffdweller points out, but I think it does describe the largest proportion of them, not merely the loudest. (Cliffdweller, you know I love you, but even Rachel Held Evans no longer finds it possible to define herself as "evangelical".

I think this is a bit of reverse "no true Scottsman"-- the name has become so besmirched by this loudly obnoxious contingent that yes, many/most younger believers who meet the Bebbington definition simply don't want to be known by that name anymore. Understandable.

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venbede
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There’s an odd thing that historically in the UK, evangelicals and their predecessors the puritans (with the exception of Anglican evangelicals) were associated with what we’d now call the left, from the Commonwealth to the Tolpuddle Martyrs and onwards.

End of tangent.

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Gamaliel
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At the risk of a tangent, I'm sorry Steve, but your subsequent comments following my previous post on this thread only served - to my mind - to emphasise and underline the point I was trying to make - that certain kinds of Calvinist tend to see the world, and the word of God, in their own image.

Their own take on the scriptures must be the biblical one - and anyone else's is somehow less biblical than theirs.

Other Christian traditions don't have the Calvinist/Arminian divide that Protestant does - the Orthodox and the Copts have been reading those self-same scriptures for centuries without coming to Calvinist or Arminian conclusions on these issues.

I'm not saying they are right or wrong, simply that it's perfectly possible to derive a completely different understanding from those verses in Romans and elsewhere to the interpretation that you or Cliffdweller or anyone else within a Protestant paradigm might have done.

You are also way wide of the mark on George Whitefield and his relationship to Anglicanism.

Neither Whitefield nor Wesley would have seen themselves as setting up something that would become an alternative to Anglicanism. They both wished to remain within the framework of the Church of England 'by law established'.

Neither of them would have regarded what they were doing in any way incompatible with that.

You are reading back subsequent developments with the benefit of hindsight - neither Whitefield nor Wesley could have foreseen that the 'connexions' and 'religious societies' they founded and nurtured would part company with the Church of England.

Selina, Countess of Huntingdon didn't separate from the CofE until 1779, nine years after Whitefield's death.

Sure, the seeds were sown earlier and it was probably only a matter of time before the Countess of Huntingdon's 'connexion' and Wesley's 'societies' separated from the Established Church but such separation was the last thing that either Whitefield or Wesley envisaged.

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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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# 812

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@Venbede, I think that would have been the case in the US too - until relatively recently.

At the risk of a tangent, what we've seen in the US is the Democrats and Republicans effectively doing a 360-degree turn since the middle of the 19th century to the point where they each now occupy the ground that the other used to ...

Ok, ok, I know that's a highly simplified 'take' and version of events ... but back in the day I get the impression that some forms of US evangelicalism were more associated with Democratic politics than Republican ones ...

Cliffdweller would know more about that than I do - but as recently as the Presidency of Jimmy Carter - a Southern Baptist I believe - the whole 'born-again' thing in the US wasn't necessarily associated with the Good Old Party.

It isn't now, of course - at least, not completely - but the over-riding impression we get is that US evangelicalism IS the Republican Party at prayer ...

Mind you, from what I've seen on-line the Republicans seem to the party of choice for very conservative RCs and Orthodox too ...

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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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Baptist Trainfan
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quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
What we've seen in the US is the Democrats and Republicans effectively doing a 360-degree turn since the middle of the 19th century to the point where they each now occupy the ground that the other used to ...

That's a 180-degree turn. Your sort would have brought them back to where they started.
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Arethosemyfeet
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quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:

Cliffdweller would know more about that than I do - but as recently as the Presidency of Jimmy Carter - a Southern Baptist I believe - the whole 'born-again' thing in the US wasn't necessarily associated with the Good Old Party.

It isn't now, of course - at least, not completely - but the over-riding impression we get is that US evangelicalism IS the Republican Party at prayer ...

Mind you, from what I've seen on-line the Republicans seem to the party of choice for very conservative RCs and Orthodox too ...

That change has a lot to do with the deliberate weaponisation of the abortion debate.
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cliffdweller
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quote:
Originally posted by Baptist Trainfan:
quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
What we've seen in the US is the Democrats and Republicans effectively doing a 360-degree turn since the middle of the 19th century to the point where they each now occupy the ground that the other used to ...

That's a 180-degree turn. Your sort would have brought them back to where they started.
Yes. Like me, Gamaliel's knowledge of theology and church history is better than his math.

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"Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don't be afraid." -Frederick Buechner

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