WHAT ARE THE CURRENT CAUSES OF EVANGELICAL FRAGMENTATION?
We fragment over what we regard as issues of principle, but often the real reason is personal, isn't it? When we're afraid, we withdraw into our own fellowships and ghettos with like-minded people where we feel secure. I'm aware of that fear in myself; it's part of our basic human insecurity. We're looking for contexts in which we can be supported rather than questioned.
I'm afraid that in some cases the cause of fragmentation is worse than that--it's a simple matter of ambition. There is a great deal of empire building among us. The only empire in which we should be interested is the kingdom of God, but I fear some people are building their own.
ON ISSUES OF PRINCIPLE, WHAT CONCERNS YOU MOST?
The uniqueness and finality of Jesus Christ in an increasingly pluralistic world is one--the debate about whether we go for exclusivism, inclusivism, or pluralism. Then there's the homosexual question, and the whole subject of sexual ethics.
So the church must recover its prophetic voice and reject both the idea that ethics evolve and the notion that love obliges us to capitulate to the modernist view of things.
We need a voice that is essentially positive, not just negative--for example, on the family, or the joy of sexual intercourse, and so on.
I don't know why we are always caught on the defensive and are reactive instead of proactive. I don't think it is something in our make-up as evangelicals. I sometimes wonder if it is that God has not given us many leaders who are visionaries.
The evangelical renaissance of the last 50 years has really been one of biblical scholarship. What we have lacked is systematic or creative theologians. I believe ...1
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