Evangelicalism Is Dead. Long Live Evangelicalism.

Jimmy Spencer, Jr. followed up his initial prediction of the coming evangelical split with a longer post in which he more fully articulated the differing coalitions that he sees forming in evangelicalism; he calls them Traditional Evangelicals and Progressive Evangelicals. The core issues he describes that define the rift between the two are certainly real and legitimate, but, as I've said, talking about the divide simply in terms of methodology and theology continues to conceptualize it as a problem of the American church. It is much bigger than this. Keeping his terms, however, I believe Traditional Evangelicals are those who will continue to understand evangelicalism through the Americanized lens. It is up to us on the other side then, Progressive or post-evangelicals, to do what they cannot—to see Christianity through a global lens, to understand that it is bigger than we've allowed it to be.

So I'm back to calling myself post-evangelical. That is to say, I seek to make mine a post-Americanized Christianity. Traditional Evangelicals will continue to live the Americanized version, along the way mistaking patriotism for piety. It is from the United States' position as a global power that they view the world. Meanwhile, Christianity, and evangelicalism in particular, will continue to grow and evolve throughout the world, especially in places where people are suffering. Whether there is ever a split or merely continued erosion, ultimately, doesn't matter; when we look outside our borders, it is clear: the next evangelicalism has already arrived.

4/19/2011 4:00:00 AM
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    About Jonathan Fitzgerald
    Jonathan D. Fitzgerald is the managing editor of Patrolmag.com, and writes on the various manifestations of Christianity in culture. Follow him on Twitter or at his website, www.jonathandfitzgerald.com.