April 20, 2014

The Post-Evangelical Bookshelf: A Beginner’s Reading List For Finding Your Way In The Evangelical Wilderness

I’ve been doing an interview on “Post-Evangelicalism,” and I thought it would be a good time to list some of the books that define post-evangelicalism for me.

First of all, a brief definition: Post-evangelicalism is a way of relating to the present seriously compromised, perhaps terminal, condition of evangelicalism by accessing the resources of the broader, deeper, more ancient Christian traditions that contemporary evangelicalism, in its pragmatic idolatry, has largely abandoned as sources and influences.

Please note that post-evangelicalism isn’t a rejection of evangelicalism, but a rejection of the current way of doing evangelicalism and being evangelical.

It will surprise- and probably offend- some of my Southern Baptist Founder’s movement influenced, reformed Baptist brothers to know that I consider them to be first class post-evangelicals. They remain evangelicals, but they have turned back to sources deeper in Baptist and church history to rediscover and repractice that evangelicalism. Like me, their approach to contemporary evangelicalism is highly suspicious and critical. Their openness to other traditions regularly earns them the ire of those who have defined being Baptist as narrowly as possible, and are incapable of taking a critical look at their own fundamentalism and dispensationalism.

So when certain truly reformed brothers refer to “post-evangelical” as synonymous with apostasy, I think they are deeply mistaken. I understand that they are responding to any approach that moves toward Catholicism with anything less than guns drawn. So we agree and we disagree.

Many readers have asked me to have more to say about post-evangelicalism. What needs to be said, however, has been said by some of the best writers in evangelicalism. Here is my first attempt at a basic post-evangelical bookshelf. I won’t be reviewing these books or even summarizing their content as much as I will simply relate them to the post-evangelical conversation and journey. In the interests of time, no links today. You can easily find all these books through Amazon and most are plentiful at used prices.

All post-evangelicals are in deep debt to the life’s work of Robert Webber. All of Webber’s books relate to post-evangelicalism, but in his Ancient-Future Series, he unpacks the entire post-evangelical vision under his own preferred rubric. Essential reading: Ancient Future Faith, Ancient Future Worship, Ancient Future Time.

Webber’s rather dated Evangelicals On The Canterbury Trail is still a good post-evangelical introduction. I was brought on board by The Majestic Tapestry, which is out of print and survives in the Ancient Future books.

Obviously influenced deeply by Webber is Mark Galli’s Beyond Smells and Bells. This is an introduction to liturgy for evangelicals. It is short, but the writing is passionate and communicates the sense many of us feel for what is at stake in returning to the more ancient Church.

D.H. Williams from Baylor Univerity is the scholarly point man for the recovery of the early church fathers by evangelicals. William’s contribution is only now beginning to get the attention it deserves. Three books are essential: Retrieving the Tradition and Renewing Evangelicalism: A Primer for Suspicious Protestants, Evangelicals and Tradition: The Formative Influence of the Early Church, and Tradition, Scripture and Interpretation: A Sourcebook.

There are a myriad of books where evangelicals go all weak in the knees for monasticism or Catholic spirituality. Post-evangelicalism isn’t a fan club, and most of these books lack any read critical engagement. Two recent books, however, are more useful.

Jon M. Sweeney’s Almost Catholic could be about as purely a post-evangelical book as I could recommend, but it is almost entirely about personal spirituality and not the church. Subtitled An Appreciation of the History, Practice and Mystery of Ancient Faith, it’s a good popular survey, with a balance of appreciation and creative, critical engagement. Sweeney is less critical toward Catholicism than I would recommend, but the book is still extremely helpful for those who like to wade in, but not swim across, the Tiber. (You will note that I do not recommend books by converts to Roman Catholicism or Orthodoxy. Many of these are excellent and contain very important insights, but I haven’t heard the order to abandon ship yet, so I’m not going to recommend books by people who found the lifeboats and left anyway.)

Sweeney has also written about the good things he received from the fundamentalism he abandoned. Born Again and Again: The Surprising Gifts of a Fundamentalist Childhood is worth your time. (Today’s he’s an Anglican.)

