Blog Template Theology of the Body: The Younger Evangelicals

Sunday, September 03, 2006

The Younger Evangelicals

This title came up over dinner last week with a very cool young clerical couple, who are among the many young people who had entered Wheaton College as Evangelicals, but then graduated as high church, hyper orthodox Anglicans... (Nota Bene that The Same Thing seems to be happening at that illustrious outpost of Evangelical seminary training, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. More about that later.) He is one of Fr. WB's colleagues in curate ministry in Texas; she is the mother of their precious baby daughter. This book seems to tell their story... and perhaps it also relates to the story of many readers at this humble blog (?)

Check it out

Over a quarter of a century ago, Richard Quebedeaux chronicled the history and prospects of evangelicalism in his sociology of religion study, The Young Evangelicals. Webber, who teaches at Northern Seminary in Wheaton, Ill., offers an insider's perspective on the present state and future of evangelicalism. He contends that the "younger evangelicals" include anyone "who deals thoughtfully with the shift from 20th- to 21st-century culture. He or she is committed to construct a biblically rooted, historically informed and culturally aware new evangelical witness in the 21st century." In this splendid overview of the shifts in the evangelical landscape, Webber examines the differences in theological thinking, worship styles and communication styles; attitudes toward history, art and evangelism; and ecclesiology between "traditional" evangelicals (1950-1975), "pragmatic" evangelicals (1975-2000) and younger evangelicals (2000-). For example, where the traditional evangelicals argued theologically that Christianity is a rational worldview and pragmatic evangelicals contended theologically that Christianity is a therapy that answers needs, the younger evangelicals' theological program involves a return to ancient Christian and Reformation teachings that Christianity is a community of faith. These younger evangelicals, he argues, are highly visual believers, possessing great facility with technology. They are committed to the plight of the poor, multicultural communities of faith and intergenerational ministry, and they recognize that the road to the future runs through the past. Webber's helpful and thorough guidebook offers a generous assessment of the history of evangelicalism as well as a judicious but enthusiastic evaluation of its prospects in the 21st century.

The Young Evangelicals told the story of a new generation of believers. Now, in The Younger Evangelicals, Robert Webber explores how another generation of emerging leaders is bringing sweeping change and renewal to the twenty-first century evangelical church. Webber explores the characteristics of these emerging leaders and provides an outlet for their stories. After giving an overview of twentieth century evangelicalism, he examines how the way "younger evangelicals'' think about faith and church practice is radically different from their "traditional" (1950- 1975) and "pragmatic" (1975-2000) predecessors. Thought provoking and timely, The Younger Evangelicals is a landmark book for all who want to prepare for and respond to the new evangelical awakening brought on by our changing cultural context.

Another title behind the concept of this blog and many of its readers and contributors, visit this former post as well!