The discussion has been ongoing in centres of academia. The popular versions are now arriving with force.
Descartes said: “You are what you think.”
Did Jesus really say: “You are what you love.”
The Fundamentalism of the early 20th century fought for proper thinking and doctrine. Evangelicals were the beneficiaries of this broad ranging study and research. Nevertheless, as WWII finished, evangelicals were wondering: Where was the heart? Where did mission go when all you could see was the bad – and when love was interpreted through the fire of hell?
This was a perspective thing.
Fundamentalists were saving the church from the heresy and rot of an evil generation. Evangelicals, the children of fundamentalism, wanted a more welcoming stance.
Now evangelicals are back in the old war, as division continues to break within their ranks. The head that seems to be most notable in terms of a return to the fundamentals is the club that gets called “neo-reformed”. The other head that seems to be most notable in terms of a return to the heart and inclusion comes from a now fractured emerging church movement.
And now the new buzz word is “flourishing”.
Flourishing is seen as the whole person being saved, with primary emphasis on the here and now, with eternity an extension of the flourishing begun here. Whereas church growth proponents looked at calculated numbers (those accepted by Jesus and saved into heaven), the flourishing group looks at heart transformation (those saved by Jesus and accepted into heaven).
I could get into such things as REVEAL and Rob Bell, and Brian McLaren and John Piper and John McArthur – which are now old news.
Might I venture to say that too much of a stretch on either side is bringing the elastic of evangelicalism to a breaking point.