"Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ." - Jerome

Monday, June 18, 2007

The Coming End of an Era: Will Evangelicalism Survive?

The passing of Billy Graham's wife left me thinking: will "Evangelicalism" survive post-Graham? One definition of Evangelicalism I've heard is "anyone that likes Billy Graham." Billy Graham represented a new chapter when Fundamentalism moved from huddled shivering to partial engagement. But what institutions has evangelicalism built to proliferate itself? The National Association of Evangelicals seems doomed. It's failure would be on the same basis that many evangelical churches fold: it was based on one man, Ted Haggard.

In my analysis, I believe just as the last 50 years witnessed the split between Fundamentalists and Evangelicals, the next 50 will see a splinter into evangelicals, emerging church, and denominational realignment.

If the last 50 years witnessed a trending away from denominations, could the next 50 be the opposite? The previous generation of evangelicals were ecumentical (J.I. Packer, Billy Graham, John Stott, Chuck Colson, Bill Bright etc.) while the next seems polarizing (John Piper, Michael Horton, Albert Mohler, Mark Driscoll, etc.). As this older generation passes off the scene, don't be suprised if older denominations (such as the growing Southern Baptists and PCA) and newer networks (such as the Emergent Villiage and the Act 29 network) fill the void for a new sectarianism in conservative Protestantism in America.

1 comment:

Aaron said...

"I wish you could look into the casket because she's so beautiful," Billy Graham told mourners at Saturday's public funeral. "I sat there for a long time just looking at her and praying because I know she had a great reception in heaven."