Is There an Evangelical Center?

In the Washington Times, Julia Duin ponders that question in her article, “Evangelicals ponder Dobson’s successor: New generation looks for leader.

It has been interesting watching the shift in power: Franklin Graham is no Billy Graham; the Coral Ridge Hour simply shows reruns of the late D. James Kennedy’s sermons; and Robert Schuller Sr. fired Robert Schuller Jr. from the Crystal Cathedral.

“It’s a changing of the guard,” said Brian McLaren, 52, cited in 2005
by Time magazine as one of the 25 most influential evangelicals in

“There is a possibility the religious right will collapse on itself.

Or someone will articulate a new religious center. The evangelical
community has been slowly diversifying, and there may not be a center

No surprise, Richard Land doesn’t agree:

“Anyone who thinks evangelicals are going away as a social force is smoking something illegal.”

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  • Kimberly Ervin Alexander

    Land’s analogy is interesting…..

  • If nothing else, I find the tone of the responses interesting. McLaren’s is gracious and thoughtful. Lands is argumentative and aggressive. And the SBC wonders why they are losing members…

  • Two thoughts:
    Why does the lack of a “center” connote the utter demise of evangelicalism as a “social force”? I think Land is overreacting on that point.
    And the “religious right,” of which Brian speaks, does not make up the entirety of evangelicalism. Let’s be clear about that!
    Anyway, thanks for posting the link to the article, Tony. Checking it out …

  • nathan

    I appreciate Steve K.’s comment.
    Why is it that everytime evangelicals get critiqued or even obliquely observed in anything other than a sycophantic “you are the only hope for anything good to happen” tone that people are declaring the “demise” of evangelicalism?

  • Your Name

    The evangelical church is definiely falling apart, and Emerging philosophy will eventually reduce it to only a remnant. This is so very much in-line with scripture in so many places – the path IS narrow and few will find it. As the emergent church continues to reinvent, redefine, deconstruct, and eventually CONSTRUCT, the end product will be an idol of self-worship where we’re all gods. Many will be lead to this because many crave the world. The truth will become vile and defiled with graffiti that proclaims that it’s mean-spirited, inclusive, homophobic, close-minded, old fashioned. Few will even have an opportunity to hear the truth as it will be replaced with a rediculous “conversation” where the motto is “if it’s good for you, then it’s good for me”. The emergent church will never be finished emerging. New and even more radical “philosophers” (oh, please) will emerge on to the scene. I’m so grateful to Jesus when he said, with his last words, “It’s Finished”. Emerging wisdom is God’s foolishness.

  • Tony Arens

    Ooops – forgot my name

  • i thought we had this all sorted for us a year or two ago.. the center of evangelical orthodoxy is D. A. Carson.

  • I think if you do the analysis, the idea of Evangelicalism needing a point person is linked to the idea of the Roman Catholic Church having a pope. There is no Protestant Pope however, and while some in history — like Billy Graham — have epitomized Evangelical Christianity for the masses, scanning the horizon looking for the next such leader is as futile as asking if there will ever be another Beatles. While Julia Duin’s article demonstrates a good working knowledge of the Church, with exhaustive research, the point is that there is indeed a whole new generation of new authors and pastors already serving large segments of the Evangelical community, but flying below the radar of mainstream media. Sadly, a church that is simply running video of their late founder’s sermons is worshiping its glorious past and not giving those next generation leaders a chance to be heard.

  • Benjamin

    yes the times are changing
    and always will
    but The Father, The Son, and the Spirit will always be THE SAME yesterday today and forever. We cannot boast all encomapassing knowledge of the divine, but always rest our intelect and hearts on the truths of scripture.
    God is not served by human hands, nor does he dwell in buildings. that includes post-modern theology and progressive philosophy.