Gerald McDermott on The Emerging Divide in Evangelical Theology

Here’s the introduction:

Imagine the scene. Ancient Jerusalem is at war. Its army is fighting far away. Behind the city walls, its old men, women and children nervously await word on what happened in battle. Their lives and future are at stake. Suddenly, a cry rings out from the sentries watching from the look-out points on top of the wall. “Your God reigns..” A rider approaching the wall has signaled victory. The whole city explodes in celebration. The word “evangelical” comes from this Hebrew idea of announcing the good news that God now reigns with power and grace.

This essay will argue that while evangelical theology has come into its own in recent decades, it is also deeply divided. One branch contributes to the development of historic orthodoxy, while another follows a trail blazed by Protestant liberals. The future will probably see further distance between these two kinds of theology, with one perhaps becoming “evangelical” in name only. I will begin the essay by outlining recent successes, and the ways in which evangelical theologians since the 1970s have understood their own distinctives. Part II will uncover the divisions in today’s evangelical theology, and Part III will highlight the doctrines that evangelical theology is re-examining. I will conclude with projections for the future (Part IV).

It’s really worth a read.


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