I’ve been pretty hard on Evangelicals here and elsewhere in my internet and face-to-face utterances. That may change.
If you’re new to this blog, you may be unaware that I spent 25-30 years as an Evangelical, 15-20 as a Calvinist (i.e., arguably a marginal Evangelical), and 20 years now as an Orthodox Christian. My harshness toward Evangelicalism began developing during my transition into Calvinism, the main driver of which was disenthrallment (the exactly-right word) with Dispensational Premillennialism. Somewhere along the line, I got the feeling that Dispensational Premillennialism had insinuated itself into Evangelism’s every corner and tainted it all — an odd view since my Evangelical parents were not raving Dispensationalists at all.
That’s the backstory.
But given my fairly catholic tastes, I’ve been reading the Mere Orthodoxy blog and listening to the Mere Fidelity podcast for a fairly long time now. There, the young, earnest, Calvinist-leaning Evangelicals are sophisticated, fairly deep in Christian history, and frequently illuminating. They regularly disabuse me of any notion that “Evangelicals” are fungible goods of low quality.
My curtailment of Facebook and Twitter frees some time, and I’m experimenting with adding blogs from Patheos Evangelical, Patheos Catholic and even Patheos Progressive Christianity — blogs from authors I know and have not regularly disliked in the past. I’ve also added Patheos and the Gospel Coalition as tabs in my browser to visit regularly.
By no means am I reconsidering Orthodoxy, but it’s generally charitable to criticize a movement’s best exemplars, not its flakiest. Heck, if I had judged Calvinism by its flakiest exemplars, I’d have been out before the revolving door stopped spinning behind me, because my fair city features at least one (very) Calvinistic church with the motleyest bunch of ideologues and eccentrics you’d never care to meet.
* * * * *