I wanted to let you know that I recently wrote a book review and it was published!
Earlier this year Mark Labberton, President of Fuller Theological Seminary, edited and published Still Evangelical?: Insiders Reconsider Political, Social, and Theological Meaning. The collection was part of an effort to address the recent problems with evangelical identity politics and has many helpful essays from many sides of the political confusion that has captured the vision of what the label “evangelical” refers to.I was invited to write a review for the Journal of Latin American Theology: Reflections from the Latino South and I have linked to it here. I’m sorry if it seems a little “academic”, but I hope that isn’t a barrier to you if you want to read it.
My perspective for writing it was based on my experience in Latin America. The evangelical churches have grown so fast, and Latin Americans have become evangelicals in vast numbers during my life-time, and most of them have done so outside of the influence of American or European missionaries.
My experience has helped me realize that US Americans don’t determine what evangelicalism is or what the label will come to stand for. It is true that American evangelicals are closely watched by evangelicals and non-evangelicals from around the world. Our evangelical version of Christianity is often either imitated or persecuted. And it is true that we send lots of missionaries who try to influence the shape of evangelical faith in every country of the world. Our government watches out for missionaries and, sometimes, for local Christians in places where their religious freedom is violated.
The reality is that evangelicals around the world are reading the Bible for themselves, they are praying and hearing visions from God on their own, and they have become followers of Jesus Christ for their own reasons, some of which may or may not be the reasons why missionaries and evangelical leaders from our country think they should follow. And when they read the Bible and listen to the Spirit of Christ, they may often take a different path than we have. I have observed that the churches that do best in many places in Latin America are often the ones that are most criticized, ignored or ostracized by missionaries. Latin American evangelicals and their independence is sometimes based on the egos of leaders, but it is also often based on their own reading of the Scriptures or their own attentiveness to the Spirit of God. Directly, or often indirectly, their words and their actions call US American evangelical missionaries to account.
Well, if you want to know more, feel free to read my article.