In response to the Evangelical Manifesto Raffi Shahinian wrote a Post-Evangelical Manifesto. Having read his document, and having read some helpful and challenging posts on Shahinian’s website, I want to make a few comments and ask a few questions which I hope Shahinian will respond to:
Dear Raffi Shahinian
I don’t write as one who has read the Evangelical Manifesto. I also confess yours is the only “post-evangelical” definition I’ve ever read. Yet there are some things that concern me in your Post-Evangelical Manifesto. Perhaps I have misunderstood them and if so I hope you correct me.
I ask these questions as a brother in Christ and in the spirit of love, desiring we both come to understand the Gospel of Jesus Christ more as a result.
My first question is: if evangelical means “Gospel person” why would you want to be post-evangelical? You may want to reform the way Gospel people behave but surely you don’t want to be post people having the Gospel at the centre?
Evangelicals Never Unpacking Truths?
No Evangelical I know recites their doctrinal basis never unpacking those statements in full. Most evangelical churches preach through the Bible, preaching each passage (Old Testament or New) in light of Jesus’ great work and then applying it to the congregation.
Here is the metanarrative set out as God has ordained. In light of this I’m very interested to know what you think Evangelicals have missed out in their unpacking of these brief doctrinal statements.
Fighting Yesterday’s Battles
In some ways I would say Evangelicalism is too obsessed with the “big issues” of the day. We spend more time talking about homosexuality and women preachers than we do talking about the things that actually matter to average Joe. Which big issues do you think we miss?
A Political Christianity?
I heard someone once say “In the Koran I find no guidance for Muslims in the minority. In the Bible I find no guidance for Christians in the majority”. The Bible assumes we will be despised for the Gospel (2 Tim 3:12).
The nearest we get to politics is Paul saying we should pray we might be able to live a quiet life (1 Tim 2:1-2). That’s hardly a call to arms! Whilst obviously Christians in politics must act in a Christian way, I am unsure that we are called to act firstly on politics.
Love beyond tolerance
I emphatically agree that we must have a love beyond tolerance. What is love? Jesus bearing our sins (1 John 4:10). Thus it is essential for us to preach the Good News of sins forgiven and the way to God open that some in the world may come to know him and make it to the next. Excellent point!
Jesus saved all creation
I agree Christ saves creation as well as me, but evangelicals constantly remind me of the corporate nature of church and salvation as well as the individual. Maybe evangelicals in your area are different. Yet the individual should not be missed out. It is essential to the whole: “For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God” (Rom 8:19)
Shaped by postmodernism!?!
You say that post evangelicalism is “shaped by the postmodern critique”. It scares me you are shaped by anything of the world. When the church has associated with the world it has always turned out bad:
- When associated with Modernism the authority of Scripture was undermined by Liberalism.
- When associated with Gnostic thought “secret knowledge” and an opposition to God the Son made flesh developed.
- When too close to Judaism the Gospel to the Gentiles was hindered (Gal 2:11-14).
Christians should engage with and evangelise our postmodern culture with Scripture, but I would never say we should be informed by postmodernism
Do forgive me if I have misunderstood your points I welcome clarification. Apologies also for my brevity which may limit the usefulness of my comments.
May we both glorify the name of Jesus in our culture.
Yours in Christ
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