By Dr. Stephen Hague –
The [Ecumenical] Evangelical Theological Society, Eastern Region, 2014 meeting in Baltimore
The present-future chasm between Interfaith Ecumenical Evangelicals, Post Conservative Evangelicals,Neo-Evangelicals, and Conservative Evangelicals
As “Ecumenical Evangelical” is an oxymoron, “conservative Evangelical” is a redundancy. By definition, “Evangelical” historically included the idea of “not-ecumenical” (unless it meant to work for unity among the diverse body of Evangelicals). And “Evangelical” by definition meantconservative (not Historical-critical or Neo-orthodox) in regards to hermeneutics and theology. Correspondingly, are not “Post-conservative” and “Neo-Evangelical” also oxymoronic ways of saying “no longer conservative”?
The [E]-ETS met for their Eastern regional meeting for 2014 at Saint Mary’s Seminary, Baltimore, about a mile from our Protestant and conservative evangelical seminary. It was unquestionably the strangest Evangelical Society meeting that I have ever attended: a love-fest of faiths and a goodly number of quirky “Evangelical” papers (not meaning to disparage all the topics, but very few were on the Bible itself), including an interfaith response panel to Gerald R. McDermott’s first excellent keynote presentation. That panel consisted of a Mormon, an atheistic Jew, an orthodox Jew, and was chaired by the moderate former editor of Christianity Today. (Unfortunately, for such an interfaith extravaganza, I am told the Muslim respondent was not able to attend.) Even though the speaker was given response time, he was rather outnumbered by those respondents who pounced on his call for the freedom to persuade, among other things. After McDermot’s second keynote address, he did not have sufficient response time (ten minutes to rebut seventy minutes of criticism). Also, for the two rebuttals of his second address, there was no equivalent presentation of a counter-perspective, making both sets of counter-arguments to the speaker appear biased by design against the speaker’s presentation. Perhaps an oversight, but such unprofessionalism on such serious matters could (inadvertently) communicate a biased jury of a rigged courtroom, especially if ETS Eastern region is interested in real debate.