Brian Mclaren’s current book on ancient spiritual practices is called Finding Our Way Again. In many ways, Mclaren is an effective and provocative thinker. I do not view future evangelicalism in anything similar to his extremely mainline-liberal vision, but this appreciation of the resources of the ancient church is also a fine introduction.

My own post-evangelicalism has a strong Lutheran/reformation solas bias, and I got this from Michael Horton. His questioning of the state of compromised evangelicalism in Made in America was seminal in my own journey, and serves as a good introduction to other assessments of evangelicalism, such as D.G. Hart’s Deconstructing Evangelicalism. (There are many good critiques of evangelicalism that have a post-evangelical bent, but which resort to an endorsement of one theological approach as “THE ANSWER.” I understand the value of these- David Wells is an example- but they simply don’t engage the broader, non-Protestant tradition in the way I personally believe we must do. And I say that as a thorough Protestant. I just don’t believe you can even understand Luther until you understand his catholicism.)

Horton has written two books that are must-reads for post-evangelicals. Both deal with worship and Christian spirituality, and both dig deep in the wells of a Biblical/Reformation understanding of these troubled waters. Read A Better Way on worship, and absolutely stop whatever you are doing and read In The Face of God for a thorough going corrective to evangelicalism’s vapid and hollow attempts at spirituality. Both are silver bullets to the Osteenization of evangelicalism.

There are other books that should be mentioned in particular contexts, such as David Fitch’s The Great Giveaway and the superb work by Os Guinness, The Call. What I looking for in this list is a strong balance between contemporary evangelicalism and the broader, deeper, more ancient sources of Christianity. There are good critiques of evangelicalism everywhere, and writing that is rooted in the better Christianity of other eras, but this is an introductory list of books to get you started in what post-evangelicalism means, how it approaches evangelicalism in your context and instructs you in a hopeful path to walk with others on the same journey.

Comments

  1. Thanks for list. A good mix to dive into.
    On a related note, didn’t know if you saw the First Things article on American Protestantism (Osteen is mentioned).
    Justin Taylor posted part of it:
    http://theologica.blogspot.com/2008/07/american-heresy.html

  2. May I also suggest anything written by Christopher A Hall. Reading Scripture with the Early Church Fathers is an important read and a good introduction on how to engage the Ancient Christian Commentary series – of which he is an editor.

  3. Dr.Hall’s credentials as a church historian and Patristic scholar are outstanding.

    I can’t say what his views are on evangelicalism, but his association with Thomas Oden bodes well.

  4. Chris is a an Evangelical, a wonderful Christian as weds (the two are not synonomous). He’s currently the provost of Eastern University.

  5. dang iPod auto correct “well” not “weds”

  6. I just want to find a place to worship with others that is not McJesus or Six Flags Over Jesusworld.
    It’s beginning to look more and more (at least in my highly evangelical corner of Texas) that the RCC is it.

  7. Rob:

    It would truly be ironic if you left evangelicalism for the one Christian tradition that can never admit that any of its dogmatic teaching was wrong.

    The essence of post evangelicalism is Luther’s declaration that religious authorities can be wrong and we must be corrected by scripture.

    For everything that offends you in evangelicalism, you will have to accept an equal number of offensive aspects of RC practice. (Think relics, purgatory, indulgences, etc.)

    Do as God leads. You have my prayers.

  8. “Jon M. Sweeney’s Almost Catholic could be about as purely a post-evangelical book as I could recommend, but it is almost entirely about personal spirituality and not the church.”

    Michael, that’s it in a nutshell, isn’t it? As long as the focus is personal spirituality, the post-evangelical can think catholic or even almost Catholic. However, while whatever else things are they should at least start by being personal (Kathleen Kelley in “You’ve Got Mail”), they can’t stay there and, for me at least, I come to trust the Church more than myself, however spiritually formed I’ve been by Scripture and Christian fellowship.

    While books like “Evangelical is not Enough” by Elizabeth Elliot’s brother, Thomas Howard, perhaps focus too much on liturgy rather than core ecclesiology, it’s very difficult to get the life of the Church into a book. Except, perhaps, in a sort of negative way as in Flannery O’Connor’s “Wise Blood”. Still, to really wrestle with the matter, doesn’t one have to focus not on personal spirituality but on ecclesiology that crosses ethnic and spacetime boundaries?

