Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Younger Evangelicals

I'm in the second of three books I need to finish by the time class starts in June. The Younger Evangelicals: Facing the Challenges of the New World by Robert E. Webber is a challenging read, but it's been good so far. I'm still trying to decide what I think about it. I read tonight this summary of the differences in theology between fundamentalist evangelicals, pragmatic evangelicals, and what Webber describes as the younger evangelicals, the next generation of evangelical church leaders. Tell me if this resonates with you:

"The younger evangelical is at odds with the traditional and pragmatic evangelical when it comes to theological method. The method of the traditionalist [fundamentalist] is to treat theology as a science, subject, as all other sciences are, to the empirical method. Through an analysis of the data of revelation, one could be brought to propositional truth. Theology, the traditionalist says, is a system of objective truth understood by the mind. The pragmatists, on the other hand, are not theologians and care little for the nuances of theological thinking. They tend to reduce theology to Christianity 101 to make it clear and understandable to the seeker.
"The younger evangelical sees theology as the way to understand the world. It is an understanding based on the biblical narrative. This is the approach to faith that has captured the postmodern mind. Postmoderns have abandoned the modern worldview in which the supremacy of interpretation is given to science. In this context younger evangelicals are calling on us to see the world primarily through the Christian story. They believe in the God revealed in the great events of creation, incarnation, and re-creation, interpreted first by the prophets and apostles in Scripture, protected in creeds, and handed down to us in the worship of the church. This is the growing vision of the younger evangelical, a vision that stands within the historic confession of faith. Theology is not a science but a reflection of God's community on the narrative of God's involvement in history as found in the story of Israel and Jesus."

These are broad strokes in a much more complex issue, but do you see this in your church experience?

No comments: