I think Love Wins has triggered this coming landslide, shifting the landscape enough to expose the already growing split of methodology and theology. I think this erosion was what George Barna recorded in his book Revolution years ago. Many of my international friends have already experienced this shift across the world as this shift is just starting to come light to the United States.
This is about the right to control and frame the story of Jesus.
I’ve got news for you…
Neither side will relinquish their right to that.
Because they both love Jesus too much.
Spencer does a good job of defining the two loudest “voices” within the current evangelical debates as either “traditional evangelicals” or “progressive evangelicals.” While the article is great and I encourage you to read it, I found the comments even more helpful.
While Spencer presents the debate in a somewhat neutral voice, most of those who commented were of the more “progressive” persuasion, which is not surprising considering that the post appeared on Tony Campolo’s blog Red Letter Christians. I think for some, this was a coming out experience. As Spencer notes in the article many progressives are “closeted” both inside and outside the church. As I read the comments, I felt an overall sense of liberation just by seeing people willing to voice their views openly and honestly.
I think many progressive Christians have felt their voice has been stifled by the more traditional evangelicals and I know many who have left the church for this very reason. Some, myself included, have remained silent for fear of being ostracized. I am thankful for folks like Brian McLaren and Rob Bell who are willing to take the heat so that the rest of us can find our voice. Over the years, I have been bullied and even threatened by the “traditionalist” hardliner’s for even entertaining the ideas shared by more progressive theologians and practitioners. However, as more people step forward and call their bluff, I become more confident that I can do the same.
I don’t know if Spencer’s prediction of a split is accurate or not but I think we all can feel things shifting beneath our feet. I suspect as people find their voice the divide between these two camps will become better defined. I pray we all learn to love and respect one another despite our differences – as brothers and sisters in Christ. As Spencer says, “we all love Jesus too much to relinquish our right to tell His story.” We are just telling the story from different vantage points.