Responses: A New Kind of Christianity … on revolutionary Evangelicalism

A reader writes:

I really enjoyed reading McKnight’s review of ANKOC and your response. I think its the kind of debate that we see so little of in Christianity today; opposite viewpoints which are nonetheless capable of engaging each other with civility. What struck me about McKnight’s review is he goes back to orthodoxy as the focal point for evangelicalism. Fair enough, but there’s something I’ve always found strange about the evangelical emphasis on orthodoxy as a fixed truth throughout the ages. Obviously, evangelicalism is itself an offshoot of the Protestant Reformation of the 1500’s. The Reformation wasn’t just about problems with the Catholic Church, but about a new way of understanding our relationship with God. Luther’s true radicalism wasn’t his break with the Catholic Church but his revolutionary teachings about grace and our relationship with God. When evangelicals talk about “a personal relationship with Jesus” they owe this to the spirit of revolution and upheaval of the Reformation. The Reformation shook the orthodoxy of the previous 1400 years in the same kind of way the “emerging” church is currently doing. So it strikes me that evangelicals can’t talk about a consistent orthodoxy, because what Christians consider “orthodox” is always changing and evolving, and they themselves are a part of that.