Skip to main content

View Diary: The Slow Death of American Evangelical Christianity: Part II (16 comments)

Comment Preferences

  •  Evangelicalism or fundamentalism? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DJ Rix

    What is actually being talked about here?

    Evangelicalism is generally characterized by the belief that one needs to be "born again" of the Holy Spirit, that one's faith is very focused on the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, that the Bible as formulated in the AD393 Synod of Hippo with some OT modifications during the Reformation is inerrant**, and that one should witness to one's faith in some way (through social activism and/or proselytizing) although one's salvation is granted by grace and not good works.

    One can be an evangelicalist without believing in Satan, voting Republican, eschewing secularism, voting against LGBT rights, etc. There are plenty of politically moderate to liberal Northern and Independent Baptists, Evangelical Lutherans, United Methodists, and other Christians who embrace the concept of being born again.

    I think the people quoted in this diary are talking about Christian fundamentalism, which tends toward embrace of the impossible-to-define and impossible-to-follow belief in Biblical literalism (as distinguished from inerrancy).

    If indeed Americans are tiring of sects that promote their own cherry-picked brand of Biblical literalism, I'm all fer it, but I sure don't see it down here in the South where larger communities have conservative, wealthy mega-churches a Methodist friend of mine calls Six Flags Over Jesus.

    **Inerrancy is the belief that the books of the OT and NT agreed to in the Synod of Hippo, read and interpreted as a WHOLE with the understanding that much of the texts are allegory, poetry, social commentary, and political exhortation, is a divinely inspired and sure doorway to living in right relationship with God.

    Fight them to the end, until the children of the poor eat better than the dogs of the rich.

    by raincrow on Tue Dec 10, 2013 at 09:40:39 AM PST

    •  Christian belief is a spectrum (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      & even in the most conservative churches the folks in the pews don't necessarily buy whole cloth what the preacher in the pulpit is selling. There is always much confusion over this at Kos, where many kossacks prefer sharply drawn ideological / doctrinal categories & try to make reality conform to them.

      "There ain't no sanity clause." Chico Marx

      by DJ Rix on Tue Dec 10, 2013 at 10:09:25 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  What is an Evangelical (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      According to the Institute for the Study of American Evangelicals at Wheaton College, the term "evangelical‘ is itself 'a wide-reaching definitional canopy‘ that covers a diverse number of Protestant groups."  Noted religious scholar David Bebbington holds that the evangelical adheres to four core tenets. These include Crucientrism, whereby particular focus is placed on the doctrine of substitutional atonement; Biblicism, in which the Bible is placed at the center of corporate worship; Conversionism, a belief which asserts the need for each individual to convert to Christianity in order to achieve eternal salvation; and finally Activism, in which evangelicals openly and actively proclaim the Lord‘s "Good News."  Alister McGrath adds another widely accepted tenet, namely Christocentrism, which holds that God‘s eternal "Word" became human in the flesh of Jesus Christ who went on to reveal God to all humanity.  Collectively, these five tenets are widely regarded as the defining beliefs of the evangelical Christian.  

      Likewise, evangelicals are a theologically diverse collective encompassing countless denominations, many thousands of congregations, and nearly one out of every five Americans.  As it has been correctly noted, the term 'evangelical Christian,' is somewhat vague.  When I make reference to it, I am looking to the technical definition provided above, and also invoking the sense of a so-called 'imagined community' community as conceived by Benedict Anderson.


      In the United States, political scientists have come to view evangelicals as an important voting bloc in their own right. Occasionally referred to as the "evangelical bloc," or the "evangelical voting bloc," this segment of the population is more commonly identified as the "Christian Right." Culturally speaking, the Christian Right is a political movement of conservative, mostly evangelical Christians and Christian organizations, which despite various denominational differences, have coalesced around certain political issues, such as opposition to abortion and gay rights, the teaching of evolution in public schools, and, more generally, the perceived secularization of American society.

      I believe it is important to keep this in mind to, as over the past 30 or so years, American evangelicalism has not been without its political agenda.

      •  This wide-reaching definition should, I'd (0+ / 0-)

        think, make it difficult to gauge the direction of the evangelicalist tide. The liberal evangelicalists they go this way, the conservative ones they go that way, they are NOT a voting bloc, and the tides tug differently on mainline reformed evangelicalist denominations than on the conservative/literalist/fundamentalist born-again Christocentrists.


        Fight them to the end, until the children of the poor eat better than the dogs of the rich.

        by raincrow on Wed Dec 11, 2013 at 08:30:04 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site