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Generic, soft evangelicalism

The ARIS study was released, and contains a number of pertinent observations, none very surprising if you've been watching our culture. This quote from the Washington Post article caught my attention, because it is something I also have observed...

The number of people who describe themselves as generically "Protestant" went from approximately 17 million in 1990 to 5 million. Meanwhile, the number of people who use nondenominational terms has gone from 194,000 in 1990 to more than 8 million. "There is now this shift in the non-Catholic population -- and maybe among American Christians in general -- into a sort of generic, soft evangelicalism," said Mark Silk, who directs Trinity's Program on Public Values and helped supervise the survey. ... "If people call themselves 'evangelical,' it doesn't tell you as much as you think it tells you about what kind of church they go to," Silk said. "It deepens the conundrum about who evangelicals are."

I do think there has been a general loss of confidence in, or at least a loss of focus upon the centrality, of the Gospel of Christ's death and resurrection, and a corresponding loss of interest in sound doctrine. Many professing Christians don't even know -- or worse, care to know -- what the Reformation was all about. This has led to an identity crisis for evangelicalism. Books by Joel Osteen and R C Sproul are both being sold as "evangelical" works, but there is a world of difference.

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