  9. T. Howard, as I’m quite sure you are well aware, became a Catholic Convert and one ought not to read him as post-evangelical at all.

    Sweeney doesn’t imply that post-evangelicals can’t talk about the church without going to Rome. See Thomas Oden or Christopher Hall for evidence of that. Sweeney simple writes like the early Thomas Merton about his discoveries. But he also knows where to draw his lines. If he becomes RC, He’ll be off my list :-)

    Post-evangelicalism is not a journey to find the “true and right church.” That is the road to Rome. (If I wanted to promote positive assessments of Protestantism of a convert variety, I’d be recommending the first half of Bouyer.)

    Your statement that you’ve come to trust the church more than yourself has merit, but there are times one ought not trust the church, or one’s self, but scripture, which judges even the church that conserved it.

  10. In my personal journey, it has been dissilusionment with the church in general that made me Catholic for many years – this includes dissilusionment with the Catholic church as well. I just figured that all churches are screwed up in some way and that I needed time to wash away the bad taste of fundamentalism and commercialism in Evangelical circles by going to a church that at least has some roots in the past, where spirituality was more than memorizing Scripture passages. I always felt that being Catholic was like going to a building in ruins, it is severley damaged but you find bits and pieces of what it was once like in all that wreckage.

  11. You mention Oden. I immediately thought of Oden’s term “paleo-orthodox” as preferable to “post-evangelical” (which has too much connotation of acceptance of postmodernism for my taste…).

    Have you read his “The Rebirth of Orthodoxy”?

  12. I would suggest a more balanced view of postmodernism is in order. The caricature of postmodernism that makes its way around Christian circles is embarassing. All kinds of preachers bash the word with no idea whatsoever what they are talking about.

    Better view: John Caputo, What would Jesus Deconstruct?

    Jamie Smith, Who’s Afraid of Postmodernism?

  13. I personally found David Fith’s The Great Giveaway a bit whiny about the evangelical church, and the solutions/suggestions he offers are at best subjective and weren’t very grounded in a dynamic survey of the historic church let alone the early church. Very little scripture was engaged throught the book.

    Funny enough, he criticizes David Well’s approach (The Courage to be Protestant) but they are really both correct in some of their assessments, and both misguided/narrowminded in some of their solutions.

    I would reccomend reading both books back to back for comparison. I find myself hovering between the two trying to grapple with the best of both camps and as little of the worst of both camps as possible.

  14. Speaking of Christopher Hall, the title of chapter 10 of his “Learning Theology with the Church Fathers” is rather ironically humorous. In engaging with historic sources, there still seems, with regard to present-day ecclesiology, to be something missing :)

  15. I’m not sure it’s a caricature. There may be academics advocating some useful and defensible form of postmodernism.

    But, witnessing on the streets, postmodernism looks like “That’s your truth, I have my truth, and we’re both right”. Also, a lot of people “deconstructing” the Bible to justify whatever sin they enjoy.

    I think that sort of thing follows logically from the failure of modernism (which Oden addresses very thoughtfully, if not succinctly :).

    Modernism was about rationality and logic bringing about a utopia through discovering Truth. Instead, we got two World Wars and recurring genocides. Now, we reject any notion of absolute Truth – postmodernism.

  16. The short hand description that prevails in the reformed blogosphere seems to be unaware of the kind of discussion that actually goes on among philosophers about post modernism.

    I don’t really understand Christians feel their concept of truth should be held by the “man on the street.”

    peace

    MS

  17. I’ll be brief, as I am short on time.

    “Think relics, purgatory, indulgences, etc.”

    Concerning Relics:

    A. 2 Kings 2:11-14: “And as they still went on and talked, behold, a chariot of fire and horses of fire separated the two of them. And Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. 12 And Elisha saw it and he cried, ‘My father, my father! the chariots of Israel and its horsemen!’ And he saw him no more. Then he took hold of his own clothes and rent them in two pieces. 13 And he took up the mantle of Elijah that had fallen from him, and went back and stood on the bank of the Jordan. 14 Then he took the mantle of Elijah that had fallen from him, and struck the water, saying, ‘Where is the Lord, the God of Elijah?’ And when he had struck the water, the water was parted to the one side and to the other; and Elisha went over.”

