7 thoughts on “Younger Evangelicals: At War with the Culture Wars”

  1. The questions here are ones that keep me up at night. I feel like if their is a war going on, then it is not one that I want or have asked for (on any count). My statement has become: I love Christ, I love the Church, I affirm the creeds, and I desire to live a life that honors all three. I am dedicated to the teachings of scripture and committed to attempting to live out the story presented within.

    My concern, then, is not so much scriptural or theological as it is pastoral or missiological. The conditions on the ground have changed, and it is imperative for the church to not just react, but proactively deal with these changes.

    The good news is that over the past century we have made tremendous strides in understanding and refining the mission and purpose of those in the field. The post-colonial strategies within the global south have paid huge dividends and have ignited those areas for Christ. We have the tech. We have the know-how. We have the theology. We just need the will to go there.

    I think of my place in America not as the member of a dominant power structure, but a missionary on the field. Gone are the easy Christendom days, and chances are they would not be back.

    Last year I had the chance to sit down with Glenn Hatcher, who heads the training program for Globe Missions. He had a great comment. In 2005 he returned to America from the Middle East, and he stated that he came back unconcerned about the fate of his native country. After all he had just spent 15 years watching the Gospel take root in a far more arid soul. Yet as he talked with friends and co-laborers he noticed that rather than rolling up their sleeves to meet the challenge, they were content to sitting around their pretty but vacant building cursing and moaning the vacancy.

    For me and others in the Younger / Post Evangelical movement I sense a group of people ready to roll up their sleeves and get to work. For many the attitude seems to be that if it does not aid the mission of converting (re-converting) those on the field, it needs to be rethought and re-purposed. Yes, this may mean doing things differently. Yes, it may mean giving up the fight on some fronts. But I have taken to calling this Strategic Redeployment (some of the French theologians of the last century called it resourcement). It is moving the fight to where it can be won.

    Yet I also admit to feeling a little like my mentor John Wimber in the 1980s. John has said that he was committed to looking like a fool if it meant aiding the Gospel; yet he never realized that it would be the church, itself, that branded him as such. John put some new ideas and methods into action, and was enormously successful with them. Yet he was asked to leave the church for which he worked, because, “we don’t do things that way.” He was not the first “accidental” church founder, one might argue that what happened then also happened to greats such as Luther, or Wesley. My hope is that we are not at a similar junction. My prayer is that those within mainline Evangelicalism can see us for who we are: people passionate about using all available means to bring reconciliation and peace to the chaos of the world. Wouldn’t it be sad if we bring some peace to secular America, only to see war with sacred America.

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