Tuesday, August 03, 2010

A new blog worth following

Roger Olson, the author of several books, including Arminian Theology, has started a blog. Here's a snippet from today's:

These days more and more churches are hiding their denominational affiliations. It’s very common now to see “Calvary Church” or “Church on the Rock” or “Faith Tabernacle” or “Prairie Wind Church,” etc., with no identification of its denominational affiliation. A little digging often reveals there is such a denominational affiliation; the church just doesn’t want to advertise it. Why? Are they ashamed of it? If so, then they should drop their affiliation. I think it borders on false advertising when churches take on generic names and also hide their denominational affiliation so that even their web site doesn’t clearly state what it is.

I often get e-mails from friends and acquaintances asking me to help them identify a particular “community church” (or whatever). I’m pretty good at sniffing out those churches’ denominational connections using their web sites. There’s almost always some hint there. But the average lay person would not find it. It irritates me when such churches have a strong affiliation with a denomination but do not reveal it clearly. I think that’s unethical.

<idle musing>
We were a part of a church in Minnesota that was Baptist, but didn't advertise it. I always wondered about that. I'm not sure it's a matter of integrity, but it does raise questions. He has some other good stuff on that post, and the three from the days before, about evangelicalism.
</idle musing>

Some students and readers have asked me why I expend energy and waste time trying to define evangelicalism; why not just give up the term “evangelical” and let the conservatives, fundamentalists and Religious Right people own it? After all, so I’m told, it’s too late to rescue it. “Evangelical” and “evangelicalism” are now so identified in the popular mind with right-wing conservativism in both theology and politics that they can’t be salvaged. I’m urged to just let them go.

<idle musing>
He goes on to say why he thinks it is worth salvaging. Personally, I'm more of the category that says it can't be salvaged. But, his posts have made me reconsider, especially when I put that together with these figures:
</idle musing>

Evangelical cannot be equated with "Rich American." The Church is growing in unprecedented ways in other parts of the globe, and it is time for the alarmists to tell the truth. And the global growth of the Church is largely shaped by nothing other than evangelicals, many of them quite conservative on many issues.
In 1900, 80% of Christians were Euros and North Americans; now 60% are in Asia, Africa and Latin America.

Two thirds of the world's evangelicals live in the Two Thirds World.

Wilkens and Thorsen: if Christianity disappeared from the Euros and N Americans, the Church would be thriving still. The movement, they say, does not rest in our hands.

<idle musing>
And praise God for that!
</idle musing>


Anonymous said...

I could try to answer why churches change names and "hide" their denomination. Our church does this. It's to please two groups of people. The first group- the "new generation" realizes "baptist" has negative connotations and wants to be rid of it. The second group of people- are the "old-timers" who hold fast to Baptist beliefs, this is their identity.
I don't agree with any of this. But I'm a minority. Our identity is in Christ, not in a denomination.

jps said...

Amen to that! Our identity should always be in Christ.