    B. 2 Kings 13:20-21: “So Elisha died, and they buried him. Now bands of Moabites used to invade the land in the spring of the year. 21 And as a man was being buried, lo, a marauding band was seen and the man was cast into the grave of Elisha; and as soon as the man touched the bones of Elisha, he revived, and stood on his feet.”

    C. Acts 5:15-16: “. . . they even carried out the sick into the streets, and laid them on beds and pallets, that as Peter came by at least his shadow might fall on some of them. 16 The people also gathered from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing the sick and those afflicted with unclean spirits, and they were all healed.”

    D. Acts 19:11-12: “And God did extraordinary miracles by the hands of Paul, 12 so that handkerchiefs or aprons were carried away from his body to the sick, and diseases left them and the evil spirits came out of them.” (cf. Mt 9:20-22)

    Concerning Purgatory:

    A. Isaiah 4:4 “When the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion, and shall have purged the blood of Jerusalem from the midst thereof by the spirit of judgment, and by the spirit of burning.”

    B. Malachi 3:2-3 “But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he {is} like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ soap: (3) And he shall sit {as} a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness.”

    C. Matthew 12:32 “And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the {world} to come.”

    D. 1 Corinthians 3:11-15 “For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. (12) Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; (13) Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. (14) If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. (15) If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.”

    E. Revelation 21:27 “And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither {whatsoever} worketh abomination, or {maketh} a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life.”

    Concerning Penance (which is related to the Catholic understanding of Indulgences):

    A. 2 Samuel 12:13-14 “And David said unto Nathan, I have sinned against the Lord. And Nathan said unto David, The Lord also hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die. (14) Howbeit, because by this deed thou hast given great occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme, the child also {that is} born unto thee shall surely die.”

    B. 1 Corinthians 11:27-32 “Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink {this} cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. (28) But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of {that} bread, and drink of {that} cup. (29) For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. (30) For this cause many {are} weak and sickly among you, and many sleep. (31) For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. (32) But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world.”

    C. 2 Corinthians 4:10 “Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.”

    D. Philippians 3:10 “That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death.”

    E. Colossians 1:24 “Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body’s sake, which is the church.”

    Now of course this is a simplistic overview, and all of this doesn’t prove the Catholic position to be true anymore than selected verses prove Calvinism to be true. However, to call these doctrines unsupportable from Scripture is not entirely fair. At best, the Catholic position is equally defensible as the Protestant, before we even take into account such minor details as books of the Bible that have been removed by Protestants or historical interpretations of the texts. The Biblical case for relics, at least, is rock solid. Creepy to a modern American, yes, but very much a part of Christian belief from the time of the Apostles.

    It is also worth noting that Luther’s valid criticisms resulted in the Counter-Reformation, where abuses such as monetary indulgences were abolished at Trent. Now the best I can do to receive indulgences is read my Bible or pray.

  18. Sam: I am posting your comment over my better judgement. I am not providing space for Catholic apologists. I never said that Catholics didn’t have verses. I did not say these practices aren’t supported- in Catholic opinion- by scripture. But if you can’t cite one thing you believe ONLY because the church teaches it and scripture doesn’t you may be a Protestant :-)

    The absolute wrong thing to do on this thread or on this blog is to take post evangelicalism and turn it into Catholic Convert apologetics.

  19. Thomas writes: “doesn’t one have to focus not on personal spirituality but on ecclesiology that crosses ethnic and spacetime boundaries”.

    The answer was trust the church, but trust scripture, which the church has conserved, more. Hasn’t church done more than merely conserve scripture? After all, to whom did Paul address his letters? Okay, a bit rhetorical, but I’m sure you get my point. To wit: I think this is introduces a false dilemma, which runs the risk of resorting to fundamentalism. It always and inevitable that it is scripture and tradition. Asking “Which tradition?” seems the better question. After all, there is the history of how scripture has been receieved and understood, both at the methodological level and the interpretation of specific passages. In other words, if you spend all your time trying to figure how a man survives inside a fish for three days, you’re missing the point of the Book of Jonah.

