Thursday, July 28, 2005

the evangelical outpost: Fads and Fixtures

the evangelical outpost: Fads and Fixtures

“Virtually all the people on Time magazine's list of 'The 25 Most Influential Evangelicals' share at least one glaringly significant trait,” says Phillip Johnson, “For the most part, these are the fadmakers.” Johnson goes on to list a number of “cheerleaders for whatever is fashionable”, including the usual suspects such as Rick Warren and Tim LaHaye, and explains why their programs are “fads”:

Not one of those movements or programs even existed 35 years ago. Most of them would not have been dreamed of by evangelicals merely a generation ago. And, frankly, most of them will not last another generation. Some will last a few short months (like the Jabez phenomenon did); others may seem to dominate for several years but then die lingering deaths (like Bill Gothard's movement is doing). But they will all eventually fade and fall from significance. And some poor wholesale distributor will be left with warehouses full of Jabez junk, Weigh-Down Workshop paraphernalia, "What Would Jesus Do?" bracelets, Purpose-Driven® merchandise, and stacks and stacks of "emerging church" resources.

Like Johnson, I'm concerned about the way in which evangelicals tend to embrace whatever trends and kitsch happen to be hot sellers at “Christian” bookstores. But while Johnson laments that most of the “stuff you are currently being told you must read and implement will soon seem as hopelessly out of date” I take comfort in knowing that most of this stuff is nothing more than a passing trend. It is not the dernier cri that will soon be gone that concerns me but the faddage that becomes a fixture. Fads still receive scrutiny while fixtures remain largely unquestioned."

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