We've asked 114 leaders from 11 ministry spheres about evangelical priorities for the next 50 years. Here's what they said about theology.
Evangelicals by definition tether their theology to revealed Scripture. So the greatest challenge of the next 50 years will not likely emerge from theological innovation. In fact, evangelical leaders answered a question about the greatest challenge to theology by talking about evangelism. The Good News will never change, but evangelicals will face increasing pressure to compromise the exclusive gospel for a pluralistic world.
"The scandal of the Cross has always been there. The pressure of the culture has always been to have diversity," said Darrell Bock, research professor of New Testament studies at Dallas Theological Seminary. "But the scandal comes across now as much more arrogant and elitist in a world that diminishes the role of truth."
Timothy George of Beeson Divinity School added, "The Christology/pluralism issue has become more urgent in the last decade or two within evangelicalism. If Philip Jenkins is right and we're tilting south of the equator with Christian vitality, this is the frontier of the issue."
Indeed, the challenge bridges geography. Muslims argue that we have too many gods. Hindus complain we have too few. Postmodernists don't care as long as we refrain from imposing our beliefs on them. But sometimes they do care, and seek to suppress Jesus' intolerant claims.
The global delegation that produced the Amsterdam Declaration in 2000 recognized this challenge of religious pluralism for missions: "In this global village of competing faiths and many world religions, it is important that our evangelism be marked by faithfulness ...1
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