Southern Baptists and Evangelism: Identifying what is not the problem…

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Leading up to the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention in Baltimore earlier this month was a flurry of discussion among pastors, bloggers, academicians, church planters, and other Southern Baptists concerning the continued decline in numbers for the denomination as a whole. This conversation has continued since then and many have come out of the online woodwork to chime in with their opinions as what factors are contributing to this unfortunate trend. Continue reading

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Fundamentalists, Evangelicals, Liberals, and Everything in Between: Final Thoughts

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In my previous two posts, I talked about a growing trend that I believe is taking place in which present-day evangelicals who maintain strong solidarity with the original heritage of the movement are experiencing what their fundamentalist counterparts  originally encountered. Namely, they are seeing many departing their ranks because of significant disagreements. The only difference being that whereas mid-20th century evangelicals parted ways with fundamentalists mainly over matters of cultural engagement and trans-denominational cooperation, today the rifts appear to be emerging primarily over doctrinal matters. Continue reading

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Fundamentalists, Evangelicals, Liberals, and Everything in Between: Part 2

Rev-Billy-GrahamIn my previous post, I claimed that the evangelical project here in the United States has resulted in a splintered theological landscape. And as time continues, I observed that eventually evangelicals of the more conservative bent will be forced to form new breeds of cooperative networks so as to latch onto certain cherished theological loci and thus preserve a certain solidarity among various Protestants who share a kindred spirit. As this occurs, and I would say it is already underway, I do not think these evangelicals will consider themselves as budding Fundamentalists of a different stripe. Instead I think they will be perceived that way and labeled as such by other professing evangelicals who will continue to move to the theological left. Continue reading

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Fundamentalists, Evangelicals, Liberals, and Everything in Between: Part 1

evangelicalWhat does it mean today in our increasingly pluralistic culture when someone adopts the term Fundamentalist, Evangelical, or Liberal (or Moderate, Progressive) to describe their vantage point of the Christian faith? Well in decades gone by, there were certain commitments and perspectives of praxis that were represented by these distinct labels. This is not to say that definitions were always clear cut and immune from debate. But in retrospect, historians and theologians of all stripes do share a bit of consensus regarding the views for which these labels stood in the past. As time has progressed, however, these terms have become much more blurry because the theological climate of Christian thought has diverged into so many finely nuanced directions to the point that sometimes the ideologies of these guilds actually intersect. And sometimes this can lead to positive outcomes while in other instances, it can be disastrous. Continue reading

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