Mainliners are not the only ones worrying about an eroding theological identity. A group of evangelical theologians recently produced a 3,000-word document designed to present the evangelical understanding of the gospel and to identify some of the ways evangelicals have distorted or misconstrued the good news.
The LA Times has an interesting article
about evangelical pastors' involvement in political mobilization. Tom Hamburger
and Matea Gold don't do enough to prove their now-more-than-ever hook--that
pastors whipping votes in Iowa and elsewhere are "part of a growing movement of
evangelical pastors who are jumping into the electoral fray as never
before"--but it's still an important story to follow as we slog through yet
another election season in which the religious right is still not dead.
In a time of great angst regarding identity, the evangelical theological community has begun to wrestle as never before with what it means to be "evangelical." What exactly is the heart and core of the evangelical witness? What are the boundaries around authentic evangelical confession? Exactly what is it that one must affirm in order to be considered truly evangelical?
Since starting seminary I've had the opportunity to read
through the Old Testament with a thoroughness I haven't used since my
evangelical youth group days. While building biblical literacy is something
evangelicals do very well, reading the Old Testament now reminds me how my context
shaped how I read the Bible. And it all had to do with sex.
It takes a certain level of self-deception to be a lukewarm evangelical. Intense piety is in the tradition’s DNA. The need for not only a conversion experience but a life in which the gospel is internalized and alive and demonstrated in the world has given evangelicalism an impressive vitality.