Sunday, January 26, 2014
We haven't participated in worship since we left the fundamentalist church. We were both raised on traditional worship with hymns, a piano, and possibly an organ. So for all of the fundamentalists that say people just go to contemporary churches to be entertained, that is bunk. It isn't that we think the worship is bad, but we just don't "get" with it. We deal with it because the only places you can find traditional worship anymore are fundamentalist and mainline churches. Neither of us want to go back to fundamentalism and my wife won't go to mainline.
Evangelicalism and fundamentalism are starting to meet in the middle these days however, so I don't know how long it will be until we start seeing some of the same tendencies crop up. The emerging American church of the second decade of the 21st century is not leftist but a coalition of moderate fundies and rightward evangelicals into what could best be described as a conservative evangelicalism (CE). The fundies are being decimated demographically and have no other option. The evangelical Christian Right is becoming ever more right-wing, tracking with the right-ward drift of the Republican party. (This is what happens when you join church and politics.) Perhaps there is also a little residual reaction to the late "emergent" movement but that would be a secondary influence.
Ultimately the polarization of America is being reflected in the polarization of the church. I wish the government would revoke the 501(c)(3) status of every church tomorrow. Let the evangelicals, at least the conservative majority) bellow the Republican, Tea-Party, Obama is an alien Muslim nonsense straight into oblivion. They already do it but they hide behind the neutral facade they are required by the IRS to put up.
Michael Spencer wrote an article some time back about the demise of evangelicalism, pointing out that what remains of evangelicalism will be charismatic in nature. The conservative evangelicals are committed to cessationism, leaving no room for evangelicals such as the Assembly of God or Pentecostals, who will be left to occupy the spectrum that used to be known as solidly evangelical, at least in cultural terms.
The church we have been attending uses the NIV2011 in services which has been roundly condemned by conservative evangelicals for gender inclusivity (although it is tame in comparison to other inclusive versions). So the church seems at least for now still in the classic mainstream of evangelicalism. At least until I chat with the assistant pastor afterwards and see the ESV tucked under his arm, a translation whose whole purpose for existance was to strike back at the little-known, gender inclusive NIVI (1997) with a text that was intentionally non-inclusive and deliberately conservative. *facepalm* The ESV does not just represent a non-gender-inclusive translation philosophy, it represents an anti-gender-inclusive translation philosophy, having a dangerous polarizing effect.
Well I suppose there is no point into reading too much into any single thing. Don't count your chickens till they hatch. I just keep finding eggs...
Posted by David T. at 2:40 PM