Are Metro-Evangelicals Right?

Article summary:

Andy Crouch (or his headline writer) coined the catchy term ‘metro-evangelicals’ to describe the growing urban resurgence within American evangelicalism. In a Wall Street Journal opinion piece, Crouch explains that pastors like Tim Keller and Mark Driscoll see cities as the beachhead of a new evangelization.


"You have heard that it was said have daily devotions to be close to God but I say to you learn to enjoy God’s words so much that missing a day is empty and lonely."

"You have heard that it was said attend church weekly or be a heathen, but I say to you do not attempt to make it through this Christian life solo but rather be under wise leaders and shepherds who teach the word and do it with fellow travelers."

"You have heard that it was said be holy or go to hell, but I say to you be holy for God is Holy."

post here from Barnabas Piper

An evangelical is a fundamentalist whose kids dress up for Halloween.

A conservative evangelical is a fundamentalist whose kids dress up for the church’s “Fall Festival.”

A confessional evangelical is a fundamentalist whose kids dress up as Zwingli and Bucer for “Reformation Day.”

A revivalist evangelical is a fundamentalist whose kids dress up as demons and angels for the church’s Judgment House community evangelism outreach.

An Emerging Church evangelical is a fundamentalist who has no kids, but who dresses up for Halloween anyway.

A fundamentalist is a fundamentalist whose kids hand out gospel tracts to all those mentioned above.

Halloween and Evangelical Identity

The Real Scandal of the Evangelical Mind

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By: Carl Trueman


What is an evangelical … and has he lost his mind? Carl Trueman wrestles with those two provocative questions and concludes that modern evangelicals emphasize experience and activism at the expense of theology. Their minds go fuzzy as they downplay doctrine. The result is “a world in which everyone from Joel Osteen to Brian McLaren to John MacArthur may be called an evangelical.”

Fifteen years ago in The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind, historian Mark Noll warned that evangelical Christians had abandoned the intellectual aspects of their faith. Christians were neither prepared nor inclined to enter the intellectual debate, and had become marginalized. Today Trueman argues, “Religious beliefs are more scandalous than they have been for many years”-but for different reasons than Noll foresaw. In fact, the real problem now is exactly the opposite of what Noll diagnosed―evangelicals don’t lack a mind, but rather an agreed upon evangel. Although known as gospel people, evangelicals no longer share any consensus on the gospel’s meaning. 

Provocative and persuasive, Trueman’s indictment of evangelicalism also suggests a better way forward for those theologically conservative Protestants once and formerly known as evangelicals.

DG Hart On Venerating Celebrity Pastors


…Protestants are not supposed to venerate saints or stars. Built-in to the Reformed faith is a spiritual egalitarianism that says all are equal as sinners. Consequently, boasting, if it happens, should be in Christ. Some converts to Rome see evangelical veneration of saints and think it’s a small step to Rome’s regard for Mary and others. Rome’s veneration surely has more dignity than Protestantism’s crass commercialism (though both cultivate the same problem of reducing Jesus’ genuine notoriety). But the solution is not to dress up sentimental attachments to mere human beings with ritual and pomp. It is to gather each Sunday with the saints and worship God’s only begotten son who offered the only sacrifice for the sins of celebrities and fans.

Article summary:

While I was reading a story about Mark Driscoll’s congregation moving into a downtown-Seattle church, a former United Methodist property, I remembered an poignant segment from one of Terry Gross’ interviews with David Rakoff. For one period in his life, Rakoff was a small-time actor and he told Gross about an essay where he described his playing a small part on one of the soap operas produced in New York City.

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Should Baptism Be Spontaneous?

You see the precedent in Scripture: when the Ethiopian eunuch responds enthusiastically to teaching from Scripture about the good news of Jesus, Philip baptizes him on the spot (Acts 8:36-38). And in Acts 16:32, after the Philippian jailer believes in Jesus in response to Paul and Silas, that same hour they baptize him and his whole household. So there appears to be biblical precedent if not warrant for spontaneous baptisms when someone first professes faith.

Yet complications quickly become apparent in practice. In this video, pastors Darrin Patrick, Mark Dever, and Matt Chandler discuss some of those complications faced by church leaders in obeying the Great Commission. Church context is key, Patrick observes. In an area like St. Louis with heavy Roman Catholic influence, believer’s baptism by immersion is a bold public step of faith. But in much of Dallas, where Chandler pastors, baptism testifies to a history with the church but not necessarily genuine, saving faith. In such areas, Dever warns, we must beware giving false assurance and generating false testimonies to a watching public.

When you’ve watched the video, join the discussion about how church leaders can be mindful of the problems while “aggressively obedient” to Scripture, to borrow Chandler’s phrase. How would you respond to the argument that we’ll see false converts no matter what, so why withhold baptism from someone who’s willing?

I’ve discussed this, online, with some other brothers of mine here.

It really seems to me that one of the great dangers in Evangelicalism today is the danger of losing any concept of holiness.

'Every day belongs to God'
‘All of life is worship’
‘Every thing in the world is holy.’

Really? Is that really all the Bible teaches. And if you believe stuff like that what becomes, and what in the world does the holiness of the church mean if everything is equally holy to it?

- Dr. Sam Waldron

from his teaching on the sanctity of the church (it’s holiness) from his "Doctrine of the Church" lectures.

…The only future for Evangelicalism is a confessional Evangelicalism…

- Al Mohler talking about the decline of institutional churches in America in the past half-century, after a fascinating discussion with Ross Douthat on his new book "Bad Religion: How We [America] Became a Nation of Heretics". (And he means “heretics” in the strict sense.) 

"Jesus > Religion" video going viral but it's just "Lame Poetry, False Dichotomies, & Bad Theology"

…the video is titled “Jesus > Religion” and, again according to The Resurgence post, the poem is about “how the gospel of Jesus is the good news that breaks us free from the chains of religion.” Ah yes, the chains of religion. For four minutes, Bethke rhymes his way around all kinds of false dichotomies and outright bad theology.

He begins by suggesting that Jesus came to abolish religion, a popular claim among evangelicals, particularly those of the non-denominational persuasion, but one that has no theological foundation. He then goes on to say that “Republican doesn’t automatically mean Christian,” which is true, if not slightly off topic. Then, returning to the subject of religion, he plays right into the hand of the so-called New Atheists by asking “if religion is so great, why has it started so many wars?” There’s some stuff about single mothers, poor people, whores, and John the Baptist, all by way of showing the inconsistencies of religious people…

I believe Jesus meant it when he said, “It is finished,” as well, but I’m sure the “it” he meant wasn’t religion.

See the problem is, Bethke doesn’t mean religion either, but he’s rehearsing a popular evangelical trope, that the freedom that Christians find through Jesus is freedom from structure, organization, and authority…

…Denouncing this video takes stepping outside of evangelical subculture to see its actual implications beyond our little playground, but doing so, I think, is extremely important.


As one of my friends and fellow church members said:

The video provides pagans with this message; “Yay, private Jesus no church” and then for Christians it definitely has gospel, but it seems to have some seeds of anti-institution. And, it sounds a little anti-nomian.

At one point it sounds like he’s criticising hypocrisy in the church, then it sounds like he’s completely anti-institution, and then in the end it sounds as if he pits imperative against indicative, and law against gospel, and I walk away wondering…what the heck?

Oh, and doesn’t the Bible say something about religion before God that is pure and undefiled!?!?!?!?


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