Evangelicalism: McKnight Clears the Bases

Over at Jesus Creed, Scot McKnight has banked his response to the Christianity Today essay on Al Mohler. The article spurred my own thoughts about the future of evangelicalism earlier this week (Manifesto, & addendum).

Here’s the heart of McKnight’s post:

Here’s my big point:Evangelicalism is changing. What used to be called “fundamentalist” is now occupied by the word “evangelical” and we have in the case of Mohler a genuine fundamentalist — and I’m using this word analytically and not derisively — who is reshaping evangelicalism because he’s reshaping the SBC… What we also are witnessing is the end of generous evangelicalism, what I often call Big Tent Evangelicalism that has been noted by a coalition of gospel-oriented people.

This is the concern that I expressed in my follow up, when I argued for conviction without sectarianism. The challenge of keeping space at the table for a broad coalition of gospel confession Christians is not one that this new evangelicalism is interested in pursuing.

Quite the contrary, those with powerful voices of leadership, who are fighting for the term, are interested in making the evangelical world smaller. And those with moderate positions aren’t interested in fighting for anything. But if we don’t care, we also will have no right to complain when there is no more space for us in North American evangelicalism.

As I quipped to a colleague, who said she wasn’t concerned about the conservative activists such as the Al Mohlers of the world: “Neither were the moderate Southern Baptists in 1982.”

Thanks for adding your voice to this, Scot. I think that what’s happening is a pretty big deal.

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