Monday, September 22, 2008

“Assumed Evangelicalism” by David Gibson

    One of the best biblical theology websites out there is http://beginnningwithmoses.org. Today a new article was posted by David Gibson, one of the editors. It is entitled "Assumed Evangelicalism: Some Reflections en route to denying the Gospel." After briefly describing the general pattern of movements as proclaiming the gospel, assuming the gospel, and eventually denying the gospel, he sets out to describe evangelicalism as it appears to be following this pattern. Assumed evangelicalism:

"believes and signs up to the gospel. It certainly does not deny the gospel. But in terms of priorities, focus, and direction, assumed evangelicalism begins to give gradually increasing energy to concerns other than the gospel and key evangelical distinctives, to gradually elevate secondary issues to a primary level, to be increasingly worried about how it is perceived by others and to allow itself to be increasingly influenced both in content and method by the prevailing culture of the day."

    From there he goes on to ask two questions to enable us to identify which phase (proclaimed, assumed, denied) best describes ourselves and our ministries:

  1. To what extent does the gospel dictate our priorities in life, and the visions and strategies of our churches, movements and institutions?
  2. To what extent do the key features of evangelicalism dictate our priorities in life, and the visions and strategies of our churches, movements and institutions?

Gibson has helpfully and concisely summarized many of the concerns that I have had as I have watched certain trends in evangelicalism. I strongly encourage you to read the whole thing.

5 comments:

Eljabo said...

Interesting article. I appreciate the recognition by Gibson that the problems with current evangelicalism, if there are any, are extremely subtle. Therefore, I would add that the problems are that much more dangerous.

danny2 said...

i thought the article was tremendous.

i see "assumption" everywhere and with many churches i interact with. unfortunately, the response is almost always defensiveness and anger.

i know that this is probably due to my over zealous presentation of my concern. too many times, i have not handled it with the grace and humility i should.

the assumption bothers me, but what i can't understand is the response after the assumption is pointed out. typically, i've received a response which suggests "certainly we could articulate the gospel, but that would just waste time, we've got vision/strategy to discuss."

it just seems that many pastors don't embrace the gospel for sanctification as well as justification.

danny2 said...

oh, by the way. thanks for plugging that site too. looks like a great resource!

Nate said...

Fantastic link! Thanks for doing the legwork. To my shame, I should be frequenting BWM more often.

This just magnifies the value of your 10-week class on the Gospel! Thanks for serving our body, brother.

Zach Doppelt said...

By the way, if anyone was wondering who in the world "eljabo" is, she is my wife's old college friend who came in town to visit her, logged on to our computer and blogger site, and did not log out. So, the earlier comment was mine. What is funny, is that if you went on her blog, you would quickly find she does not share Shannon and I's conservative evangelical Grace Brethren viewpoints at all, and would not make such a comment...