Is The Future of Evangelicalism For Whites Only?


I have been thinking over the recent events in evangelicalism the past 2 weeks, from the Farewell Tweet to the Gospel Coalition’s early reviews of Rob Bell’s Love Wins to the emerging church’s defense of Rob Bell, and I have been thinking about the future of evangelicalism as well.

Rachel Held Evans and Scot McKnight both shared their thoughts, and I can see where they are coming from.  But at the same time, both posts were written from privileged standpoints, with a failure to recognize what exactly that privilege might be.

I submitted to you that the emerging church is playing the role of white liberal protestantism in the 1920s, while evangelicalism, the fundamentalists of that time. Well, if these two groups are replaying that history, the persons who get left out, the ones traditionally on the margins, racial minorities get the short end of the stick. This is a battle for the leadership of American Christianity. In this Armageddon which we have seen over and over again, it is white liberal (predominantly male) debating conservative white male leaders. The concerns over which are truly destroying the church, the failure to engage in racial reconciliation as well as overcoming the DESTROYER OF FAMILIES, the Prison-Industrial complex. The Emerging Church/Evangelical divide is what the apostle Paul called a FOOLISH controversy to brother Timothy.

I do sometimes wonder how convenient it is for the Emerging church and conservative Evangelicalism to marginalize the Azusa Street revival movements of last century. It was in that movement, where there was evangelical theology being preached, races being reconciled as God was using people who were poor, who were going through racial segregation and war (the Mexican Civil War) to bring God’s glory, yes God’s glorious presence into the here & now. The suspicion by the Neo-reformed movement and emerging circles have less to do with an opposition to Pentecostal practices and theology (prooftexting, who doesn’t, that’s really the question?) but it is a matter of economic status and bias (I submit). The notion that God could provide a renewal of the church by the power of the Holy Spirit through the bodies of the economically & racially oppressed seems impossible for the bourgeois sensibilities of the emergent and neo-reformed movements.

Cessationism, therefore, is a political doctrine, and a very very convenient one at that. Imagine if the Spirit did move, from the outer edges of our police-statist society, on death row. It could happen. I don’t think however, renewal will be possible from racially segregated portion of Christianity that continues to dismiss the suffering of the disinherited.

I invite you to read Drew Hart’s post on the Evangelical Split.

Drew said it best,

“In the end, neither Piper and his peeps, nor Bell and the boys represent me, and billions of other Christians globally.  We have absolutely no stake in this growing feud (that is just heating up in my opinion). No stake, because for many it still leaves us in the same place (except with fewer tokens) of not being heard or taken seriously, and not being treated with dignity as though we lacked the Imago Dei in us.  It is now more than ever that we need to take our attention off of superstars like Rob Bell and John Piper… and begin learning from those who have been crying out from the margins with a very different gospel.  A gospel that is good news to the poor and oppressed.”

0 thoughts on “Is The Future of Evangelicalism For Whites Only?

  1. Dan

    Thanks for those thoughts. The beauty of Azusa Street and the incredible example of William Seymour is always something I hold dear. How we need that spirit again!

  2. Pingback: Drew Hart On the Evangelical Divide | Unsettled Christianity

  3. Jennifer

    oh whatever, I’ll just post them up 🙂

    Eric used to go to bible study as a kid
    He got older and started doing what the hood did
    A rival gang caught him slippin tried to take his life
    But the jammed up so them beat him nice
    He woke up in the hospital singing bible songs
    Praise God he had a place to learn the bible from
    But then he gets saved and wanna preach Christ they make him change his whole culture and way of life
    He gotta get him a bachelors wear a suit and tie
    Go to seminary
    By then all of his boys will die
    Jesus came to invade culture outta nazereth and used a couple fisherman who people saw as hazardous
    The feet are beautiful if only they’d go
    If ain’t nobody in hood preaching how will they know?
    Eric is better used taught trues in his context
    Somebody please plant a church in his projects.

    In Luke 4 16 on down to 21 jesus says he’s messiah says hes the chosen one
    But more than that he quotes Isaiah
    That shows our savior targets oppressed captive blind and the broke I’m saying
    Had a heart for the poor had a heart for the low
    And 1st John 2:6 is way we should go
    In Dueteronomy even tho they under the law
    The tithes every third year the poor got em all
    I ain’t sayin you wrong if you live in burbs
    I’m sayin turn your attention to the hood cause we hurting
    Man if you ain’t burdened please pick up your word an
    Tho this world is going down while we here we can serve him
    We bring this to the streets because we knew the streets
    I pray that more would be burdend to have beautiful feet
    You never knew the streets but truth is what you preach
    I pray to God you’d be burdened for beautiful feet.
    Go, go, go (run with those beautiful feet)
    Go, go, go
    You hold the truth that saves so run and shout it to the world
    They can’t believe in something they ain’t never heard
    Go, go, go and run with those beautiful feet

    ~ Lecrae

  4. Amanda Mac

    Maybe this battle for American Christianity will mean a shift in the centre of evangelicalism? Maybe South America or Africa or Asia will become the centre of evangelicalism?

  5. Pingback: Liberals Cannot Fully Accept the Gospel | Unsettled Christianity

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