A Personal Perspective on Black and White Evangelicalism

he American media tend to portray American evangelicalism as exclusively white, male-led, nationalistic (American exceptionalism) and ultra-conservative socially and politically.

.. I never heard the word “inerrancy” until I attended a mainstream, evangelical Baptist seminary. Only then did I learn that “women should not be pastors or teach men.”

.. I saw and experienced that fundamentalism was gradually inserting itself into mainstream evangelicalism and pushed back against that as best I could. I was taught that “we evangelicals” were not fundamentalists. Gradually, however, the line between the two communities of relatively conservative American Protestants began to blur and even dissolve.

.. I have developed strong resistance to any identification of true, authentic “evangelical Christianity” with American nationalism, conservative political ideologies, “whiteness” and “maleness.”

.. What I have done is state very publicly (on my blog, in books and articles, in papers read at professional society meetings, etc.) that, in my own personal opinion, the American evangelical movement is dead and gone. The major reason is the divisive influence of ultra-conservative neo-fundamentalists who have somehow managed to capture the label “evangelical” in the public mind.

.. When I call myself “evangelical,” and when my seminary calls itself “evangelical,” I/we are not identifying with any movement; I/we are identifying ourselves with a historical-theological-spiritual ethos deeply shaped by post-Reformation: pietism, revivalism, missions, and profound emphasis on the gospel of Jesus Christ as the only message that brings true and holistic transformation—both individually and socially.

Cherry Picking the Bible

Why do I want to ignore the judgement (wrath) of God?

Functional embarrassment about certain sections of the bible.

Topics

  • Character of God: neglect his justice, holiness: we are making God in our image.
  • Talk about heaven without Hell: Jesus spoke about hell more than anyone else.
    • The same action (sin), but against the police officer, king, the magnity of God
    • We all deserve hell
  • Red-letter Christians: what did the new testament writers think about the old testament?  They said if fulfilled the old testament.