I give Roger Olson an applause for an accurate sketch of the American evangelical coalition, of the influx of a fundamentalist spirit that is taking over (and rob our freedom in Christ), and of the difficulty of the middle road. What I find grieving, too, is the lack of understanding on the part of many loud voices today of the history of 20th Century evangelicalism. What was clearly fundamentalism and what was “neo-evangelicalism,” which the former decried constantly as a wash out, has blended into “evangelicalism” today with the former thinking the latter don’t belong.
My heart has grieved over what has happened to the evangelical movement. On the one side one finds popularizers peddling a “gospel” of health and wealth through positive thinking. On the other side one finds fundamentalists trying to exclude as non-evangelical everyone who doesn’t think just like them. The middle (which I think of as the historical evangelical position of tolerance of differences of opinion within a general embrace of historic Christian orthodoxy) is hard to inhabit. People there get shot at from both sides.