Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Post- Evangelical

In addition to the daily grind of reading for college (currently Anglicanism) I have taken Lent to embark on reading some of the books that have sat on my bookshelf for sometime. I have just read Dave Tomlinson's Post-Evangelical:

It was timely as I completed last term's module on Issues in Modern Theology (Post modernism, inter-religious dialogue, etc). It is a fairly old book now and so has lost some of the controversy that it had at it's publication, though it is still a discussion which is ongoing. 

The question of retelling the gospel is entrusted to each generation, this means not altering it to fit but asking what is distinctive about this good news so we can tell it to this generation without watering down or misrepresenting it.

Jesus's words today are still powerful and transformational, Dave Tomlinson's point is that being post-evangelical today is being true to scripture and Christ but not to mindless doctrines. Anyone who has studied any theology will realise that the authority of scripture is pivotal to this whole discussion and therefore this is touched upon though briefly. Tomlinson is saying that many have found faith through evangelical churches proclamation of the gospel but after some time they find that they are faced with issues which are not answered by black and white statements which are given from the front. There is very little ground for questioning.

All this is really just an introduction to a debate which is now raging in full and has moved on to the emergent church. It is a good point of introduction, the follow up addition of essays led by Graham Cray provides further material to think on.

Finally what is interesting about this book is looking at the "new" generation of evangelical leaders. These are now dated and I would question if they have quite as much influence as previous evangelical leaders. Due to the way evangelicals have grown in size there are many competing voices. One thing I have faced in an evangelical tradition is a suspicion of Theology, which as a graduate from a "secular" university and
as an ordinand I find quite frustrating. The questions I faced at uni and now again are the ones that most people face at some point. In my questioning it has led me back to scripture and prayer rather than away from God. 

I do not have all the answers and I certainly don't want to throw out my heritage. I guess that this is what formation is all about! 

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