One characteristic of mid-century evangelical Christianity is its greater conversation with non-evangelical viewpoints. We say “conversation” to indicate an exchange of opinion and serious discussion based thereupon. We do not say greatest “rapport,” which would indicate that this conversation is necessarily congenial. There are some evangelicals who are calling this willingness even to converse, the “new evangelicalism,” and therefore distrust it. They suspect it in an implicit abandonment of true evangelicalism. Those who participate in and encourage this conversation, as this magazine does, do not intend thereby to yield any evangelical ground either explicitly or implicitly.
This willingness to discuss has been noted by non-evangelicals some of whom cordially welcome the evidence of it in our ranks. Some of these men have thought, somewhat unfairly, of evangelicals as being unwilling to discuss vital issues with dispassionate academic objectivity. There is no denying that some evangelicals, more so in the past than in the present, have provided some basis for this charge. Our tradition has known some in its fellowship to be obscurantist in their outlook, to produce little literature or speech of solid character, and to be addicted to impugning the motives of non-evangelicals. While we do not admit that this has characterized evangelicals universally, we do acknowledge, with shame, that it has been all too much with us and in each of us.
It is interesting to see some of the signs that non-conservatives (or persons associated with non-conservative institutions) are recognizing this willingness and ability of evangelicals to speak to the modern situation. A few straws in the wind may be noted. When Religion in Life (Winter ...1
Already a CT subscriber? Log in for full digital access.
Have something to add about this? See something we missed? Share your feedback here.
Subscribe to Christianity Today and get access to this article plus 65+ years of archives.
- Home delivery of CT magazine
- Complete access to articles on ChristianityToday.com
- Over 120 years of magazine archives plus full access to all of CT’s online archives
- Learn more