August 5, 2020

Riffs: “Centralizing” with C. Michael Patton and “8 Connections” with Joe Thorn

Don’t forget to check out the five-part series “Where is Jesus?” at Jesus Shaped Spirituality.

Actually, not much time to “riff” on these outstanding links (I’m off on a two day mission for our ministry,) but I want to get these good guys some of that massive IM audience love.

C. Michael Patton does that post-evangelical thing under the label of “Minimizing” Christianity to the Glory of God. Those of you who read Michael regularly at Parchment and Pen know that he has a gift for the chart and the multiple choice answer, and I appreciate that ability, even though at times it may slice things a bit simpler than they are in reality.

(BTW- if you appreciate Michael’s ability to organize material and make it interesting, then you need to check out the materials in The Theology Program, Michael’s “lay seminary” that I’ve recommended many times before.)

But Michael’s analysis of the best evangelicalism as centered in Christ and sharing the commonality in all traditions is a worthy description of the post-evangelical project. His description of a centralized evangelical is where I want to go, with a strong emphasis on the tradition that has gone before us and its wisdom for now.

Perhaps I might ask what we call those who cut themselves off from all tradition and reinvent Christianity pragmatically? They use an “open Bible” as their supposed guide, but in fact they are removing themselves farther and farther from distinctive connections to Christian tradition of any kind?

And then, another link worth your time. Joe Thorn is among many younger Southern Baptists who are rethinking evangelism in their own context, having realized that the scripted “selling vacuum cleaners” approach has to go. So at his new blog Sub*text, Joe has listed eight areas of “connection” with suburban people that the Gospel speaks to as a narrative.

This is really good Coffee Cup Apologetics stuff, and I’ll feature it on that podcast soon, but you can appreciate it now. I agree with Joe that evangelism needs to find contact and connection points rather than force people into scripted conversations where they will immediately feel manipulated, even by the best evangelists.

Check out “Gospel Connections in Suburbia” by Joe Thorn at Sub*text.