The white “Evangelicalism” so often seen in the headlines is quite alien to the multiethnic, progressive, and often apolitical “evangelical” movement that is rooted all over the world, and in centuries of history.
So explains Timothy Keller in this month’s New Yorker. His article is very important for anyone wishing to understand the the religious landscape shaping the world today.
“In the U.S., while white Evangelicalism is aging and declining, evangelicalism over all is not,” points out Keller.
The “e-word” has changed over time, he explains. “When I used the word to describe myself in the nineteen-seventies, it meant I was not a fundamentalist. If I use the name today, however, it means to hearers that I am.”
“Understanding the religious landscape, however, requires discerning differences between the smaller, let’s call it “big-E Evangelicalism,” which gets much media attention, and a much larger, little-e evangelicalism, which does not.”
“The enormous energy of the churches in the global South and East has begun to spill over into the cities of North America, where a new, multiethnic evangelicalism is growing steadily . . . only a minority of which are white, and which are not aligned with any political party.”
“The movement may abandon, or at least demote, the prominence of the name, yet be more committed to its theology and historic impulses than ever.”
Another important essay to inform understanding on true “evangelicalism,” as opposed to the oft-used “Evangelicalism,” is this recent piece in the New York Times: “Why I Can No Longer Call Myself an Evangelical Republican.” The author is Peter Wehner, who has served in the last three Republican administrations.
Read Keller’s full article in the New Yorker here: “Can Evangelicalism Survive Donald Trump and Roy Moore?”