How have liberal, postmodern and emergent values infiltrated evangelicalism?

Taking the broad strokes of (as at 15 October 2010) as a reference point, it is interesting to note the ways in which values conventionally held to be “post modern”, “liberal” or “emergent” are becoming accepted into the evangelical mainstream.

These include:

  • A Conversational ethos

The big shift is in the URL. Until recently the word conversation has been twinned with the word emergent. Now many are realising that conversation is a better way of describing an inter-related world than others modes like lecture, preaching, or teaching.

  • The Narrative and oral

“Story” is written large here (Orality – 64). Not only are people but they are viewing the Bible as a grand Story, rather than a textbook, but telling their own stories as a context for their faith. This shift the narrative is essentially post-modern.

  •  Woman, leadership and diversity

Inclusion in all its forms is bubbling under. (World Faiths – 88; Women & Men – 24, Indigenous Leadership – 38). This is in part a by-product of globalised culture, but may indicate a shift at the heart of the evangelical world view. How far can this go; what grounds remain for exclusionary points of view in this understanding of the Kingdom of God?

  •  Creation Care

Viewing the Earth as a fallen and ultimately disposable entity is the inevitable result of any “gospel of evacuation”. In such a gospel, an evil world is held separate from a righteous hereafter, and those deemed righteous are removed before its destruction. Now there appear to be many more voices within evangelicalism calling for the responsible stewardship of God’s Earth. (Resource Stewardship – 39)

  • A plural awareness

The fact that the word “plural” (Truth & Pluralism – 110) is headlining means that many are at least identifying the problem of diversity for anyone passionate about their message. At this stage, the term is mostly used negatively and pejoratively in distinction to the Evangelical notion of Truth.


What does everyone think – do these observations seem accurate?