Recently, I was asked by Patheos.com to write as one of their “Cross Investigation” contributors. The question was asked to the group (including Andy Crouch, Douglas Groothuis, and Mark Roberts).
The Question for Cross Investigations #1:
“Evangelical churches are showing renewed interest in theology and theological training. If the church in America could recover one area of doctrine or theological tradition (i.e., ecclesiology, pneumatology, doctrine of God), what should it be?”
“The evangelical tradition of the 20th century has a lot to commend it. Our emphasis on the Scriptures, the Gospel message proclaimed, and making the main things the main thing is very strong. Our ability to think outside the box can also serve the church well, as we can contextualize the Gospel with more relevance.
Our biggest problem comes in our ecclesiology. Not so much in the way we “do” church (although we do have many related problems here), but in our reverence for the church as the representative of Christ that goes back 2000 years. I once asked Bradley Nassif, an Orthodox theologian with evangelical sympathies, what he believed the biggest problem with evangelicalism is. He told me that we have “historical amnesia.” Ouch. I agree. And to fit this into our current issue of ecclesiology, evangelicals don’t realize that the churches we start and belong to fit into a 2000-year-old tradition of keeping the Gospel pure. The problem with our churches today is that we don’t know where we have come from and, therefore, often lose sight of where we are going. The Gospel is easily corrupted in such an environment. Therefore, while many people proclaim a “gospel” in evangelicalism, it is starting to look like nothing that ever went before it. What legitimizes a church to be a church? That is a question we rarely ask. We need to start asking it and look to those who have gone before us for the answer.”
I encourage you to read the rest here at the Patheos Evangelical Portal.
My biggest surprise is that every answer is different. I am the only one who got it right! 😉
Once you are done, come back here and give your answer to the same question. Evangelical or not, you are encouraged to participate.