    I want to understand the thrust of post-evangelical perspective, which I take to be that up to a certain point, Christians share the same tradition. Hence, the focus on the church fathers. Even then are we talking pre-Nicene or post-Nicene fathers? If post-Nicene, then the councils have to factor in somewhere, don’t they?

  20. Scott,

    We are not going to get out our maps to Rome on this thread.

    I appreciate your convictions. Here at IM, we let Protestants be Protestants and Catholics be Catholics.

    Of course the Fathers matter, that’s why I have 3 books by DH Williams on this post.

    peace,

    MS

  21. Michael:

    Give me a little credit for acting in good faith. I am not trying lay out a roadmap to Rome, Constantinople, or Canterbury. I am genuinely curious about how the councils factor into your post-evangelical view of things. After all, creeds are important in all strands of Christianity, Protestant Christianity, too. I understand that the fathers matter to you, as with all things, it isn’t just “the fathers”, as in some ancient Christian monolith. You can see no difference between, say, the ecclesiology of Origen and Augustine?

    It goes with out saying that the undivided church underwent huge changes in the fourth century with Nicea, which ushered in the age of the councils, which were instruments of making sense of scripture, like that little tidbit- One God in three persons. I also maintain that it always and inevitably scripture and tradition, even for the most committed sola scriptura-committed Christian.

  22. Obviously various kinds of evangelicals are going to read the various fathers and take various amounts of agreement and disagreement from that experience. I am more interested in evangelicals simply knowing that the patristic era exists and, obviously, to suggest that it isn’t the exclusive property of the modern RCC.

    http://triablogue.blogspot.com/2008/07/early-post-apostolic-christians-were.html

    Any evangelical who read the Fathers will have to make some conclusion about tradition, but I think the option for most of us will come to some of the conclusions of Craig Allert

    http://www.amazon.com/Scripture-Authority-Formation-Evangelical-Ressourcement/dp/0801027780/ref=sr_1_77?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1217542945&sr=1-77

    And James Leo Garrett: Prima Scriptura.

  23. Thanks for the book recommendations. Those are some topics I’ve been wanting to research a bit.

  24. I don’t remember making the claim that the fathers are “the exclusive property of the modern RCC”. Beyond that, it would be anachronistic to say the church fathers are either Catholic or Protestant in a modern sense. They would be confused by the distinction and troubled by aspects of both.

    I was genuinely curious about the ancient councils would fit in with the post-evangelical perspective, especially given that different ways they have been received in the Anglican, Lutheran and Reformed strands of Protetantism (i.e., more favorably in two the former than the latter). It is a serious question and one that cannot be dismissed easily.

    Suffice it to say that the fathers are the shared patrimony of all Christians, like scripture, as we do have tradition in common, at least up to a point.

  25. I’m sorry that our responses are starting to sound like assertions. I wasn’t quoting you. There are plenty of Catholic apologists who say something like “to be deep in history is to cease to be Protestant.” Right?

    I am not dismissing anything. I’m not an expert on Patristics. I was recommending books by people who are.

    Sorry that I can’t go in the depth you are wanting.

    MS

  26. Michael:

    No problems. I have been reading and participating here for awhile, as you know. I respect your reasons for not being Catholic and actually share some of your misgivings regarding dogma, especially those asserted immediately before, during, and since Vatican I, which I accept, but with a good many questions, about both content and prudence. I am a firm adherent to St. Vincent of Lerins’ two rules:

    1) “Now in the Catholic Church itself we take the greatest care to hold that which has been believed everywhere, always and by all.”
    2) Development of doctrine has to “be real progress (profectus), not alteration (permutatio) of the faith.”

    Vincent lived during the patristic era, in the fifth century, before the East/West schism.

    I guess I would appreciate not seen as a Catholic apologist, which I am not. It is disengenuous to claim not to have an agenda, but I have one, I am open about it. If you remember I had a similar question about which Creed would be recited in your ideal church, which imagining held a great deal of appeal to me.

  27. Charley says:

    Something I’m struggling with is, assuming (as I do) that tradition is an authority but not an infallible one, how does the post evangelical choose which older traditions to adapt? Is it purely an individual choice based on personal preference (ala Almost Catholic), or are some traditions more authoritative than others?

