Whitecastle GenOrtho Study – Week 1

WHY I AM EVANGELICAL
A Generous Orthodoxy – Chapter 6

MAIN CONCEPT Two Understandings of Evangelical 1. The Popular Understanding: p128, par. 2 – p129, par. 4 The term Evangelical has become popularly synonymous with people who are sectarian, judgmental, isolated, critical, luddite. The term Evangelical has become politically synonymous with two other concepts which are becoming increasingly derogatory: the Religious Right and religious Fundamentalism. 2. The Understanding Espoused by McLaren: p129, par. 3 – p130, par. 2 Evangelical/evangelical split. The word evangelical can have positive connotations including High respect for the Bible, an Emphasis on personal conversion, the belief that God can be experienced intimately or in a relational way, a desire to share their faith with others and an attitude of passion and courage. Two Understandings Resolved (by Essential Evangelicalism) “Yes I know that when evangelicals start acting like Evangelicals, they can become less loving and more judgmental, less involved and more isolated, less compassionate and more critical, less passionate and more anxious, less generous and more controlling. But that shift is a betrayal of evangelical faith, not a consequence of it. When evangelicals are being true to their identity, they do whatever it takes to express their love for God and God’s love for their neighborshowever unconventional and innovative their methods might be.” - p131, par. 2 The life of Jim Bakker, a once popular Evangelical Christian figure and televangelist is a great example of the tension that McLaren is talking about. Still a controversial figure in American Evangelicalism and popular culture after being indicted on multiple counts of fraud, conspiracy and accounting irregularities, Bakker’s son wrote in his book Son of a Preacher, “The world at large has focused on my parents' preaching of prosperity, but...I heard a different message — one of forgiveness and the abundance of God's love. I remember my dad always seating a mentally handicapped man in the front row and hugging him. And when vandals burned an African American church down, Dad made sure its parishioners got the funds to rebuild. His goal was to make PTL a place where anyone with a need could walk in off the streets and have that need met.

OTHER CONCEPTS 1. Conservatism and Liberalism in Evangelical Circles Evangelicals tend to be theologically and politically conservative while being methodologically and traditionally liberal, i.e. less concerned about how it has been done” and more concerned with how it can be done. 2. The Post-Movement: P133, par. 1

QUESTIONS 1. McLaren think the fundamentals are “loving God and loving neighbors” (page 129). What are your fundamentals and why? 2. What has been your experience of evangelicals or Evangelicals? 3. What do you see as positive in evangelicalism that you would like as part of your life? 4. In what areas of your life, if any, could you use more passion or courage? 5. Does McLaren’s portrait of Evangelicals/evangelicals seem unfair to you in any way, or does it leave out anything you think is important? If so, what would you say differently? 6. Do you consider yourself Evangelical/evangelical?

Whitecastle GenOrtho Study – Week 1

FURTHER READING Chapter 2 – just when we thought we had all the answers in Tomlinson’s The Post-Evangelical. WORKS REFERENCED IN CHAPTER 6: Younger Evangelicals, Webber The Post-Evangelical, Tomlinson NAME DROPPING Robert Webber, late theologian and professor known for highlighting convergence between evangelical and liturgical Christian worship George Whitefield, Anglican, co-founder of Methodist movement and revival preacher during the Great Awakening in America in the 1800s Wesley Brothers, also Anglican co-founders of Methodism, led in areas of social reform and lay preaching Charles Fuller, American radio evangelist and founder of Fuller Theological Seminary Bill Bright, evangelist and founder of Campus Crusade for Christ James Kennedy, televangelist and founder of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Florida Jim Bakker, Muskegon Michigan native, former prosperity theology adherent, former AOG minister, televangelist of the PTL club Pat Robertson, televangelist, founder of CBN, political figure, founder of Regent College Larry Norman, considered founder of Christian rock music, associated with Jesus People movement Rick Warren, senior pastor of Saddleback Church and author of A Purpose Driven Life Bill Hybels, Kalamazoo Michigan native, senior pastor of Willow Creek Church, associated with the Seeker Sensitive movement in American Churches Dave Tomlinson, Anglican pastor and former leader of Holy Joe’s, an alt worship community that meets in a London pub.

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