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Archive for August, 2008

Post-evangelical

I’m currently editing a collection of contributions to The Other Journal entitled Remembering the Future.  In it there is an interview with Charles Marsh, author of Wayward Christian Soldiers.  In the discussion on the move of evangelicals from the margins to the corridors of power, Marsh makes the following aside comment:

You know, certainly evangelicals—and I grew up in an evangelical community, my father is a Southern Baptist minister, I was educated in an evangelical college prior to going to graduate school…

I wonder how many active scholars have made a similar journey. It seems there are an awful lot of academic folks who grew up in evangelical communities. Then they go off to graduate school and usually one of two things happen: either these academics work to reform, reshape, or reinterpret evangelicalism, or they abandon it altogehter.  Most of the former work from the “inside” or don’t move too far from their roots, often finding their way to a more mainstream community but maintaining much of their evangelical worldview. Their critique, though sometimes hard, is usually constructive. Often they do not mind the label of evangelical as long as it is rightly understood. Most of the latter get as far away from the label as possible. Their critique is almost always harsh and usually destructive. There is nothing redeemable about evangelicalism, as far as they are concerned.

Do any of you trace your journey in ways similar to Marsh? If so, where are you today? Are you a part of the reshaping or the rejecting?

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More Harink: Redemption

Two Harink quotes in successive days?  I couldn’t pass this one up:

For what is promised in Christ and the Spirit is not the community’s escape from its enmeshment in the created order, but rather the redemption of the whole created order with the children of God. (121)

The context for this quote is a discussion of Rom 8:12–39.  But, I find it resonates well with Eph 1:3–14.

More Harink: Principalities and Powers

In his chapter on Yoder, Harink writes after a lengthy discussion relating Yoder’s notion of principalities and powers to that of St. Paul:

Exegetes who insist on understanding the principalities and powers as “personal, demonic intelligences” that primarily attack individual human hearts have failed to read seriously enough the apocalyptic context of Paul’s language. (119)

[Thought: The view of principalities criticized by Harink seems to be the flip side of the well-worn notion that Christianity is a personal, individual relationship with Jesus. Both sides of this coin fail to appreciate the systemic and communal aspects of biblical themes.]