An interesting piece from Patheos on what Evangelicals have the Progressives and “Mainline” denominations could learn from. The piece is by author The Reverend Dr. Frederick W. Schmidt, Jr, Episcopal priest and professor at Southern Methodist University. He asks what progressive and mainline Christians can learn from Evangelicals. He suggests, strongly, that they should not hide behind the truth that it isn’t all about size. But further he argues:
There’s another problem with dismissing Evangelicals out of hand: Many of the excuses we tell ourselves are based on a caricature that simply isn’t fair or particularly accurate. Evangelicalism has its problems, but the ones it does have rarely receive attention and a lot of the criticisms laid at its doorstep are simply not true. Evangelicals are often bright, well educated, and comfortably middle class. They are not necessarily literalists or inerrantists. And contrary to the old stereotype, they do not hold the monolithic positions on social issues that some suppose.
So, it’s time to ask, “What do they have?”
- Evangelicals believe something.
- Evangelicals are actively committed to what they believe.
- Evangelicals also think that thinking about what they believe is important.
You can read his development of these themes, and why he thinks they are important for progressive and mainline Christians here. Interesting for those of us who identify ourselves as Evangelical to hear someone outside our ranks tell us what he thinks are our best attributes. These are strengths that we should be working to further develop, even as we assess what our weaknesses are and seek to address those. Anyone know of any Evangelical sources that point out what we should be learning from progressives and mainliners?