I have nearly completed reading, The End of Evangelicalism? Discerning a New Faithfulness for Mission by David Fitch. As Dr. Fitch warns in his blog, “there’s some intense political theory in this book alongside some intense theology.” While I lack formal education in both political theory and theology, I still found this book to be both accessible and full of hope.
It’s accessible because Fitch provides a comprehensive overview of the methods he uses to understand the ‘fact’ of experience (political theory) of Evangelical theology. He covers a lot of ground as he helps the reader understand and apply Slavoj Žižek’s social critical framework. After a couple of sessions of reading and rereading, I was prepared to use Žižek’s framework to explore Evangelicalism.
Fitch goes on to systematically investigate three central Evangelical theological commitments: “the inerrant Bible,” “the decision for Christ,” and “the Christian Nation.” He clearly shows how these commitments have lead to the establishment of an ideology that tends to be against much more than it is for.
The good news is that he doesn’t finish with a mere critique. I found hope as Fitch goes on to truly discern a new faithfulness for mission. Faithfulness focused on the formation of God’s people, socially, into the Body of Christ, “the very extension of “the Sent One’” participating in the missio Dei – the restoration of all things.
On several occasions, I have struggled to understand the opinions of some of my Evangelical friends and colleagues. Having a desire to live together in unity (Psalm 133: 1-3), I have sometimes remained silent especially when confronted with strongly held group opinions. Fitch’s book has given me a way to both understand where these opinions come from and a renewed hope for change. A hope that is based on faith in a loving God, a hope that claims that redemption, not suffering, is the final word.