by Lendol Calder
Everywhere I go these days people are talking about the migration of evangelicals to older church traditions. A question that sometimes comes up is why do evangelicals leap before they look? What does it say about evangelicalism that so many are leaving it without close inspection of the doctrinal structures of their new church homes?
What I notice about conversations on this subject is that often they lean heavily on an ideational analysis of the question. People talk about the merits of Reformation versus Catholic doctrines, or Baptist versus Orthodox beliefs, as if the migrants’ decision to leave one church for another were primarily a matter of weighing different theologies. The image suggested by this type of analysis is that of a theological wrestling match—“In the blue corner, weighing 200 pounds and representing the Thirty-Nine Articles, the archbishop of Canterbury! In the red corner, weighing 150 pounds and representing the Twelve Fundamentals, Rev. Jerry Falwell!”—in which migrants have decided to root for the “heavier” theology.
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