The Dones, Rob Bell, and the Future of Progressive (and Evangelical) Christianity

Photo: Brett Thatcher, Creative Commons 4.0 via #InstaBLAM

A few days ago I wrote a piece on my personal blog about "Graduating." It was partly a reflection on the story of Rob Bell and how it resonates with my own. It was also about the "Dones" and "post-church" category and how I identify not with the category itself, but with certain elements of the category even as I carve out my own path ahead.I am "done" - with evangelical church as usual. I'm done with any ministry obligation to that category and identity. I can't do it anymore, and neither c … [Read more...]

3 Kinds of Evangelicals (Whether They Want That Label or Not)

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Rachel Held Evans's new book Searching For Sunday (see my interview with the author here) has sparked a good deal of speculation over what constitutes an evangelical, and whether or not Rachel is one. Without getting into all the details of this particular situation (because just, no), I'd like to propose 3 kinds of evangelicals that I am observing in the U.S. Christian conversation - whether the folks I'm describing would self-identify with that label or not, and whether the folks I'm desc … [Read more...]

How to Be Evangelical After World Vision: The Code

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As Trevin Wax at The Gospel Coalition and the excommunication-by-farewell trend have made clear, evangelical has become code for a couple Utterly Important Things:Hell: i.e., totally for it.Homosexuality: i.e., obsessively against it.Sure, there are some underlying principles there like Penal Substitutionary Atonement Is The Gospel Or Else (which supports Hell) and the Bible Read Superficially Without Factoring In Historical Context Is Inerrant Or Else (which wars against H … [Read more...]

How to Be Evangelical After World Vision: I Mean, Why?

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In my first post on how to be evangelical after World Vision, I admittedly assumed something. Namely, that anyone would actually want to be evangelical after World Vision.I mean, why?Why would we even want to carry on this label, if the loudest voices driving the popular perception of "evangelical" are the conservative gatekeepers who have fully farewelled the centrist/nuanced, progressive, and emergence voices?Why not just adopt the more generalized "progressive Christian" or p … [Read more...]

How to Be Evangelical After World Vision: The Principle

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When several friends had a conference call with World Vision CEO Richard Stearns and found out that 10,000 child sponsorships had been dropped in the course of one week, I wept. I know there are all kinds of counter-arguments out there to the effect that the kids will be fine because money is pooled into one budget and besides there are a million other faith-based NGO's that do the same thing and it's all just a bunch of progressive political outrage, ad infinitum, etcetera. And I'm quite … [Read more...]

Demonstrating the State of Evangelicalism Today

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Today, Thom Rainer posted a list of the "twenty most influential evangelicals in America." In light of the recent World Vision controversy, I think this list demonstrates precisely what is wrong with evangelicalism in America, at least as it is perceived and defined by most people - both insiders and outsiders. Namely, it is limited to those who are publicly conservative in their politics, against legal gay marriage (and hiring married gay people to do charity work, apparently), and limited in … [Read more...]

Pluralistic Society is the Answer, For the World Today

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When I was little there was a popular CCM song called "Jesus is the Answer." Maybe you remember it. The chorus went, simply: Jesus is the AnswerFor the world todayAbove him there's no otherJesus is the Way. The song became something of a rallying cry for the burgeoning post-Jesus Movement evangelical right, with implications for both saving souls and enacting righteous legislation. Yes, Jesus is the Answer for every down-and-out lost person who needs to get saved. And he's also the … [Read more...]

Three Reasons You’re Not Too Smart for Orthodoxy

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In my experiences within both conservative and progressive Christian circles, there seems to be a kind of mutual playing in the politics of fear with regard to the other. On the conservative side, progressives are viewed as morally bankrupt libertine weaklings who lack the backbone to stand up to "the culture." In the words of one famous conservative preacher, this is because they are a bunch of ivory tower elites who are "educated beyond their intelligence."But on the progressive side, the … [Read more...]

I Believe in the Gospel, and in Good People

I've spent my entire life so far in the church, mainly evangelical churches of one kind or another.I've also spent the last ten or so years in active ministry in a few different church environments - conservative Baptist, missional church plant, and, now, mainline Methodist.And one hard lesson I've learned on this journey (among a whole hell of a lot of hard lessons) is that not all Christians are good people.In fact, some of them are really bad.(Yeah, you read that … [Read more...]

I’m Probably Right About the New Religious Right

A few months ago, I left a comment on the well-read blog of a friend (and hero) - and got into a little bit of trouble.I suggested that the neo-reformed movement - the "Young, Restless, and Reformed" that emerged a decade or so ago and have consolidated most notably into The Gospel Coalition, segments of the PCA, Southern Seminary and segments of the SBC, and Mark Driscoll's Acts 29 network - is giving rise to a new religious right in the U.S.I was immediately, and gently, corrected by … [Read more...]


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