The President of Fuller (where I attend) had this to say about the need for for charity among Evangelicals in a recent article he wrote for Christianity Today.
In a speech I heard several years ago, the Japanese-American theologian Kosuke Koyama put it nicely: We all have to decide, he said, whether we have a generous God or a stingy God. And the truth is that we evangelicals often give the impression that we have decided to be a spiritually stingy people. A recent Barna Group survey, for example, offers evidence that many young people in the larger society think of evangelicals primarily as “judgmental” types, hostile toward folks in other religions and mean-spirited in our attitudes about homosexuality. Even many young evangelicals share some of these assessments of the older generation. A leader at an evangelical college said it this way: “A lot of our students worry about typical evangelical attitudes toward people who have different belief systems and lifestyles. It’s not that they don’t take the Bible’s teachings seriously. It’s just that they have gotten to know Muslims and gays, and they are embarrassed by the harsh spirit toward such folks that they see in the older generation. If we don’t do something about this negative image soon, we could easily lose them for the evangelical cause.”
(From An Open-Handed Gospel | Christianity Today | A Magazine of Evangelical Conviction)
7 responses to “An Open-Handed Gospel | Richard Mouw”
the Barna report he’s referencing has been expanded into an insightful & interesting book called “unChristian” that is definitely worth a read.
Thanks Joel, I haven’t checked it out yet or heard much about it. What’s the basic premise of the book?
It’s written by David Kinnamen (Barna) & Gaby Lyons (The Fermi Project) and they conducted a survey of a whole passel of 16-29 year olds. They focused mostly on the perceptions of Christians from those they term “outsiders” (their chosen pseudonym for non-Christians). Basically it boils down that we have a pretty bad perception going on in the world, especially among young people. And evangelicalism has much less of a grasp of this up & coming generation compared to previous generations. So then they spend a lot of time talking about how to address these issues. I haven’t read the book, but I’ve read an extended interview with the authors, watched a different interview with them at Catalyst, and saw Kinnaman present a seminar at Jubilee a month ago. I was pleased both with their approach and their practical suggestions in response. You can read the interview here: http://www.willowcreek.com/wcanews/story.asp?id=WN04I12008
“If we dont do something about this negative image soon, we could easily lose them for the evangelical cause.”
What exactly is the evangelical cause? The lack of direction outside of church-growth has left many people wondering, “What’s the point?”
Chris – I had the same exact thought. Also, isn’t there a bigger cause to which even Evangelicals subscribe?
I would say that at least at my college the latter seems to be the general concensus. Here we have these people who are just like you and me yet they have this sin that so many evangelicals handle with deep sternness. It’s almost like it’s unforgiveable to some.
Yet when i look at this article i begin to think it’s nto even about homosexuality. Or anything else. I think it can be boiled down to a lot of things one of which is pride.
I like this president guy. he’s wise.
Great comment Kristen, it’s true that I think a lot of this does boil down to being prideful and unwilling to unwilling to approach one another with humility.