January 25, 2021

IM Recommended Reading: The Future of Evangelicalism

By Chaplain Mike

Over at Patheos, a site that strives to be “the premier online destination to engage in the global dialogue about religion and spirituality and to explore and experience the world’s beliefs,” they have pulled together some of the best minds and writers in evangelicalism today to write essays on “The Future of Evangelicalism.”

This is obviously a topic of interest for Internet Monk readers, so we encourage you to visit Patheos and read the contributions to this series. Here is a schedule of topics:

  • Monday, August 2: Transforming the Church
  • Wednesday, August 4: Transforming Culture
  • Friday, August 6: American Evangelicalism and the Varieties of Christianity
  • Monday, August 9: Transforming Society I—Social Justice and the Progressive Christian Movement
  • Wednesday, August 11: Transforming Society II—Liberty, Responsibility, and the New Evangelical Conservatism
  • Friday, August 13: Transforming the Shape of Evangelical Ministry

As an example of the quality of the topics and contributors, here are the essays posted on Monday for Transforming the Church:

This looks like worthwhile reading for anyone concerned about the health and future of evangelical Christianity. We here at Internet Monk will keep an eye on this series as well, and will pass along anything of particular interest to our community.


  1. I realize I was picking on a very small piece of his overall essay and even the specific section of discipleship, but I responded to Stetzer’s essay which had a statistic about daily and weekly Bible reading:

    “What does reading your Bible daily have to do with shallow discipleship? I couldn’t answer yes to that question either, though I believe I’m well educated in the Bible. I read the whole OT in about 60 days. I’m currently working my way through the whole NT books with Wright’s commentary. I’m just not reading it daily. I read Christian books regularly (everything from Brennan Manning to Dallas Willard to N.T. Wright and Lewis). I listen to sermon podcasts throughout the week. Does a 16% rate of daily bible reading really equate to shallow discipleship?

    I agree that discipleship is important and those other numbers are troubling, but I don’t think “daily Bible reading” is a good barometer.”

    • I actually like Ed Stetzer, but sometimes his statistics are left over from a 1950’s/1960’s SBC definition of discipleship.

      Like you, I sit down and read in groups, then miss days (or weeks). These days I spend as much time in creeds and Church history as much as anything.

      • Allen – what creeds do you read?

        I ask because I too would like to read some others.

        • Matthew,

          I had been a bible student for 40 years, and served as an elder in an evangelical church, even helping start what is now one of the largest evangelical churches in my town, yet I had never heard of a creed. Very sad for the state of what is called bible study in evangelical circles.

          I started with Apostles Creed and Nicene Creed, most people on this website would consider them fundamental to the faith.

          When I realized how that for almost 2000 years, these creeds were considered fundamental, yet in the 2nd half of the 20th century, many protestant evangelicals deny basics in these creeds. I was shocked to realize how many pastors do not affirm the Trinity.

          After the Creeds, I found various confessions. A good used book on church history in the first 1000 years is important. You can also find them on many websites for Catholics (www.newadvent.org) and for established mainline denominations (Lutherans, Anglicans).

          When I realized how much 19th-20th century United States evangelical churches have changed what is called Christianity, it changed my world so much, I am now wondering in the wilderness, not sure where to go next.

        • David Morris says

          Here’s Chapter 8 of Philip Schaff’s church history.

          I should note that John Wesley did not accept penal substitution either; he believed in governmental atonement. I’d say the more important thing is that we accept that there was an atonement, and that there are different ways of seeing it.

          Here are some Baptist creeds:

  2. Headless Unicorn Guy says

    Impression of two of the “August 4: Transforming Culture” dialogues:

    Storm Clouds on the Horizon: The Future of Science and Religion
    by Karl Giberson (Eastern Nazarene College, BioLogos Forum)
    The dialogue between science and religion is rapidly dissolving into a culture war over religious belief.

    Read this all the way through, and it’s a downer. The two sides in the Culture War are polarizing into Ken Ham or Richard Dawkins, nothing in-between. “HERE AHURA-MAZDA, THERE AHRIMAN!” And the only thing Ken Ham and Richard Dawkins can agree on is that I Am RIght and The Other Must Be Exterminated. Dalek vs Dalek, To The Death.

    Dissenters from the Established Church
    by Marvin Olasky (Editor-in-Chief of World Magazine, Provost of The King’s College)
    Few Americans bend the knee to the Church of Darwin, and few will as long as it offers no real sense of identity and hope.

    “bend the knee to the Church of Darwin”?
    Just from that phrase (and the World Magazine reference), I read this as “Young Earth Creationism Uber Alles WILL TRIUMPH!” Do you?

  3. Hi Chaplain Mike,

    I liked the articles by Scott McKnight and by the 3 Reformed scholars and trends in American evangelicalism though I am not sure if something similar is happening over here. Christians are a much smaller proportion of the Australian population. I think it is a pity that the neo-evangelical coalition in the USA that was formed after WWII appears to be breaking up.

    By the way, if some pastors of evangelical churches do not hold to the doctrine of the Trinity as Allen mentions them doing, I do not think that they can be classified as evangelical nor even a broader orthodoxy.The theology of the Triune God is fundamental to Christianity.

    Many thanks for putting the links on your website.

    John Arthur

  4. David Morris says

    Thanks for flagging this reading material. I thought the Rodney Stark piece was very interesting too.

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