What is Traditional Evangelical Thought?

Deep calls to Deep – A New Kind of Christian asks

“How old does something? have to be to be considered traditional?……Traditions can be a few years old, as some of our family Christmas traditions are, such as opening stockings on the bed, or they can stretch back several thousand years. An awful lot of traditions that we hold to though simply stretch back a few generations or a few hundred years, but have become in the minds of us who hold them, truths for all time.”

So far, fair enough. I have been deliberately vague in my definition of this concept for the aggregator– but I think we all know what I mean dont we?

Deep goes to Deep then goes on to rather muddy the water by saying “I would argue that much of the emerging church exploration is not about modifying traditional evangelical thought, but rather about recovering traditional evangelical thought.”

Now my question would be, just sticking to the issue that got my fires going on this one- penal substitution- please show me the traditional Evangelical who didn’t believe in this. Note I do not say Christian, I say Evangelical.

This is a debate from both sides about what it means to be an evangelical. Steve Chalke and others themselves upped the stakes by accusing traditional evangelicals of preaching “cosmic child abuse”. Since the vast majoirty of Evangelicals have held to this view why is it that so many of these Emergent folk would rather still identify themselves with Evangelicals? Why are they surprised by our offence at such absolute statements as “Penal Substitution is plain wrong”?

Who do they think they are to be able to re-define what an evangelical is? Clearly they are entitled to believe whatever they like but for a “post-modern” group some of them seem rather intolerant of those who happen to hold a different view to them.

I do think that they have much more in common with the liberals than the evangelicals. It remains a mystery to me that people with these views would not be happy to be called neo-liberals.

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