If evangelical leaders have any guts at all, they’ll expose the extremists who masquerade as evangelicals.
Are Christian Reconstructionists and the promoters of the Prosperity Gospel on the fringe of evangelical Christianity? Are they dangerous kooks who have attached their ideological movements to American evangelicalism in order to seem more mainstream?
Should the leaders of these groups be called out by name and publicly denounced?
Yes, says Roger E. Olsen.
Gradually, over the past thirty to forty years, “the public mind” has come to identify American evangelicalism with the movement’s extremists, its lunatic fringe, who have pushed themselves forward as self-appointed spokespersons for “evangelicals” in general. Television talk show hosts, popular (uninformed) journalists, critics of Christianity with platforms (blogging, writing, speaking) have tended to identify American evangelicalism with one particular wing of the movement—what I call neo-fundamentalists (because their real religious ethos is more akin to the fundamentalist movement that arose in the first half of the 20th century than to the postfundamentalist evangelical movement that coalesced around Billy Graham in the second half of the century). Many of these neo-fundamentalists, who call themselves “conservative evangelicals,” have adopted a triumphalist political agenda of using the power of politics to enforce their vision of Christianity on a pluralistic public.
Many say Roger Olsen is right on target with this but others worry he may be using too broad of a brush.
Read more at Roger E. Olsen’s blog.
He also has a detailed takedown of the “Prosperity Gospel” in his book Counterfeit Christianity.
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