An interesting article in Christianity Today by Timothy Dalrymple, president and CEO of the organisation. The article, “The Splintering of the Evangelical Soul,” is a diagnostic-explanatory account of why,
Couples, families, friends, and congregations once united in their commitment to Christ are now dividing over seemingly irreconcilable views of the world. In fact, they are not merely dividing but becoming incomprehensible to one another.
Although we inhabit the same reality, Dalrymple says, we inhabit different ‘worlds.’ The article explores sociological reasons for the splintering of the evangelical worldview that gave the movement a sense of cohesion in a former generation. It explores what he calls the ‘informational world’ shaping the belief structures of people in our culture, the interplay of information sources and a person’s plausibility frameworks that filter information sources and content. Three informational sources are critical and evangelicals are in the midst of crisis with respect to each of them. The sources are media, authorities, and community.
Michael O. Emerson, a sociologist and scholar of American religion at the University of Illinois at Chicago, recently said he has studied religious congregations for 30 years but has “never seen” such an extraordinary level of conflict. “What is different now?” he asked. “The conflict is over entire worldviews—politics, race, how we are to be in the world, and even what religion and faith are for.” What I have offered above is a model for understanding how we have come to such a pass, and a mere suggestion of how we might begin the generational project before us.
We are not without hope. Lies ring hollow at the end of the day. Hatred is a poor imitation of purpose, celebrity a poor replacement for wisdom, and political tribes a poor comparison to authentic Christian community. We are a people defined by the resurrection of the Son of God. We are called to be redeemers and reconcilers.
The article is worth reading, especially for those interested in the future of evangelicalism.
Image: that used in the article; Illustration by Mallory Rentsch / Source Images: Kimson Doan / Unsplash / imtmphoto / Getty Images