    I assume the best idea is to adopt those traditions that don’t conflict with scripture and that bring the reality of discipleship closer. (I think we can all agree on that one). But didn’t most older traditions exist to further a scriptural interpretation (or religious doctrine) that modern evangelicals disagree with?

    For instance, the smells and bells of the old Catholic rites existed to make the Catholic Mass feel more like a representation Christ’s crucifiction. If an evangelical does not accept this interpretation of the mass, why employ the means used to convey it? The same could be said with the use of a liturgy, etc.

    By looking back for “good” tradition, sometimes it feels like we are forgetting why those traditions existed in the first place. If we remove the meaning from the tradition, does it remain an “old Christian tradition” or is it something new?

    I’m sure the books will answer most of my questions. I’ve got a lot of reading ahead of me. :)

  28. There’s nothing wrong with looking for an authoritative tradition, but the evangelical should know that there will be no way to beat the case as made by the RCC and EO if you accept their presuppositions.

    I am not aware of any form of personal faith that does not include a component of personal authority as the basis for submission to another authority. Even the lowly Marine in boot camp decided to submit to the DI. There’s no way to completely escape the possibility of being wrong :-)

    We have to separate essentials and non-essentials. We have to have a sense of personal conviction on what is the teaching of the Bible on the crucial issues. We have to decide if we can live in a Protestant community where authority is not viewed or approached in the same way as in the RCC and EO.

    A lot of miserable Protestants probably ought to become Catholics, or they ought to become more convinced Protestants.

    peace

    MS

  29. I’m sorry for my earlier info-dump, Michael. Looking back on it, it does appear rather troll-ish of me. I regret that all I have accomplished is raising your blood pressure, and perhaps adding a stumbling block to your path. So as not to tempt you into anger, I will refrain from making any further comments you might find displeasing. Again, apologies.

    Pax vobiscum,

    SU

  30. The only book I can vouch for is Williams’ book “Retrieving the Tradition…” which my daughter brought home from Wheaton one summer about six years ago. He was teaching at Loyola at the time. Patristics is his specialty, and he understands in an un-slavish way the value of that early era in laying the foundations of orthodox Christianity. My copy is thoroughly marked up. Being a Baptist he seems to “pick” on Baptists most of all. Bless him.

    I must say one thing really bothers me about this whole post-evangelical nomenclature. Why do we have to change our labels? Why can’t we call them neo-evangelicals, the same way the less than orthodox were labeled neo-orthodox at the beginning of the previous century? Call me a pedant, but if words have meaning, isn’t it morally wrong to concede a label when others take it and wrongly appropriate it for themselves? Why can’t we, individually and collectively stand up and say “You are NOT an evangelical because you preach another gospel”? Does Galatians 1:6-9 mean anything here? What does eu-angelion mean, anyway.

    I agree with your position, I just hate to see good, useful words loose their meaning. It’s one thing for words like “awful” and “cool” to change over time, but when Ulmus parvifolia stops meaning “Little-leaf Elm” and starts meaning “Bald Cypress”, then we can’t define anything any more. I guess that is why this age is called “post-modern”.

  31. Y’all should read Chemnitz’s discourse on the seven kinds of tradition. The idea that the Reformation was about throwing out tradition is without basis; rather, the Reformation was about re-examining the various and diverse teachings and practices labled “tradition” in the light of Scripture, a practice which was itself supported by both medieval and patristic tradition.

  32. Great post Michael. I am with you all the way (as you already know).

    “Please note that post-evangelicalism isn’t a rejection of evangelicalism, but a rejection of the current way of doing evangelicalism and being evangelical.”

    Thanks for the clarification. This was helpful. You have probably said it elsewhere, but I had not seen this before.

  33. Continuing in my “speaking of” vein, speaking of Thomas Oden: I’ve found his “John Wesley’s Scriptural Christianity” interesting. However, perhaps not in the way that Oden intended; rather, the almost total lack of reference to ecclesiology is striking. Not surprising of course since being struck by that years ago while studying at Asbury Seminary is what got me started across the Tiber. Still, it gets me back to my initial assertion in this thread, that the “personal” focus of what’s labeled post-evangelicalism is fundamental to its nature.