Saturday, March 5, 2011

Evangelical [Or Not]

The way that "evangelicalism" is understood has changed during the past generation. One tends to find the old understanding e.g. in Africa -- while one tends to find the new understanding e.g. in North America. One newer definition says that evangelicalism "affirms the centrality of Scripture" -- another that it "is rooted in Scripture" (one would include the early creeds and Reformation tenets in the picture). The old understanding, however, is that evangelicalism "correlates with Scripture", or words to that effect. So in the new understanding, a theologian may claim, say, that much of the Torah was borrowed from the Canaanites after the Exodus -- as an example, Hans Schwarz. Yet Schwarz (see the scan -- you may click on it to enlarge) is described today as a fine evangelical. This is because his writing "affirms the centrality of Scripture". However, it would be hard to say that (much of) it "correlates with Scripture". OBSERVATION: Often, these different understandings of evangelicalism are used without distinction today.