By Garwood Anderson, professor of New Testament at Nashotah House, and author of a new book on Paul: Paul’s New Perspective: Charting a Soteriological Journey (and it’s not a new perspective perspective).
I’m an evangelical (I think I am) surrounded by former and might-be evangelicals. An enduring question for at least some of us is whether we still think of ourselves as evangelicals — what is gained and lost in doing so. And that question is actually two questions disguised as one: whether we indeed aspire to be evangelicals and, if so, whether the label retains any utility in describing however it is that we like to think of ourselves.
Anyone interested in the American religious scene will know that “evangelical” is a disputed category and that it is likely to remain so for the foreseeable future. In fact, it is almost certain to remain a disputed category long after it remains a coherent category. To invoke “evangelical” is to speak of at least three phenomena or some combination thereof:
- a contemporary subculture
- a historical movement
- a kind of churchmanship.
There is no answering the “evangelical question” apart from such distinctions or something like them.
To finish the essay by Garwood Anderson, go here.