Will Wheaton College Rehabilitate the Word “Evangelical”?

It looks like Wheaton College, the bastion of American evangelicalism in the Chicago suburbs, wants to rehabilitate the word “evangelical.”  If anyone attending this event wants to write something-up I would be happy to publish it here at the blog:

Wheaton Evangelical

Learn more about this event here.

8 thoughts on “Will Wheaton College Rehabilitate the Word “Evangelical”?

  1. I learned painful truths about Martin Luther- that he would have approved of how the Nazis used this theology in support of their regime because he essentially had Nazi views, that Luther was the father of the Nazi-Soviet dictatorship. I embraced Byzantine Christianity because the Byzantine Church never had any travesty like a “Reformation!” I don’t like the nationalisms in the Orthodox Church, and for this reason, I still think the Roman Pope is a better deal, and I am an ethnic German so I would naturally be under the Roman Pope anyway.


  2. Unicorn
    , I had never heard of that theory but it sounds like something which would be provocative intellectually.


  3. Not “political conservatism” per se (though there is some overlap). Mostly various corollaries of Fundamentalism. Which seems to go synergistic with the lunatic-fringe “political conservatism” you get today. Make that the Lunatic Fringe that seems to have taken over American Poltics on both sides.

    According to Strauss & Howe’s generational cycle theory, this is caused by an “Idealist Generation” (the Baby Boomers) reaching the end of their ascendancy as they age out. Idealist Gens grow up at a post-crisis time of prosperity and start at the top of Maslow’s Heirarchy. Their Idealism often manifests as Juvenile Fanaticism for a One True Way, and since the Universe cannot have TWO One True Ways they will be at each other’s throats like Religious Wars. (Whether that Religion is actual Religion, Politics, or other philosophies/worldviews.) And as they age without achieving their Perfection, they “know their time is short” and ramp up the fanaticism for The One True Way.

    Usually this drifts into a Crisis Period on the level of the Civil War or WW2. And in their early books I read in the Eighties, Strauss & Howe predicted the next Crisis Period would begin around 2020.


  4. Unicorn,

    I can’t get the full drift of your remarks, but I perceive that you think that evangelicals have been sullied due to their support of political conservatism. Please correct me if I am misreading your posting.

    I will take a different angle on the matter. Wheaton prides itself on being academically rigorous. (And they probably are.). The problem arises when when any school wants to maintain an academic image as an acceptable bastion of the mind. If the institution wants to keep this mantle of respectability, it cannot be seen as too closely allied with all the political yahoos who support Trump. “After all, we enjoy our symposiums, conferences, and faculty receptions held with the employees of the prestigious secular schools.”


  5. Cute.

    Since Wheaton College isn’t Wesley Crusher, they’re going to have a hard uphill fight saving this ship.

    From my in-country experience in Furry Fandom, there is only so much you can do to rehabilitate a label/brand that other insiders have not only trashed but continue to trash. Especially when the trashed brand attracts Loud Crazies (fanatics with no lives to get in the way) who have a way of defining the public face of the brand.


  6. Christian,
    I disagree with you about the pervasive influence of Calvinism on American Evangelicalism. It’s definitely there but far from being a majority opinion. Most American evangelicals adhere doctrinally to a hybrid in terms of the Calvinist-Arminian divide. Full-blown Arminianism is as strong as full-blown Calvinism.

    Your posting centered principally upon your opinion of the societal effects of American and German religion. I would be curious to know what attracted you theologically to the Byzantine Rite and why you believe it to be superior to Luther’s theology. I am less interested in the social outworkings you perceive to be arising from any particular theology.



  7. As someone who grew up Lutheran and converted ultimately to Byzantine-rite Catholicism, what I’m about to write concerning the Lutheran Church is still rather painful to me. The events of 1930s and 1940s Germany where the world saw the Lutheran Church enthusiastically embrace the Hitler regime, the revival of Luther’s murderous anti-Semitism which theretofore was too extreme for most German anti-Semites, links between Luther’s thought and both Nazi ideology and Nazi policy, and even saw the addition of swastikas on crosses and incorporation of pagan rites in the worship confronted the world with the darkness and evil of the person of Martin Luther.

    The Lutheran Church in Germany to a large degree still hasn’t recovered and probably never will recover from its support from Hitler. Despite dark, extreme views of Martin Luther himself, the Lutheran Church has a long history or moderation, common sense, temperance, and most things decent, even often rejecting Luther’s own views on Church-State relations in favor of something much closer to Catholicism. Yet, it remains in a state of crisis over 12 years of cooperation with pure evil. The Catholic Church is now the largest religious institution in Germany, and it is well within the realm of possibility that Germany could become a majority Catholic country during this century. The Lutheran Church has a great, rich culture, which will definitely survive much longer than the Lutheran Church itself, because the Catholic Church will see to its survival.

    Today’s times now force us to see the darkness and evil of the American Evangelical movement and of the Calvinist reformation. American Evangelicalism maybe did participate in the abolitionist movement, but it was also the religion of the slaveowner and gave its blessing to the Native American genocides, Jim Crow and segregation, ersatz theological justification for racism, birth of the KKK, brutal treatment to immigrants from the European continent, opposition to Civil Rights, disdain for charity, simultaneous brutal treatment of Jews and hypocritical anti-Semitic support for the State of Israel. Let us not forget that much of America’s Evangelical movement (but definitely not all of it) is of a Calvinist orientation. The historical pedigree of American Evangelicalism makes its support for Trump and his Fascist policies a very natural fit.

    Unlike the Lutheran Church, American Evangelicalism has a long history of extremism, brutality, violence, genocide, brutal suppression of ethnic groups it despises, selective rage, seeking power and prestige over and above living out the Gospel, and general hypocrisy. Unlike the Lutheran Church, American Evangelicalism has done nothing to promote arts and culture; there are no American Evangelical equivalents to Bach, Mendelssohn, Brahms, Wagner, no Evangelical analogue to Weimar Classicism. There are armadas of Catholic, Lutheran, Episcopal, Methodist, and Presbyterian hospitals and social services. Where are the Evangelical hospitals and social services? Without reservation, I can say in all confidence that American Evangelicalism has been nothing but a force for evil, and if anything the enthusiastic Evangelical embrace for Trump should confront us against our collective will with the intrinsic evil that is American Evangelicalism.

    Under no circumstance should the word or concept of “Evangelicalism” be rehabilitated, especially in America. IF Christianity is going to have a future in America; Evangelicalism must be excommunicated from Christianity; no, not excommunicated, but anathematized from Christianity!


  8. For a minute there, I thought there was a new institution called “Will Wheaton College” (which I suppose would be more properly spelled “Wil Wheaton College”).

    I might have slightly more confidence about Wil Wheaton College rehabilitating the word “evangelical”.


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