Monday, December 07, 2009

"Evangelical Theology", si mi lai?

Since my conversion to Christianity, I did not really identify myself as an 'evangelical'. Being an evangelical is foremost to identify with 'evangelical theology'. The term does not have any real meaning to me. Yet there was a short phase previously when I think that I was an evangelical not because I have finally grasp its meaning but because most books that I read are written by those who consider themselves evangelicals (hence their evangelical theology). Just like how a child considers himself as a Disney fan because he watched only animations from that one studio, and before he found out there are so many other animations done by other production companies. Now, it simply does not bother me whether am I an evangelical or not.

Stephen Holmes has been a professional theologian and joined the evangelical circle since his conversion. He has just recently come to reflect over the definition of this term. To him an evangelical theology embraces a wide demography because it is not so concern over different doctrines within its bounds but on the emphasis of particular doctrines' importance. He thinks that evangelical theology "within certain fixed limits, determinedly irenic and ecumenical, refusing to allow doctrinal differences to interfere with a shared commitment to mission aimed at personal and social transformation."

He provides an example: "...to regard Calvinism as more important than personal conversion or social renewal is to espouse a non-evangelical theology."

He has made a significant point there, I think. Yet it still stand to ask what are his 'certain fixed limits'? Which doctrines an evangelical cannot not confess, and which cannot?

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