McLaren’s “disillusionment” was intensified by the increasing alignment of conservative Christians with politics of the right. Fast forward to November 9, 2016, the day after Donald Trump was elected president, and the disillusionment had spread, and had turned into anger for many evangelical leaders when we were told that 81 percent of voters who identified as “evangelical” voted for Trump.
Fuller Theological Seminary president Mark Labberton summarized the crisis of evangelicalism at a national gathering of evangelical leaders at Wheaton College in 2018. He called it “political dealing,” and he castigated evangelicals for grasping at political power, for racism, for nationalism, and for lack of concern for the poor. As is obvious, he was only talking about conservative evangelicals, but to him and many elite evangelicals, it is these evangelicals who constitute the crisis of evangelicalism today.
今日の危機が今までよりも深刻であることに疑問はない。福音派をリードする人たち（中でも、トランプ支持者とは距離を取ろうとしている人）がそのレッテルを剥（は）がそうとしている。彼らは「イエスのフォロワー」、「レッドレター・クリスチャン」、もしくは「ただのキリスト者」と呼ばれることを望んでいる。「福音派」と呼ばれることへの不快感は何年も前からあり、「ポスト福音派」「エマージェント（新しい）」に同調する人たちの間で嫌悪が始まった。だからこそ、これが発展して、このムーブメントの意味と将来について書かれた『まだ福音派？ 政治的・社会的・神学的意味の再構想』（Still Evangelicals? Insiders Reconsider Political, Social, and Theological Meaning）が出版されたのだ（私も寄稿した）。
No question that the crisis today is more intense than it has ever been, with leading evangelicals (usually those who want to distance themselves from anyone who seems to support Donald Trump) dropping that label, preferring to be labeled as a “follower of Jesus” or a “red-letter Christian” or just “Christian.” That discomfort with the name has been around for years, starting with those who felt more attuned to labels like “post-evangelical” or “emergent.” So troublesome are these developments that InterVarsity Press commissioned a book devoted to the meaning and future of the movement: Still Evangelicals? Insiders Reconsider Political, Social, and Theological Meaning (of which I was a contributor).
もちろん他の人たちは、政治と神学的なことは、危機とは別なことだとしているし、２０年ほど前に出版された『妥協した教会』（The Compromised Church: The Present Evangelical Crisis）もそうだった。ジョン・マッカーサー、マーク・デバー、デイビッド・ウェルス、アルバート・モーラー、フィリップ・ライケンらが寄稿した論集だ。彼らにとって、福音派教会は神学的にも聖書的にも礼拝でも底が浅くなってしまったとされたが、彼らの見解は自己への称賛も多かった。
Of course, others have located the crisis at the other end of the political and theological spectrum, and did so some 20 years earlier in The Compromised Church: The Present Evangelical Crisis, an anthology with contributions by John MacArthur, Mark Dever, David Wells, Albert Mohler, and Philip Ryken, among others. For these writers, the evangelical church had become shallow theologically, biblically, and in its worship. Their views also have a lot to commend themselves.
別な見解を示したのが、ジャーナリストで歴史家でもあるモリー・ウォーゼンだ。『理性の使徒──福音主義における権威の危機』（Apostles of Reason: The Crisis of Authority in Evangelicalism）」で、福音派に矛盾と混乱がはびこっているのは、信仰と生活を導くただ一人の権威者がこの運動には一度もいなかったからだと主張している。
Another view comes from journalist and historian Molly Worthen. In Apostles of Reason: The Crisis of Authority in Evangelicalism, she argues that evangelicalism is rife with contradictions and confusion because the movement has never has a single authority to guide its life and faith.
This may have been an insight to non-evangelicals, but those in the movement just said, “Well, yeah.” This is the great strength and weakness of evangelicalism. Its lack of structured authority—with only the Bible and each person’s reading of it—has allowed it to be a dynamic movement that shapes the faith attractively to each generation and each culture. But that lack of a central authority inevitably creates arguments and divisions, and therefore in some ways an ongoing crisis.
These are but a few of the crises that those inside and outside the movement name. Each of the critics have been right in more than one respect. As editor in chief of Christianity Today, embedded in the culture of evangelicalism for over half a century, I recognize the measure of truth in each of these many complaints. They are not to be dismissed with a sweep of the hand.
There is indeed a political crisis (but it’s both on the right and left in my view). And a crisis of racism (certainly among whites, but also increasingly among minorities). And a theological crisis. And a biblical crisis. And a crisis in worship (and not just because of thin worship songs). A crisis in marriage and family. A crisis in evangelism. A crisis in social justice. A crisis in pastoral care. A crisis in discipleship. And on it goes.
福音派の崩壊を予見する人も増えている。１０年前、ブロガーの故マイケル・スペンサーは「福音主義の崩壊と、それが起こる理由」（The Coming Evangelical Collapse, and Why It Is Going to Happen）というエッセイを発表し、それがきっかけで福音派の生存率について、ソーシャル・メディア上で初めてやりとりが交わされるようになった。以下に一部を取り上げる。
Along the way, we’ve seen an increasing number of predictions of evangelical demise. Ten years ago, the late blogger Michael Spencer sparked one of the first social media conversations about the viability of evangelicalism with his essay, “The Coming Evangelical Collapse, and Why It Is Going to Happen.” Among other things, he said this:
This collapse, will, I believe, herald the arrival of an anti-Christian chapter of the post-Christian west and will change the way tens of millions of people see the entire realm of religion. Intolerance of Christianity will rise to levels many of us have not believed possible in our lifetimes, and public policy will become particularly hostile towards evangelical Christianity, increasingly seeing it as the opponent of the good of individuals and society.
The response of evangelicals to this new environment will be a revisiting of the same rhetoric and reactions we’ve seen since the beginnings of the current culture war in the 1980s. The difference will be that millions of evangelicals will quit: quit their churches, quit their adherence to evangelical distinctives and quit resisting the rising tide of the culture.
Many who will leave evangelicalism will leave for no religious affiliation at all. Others will leave for an atheistic or agnostic secularism, with a strong personal rejection of Christian belief and Christian influence. Many of our children and grandchildren are going to abandon ship, and many will do so saying “good riddance.”
I was skeptical at the time he wrote this, and said so in print. But today I admit that Spencer was more right than he was wrong. Recent events and surveys bear out many of his predictions. We truly are in a moment of crisis in the American evangelicalism.
To be clear, I have no money in this game, meaning it doesn’t matter to me if, as many predict, the movement known as American evangelicalism fades away with the sunset. God has raised up many reform movements since the day of Pentecost, and has seen many die—some of which I suspect he has killed off. If evangelicalism fades away, he will in his mercy raise up another movement that will revive his people. The future of the church in America does not hinge on the health of evangelicalism; it hinges on the power of God. I’d say we’re in good hands.
That being said, American evangelicalism has had a unique beginning, one that energized it and carried it along for two centuries and more. And it has been one of the most revolutionary movements in church history, changing the face not only of North American Christianity, but with the 19th century missionary movement, the entire globe. This history has many troubling elements, as many have pointed out. This is not surprising, because it is a movement full of sinners. But God has been good and has nonetheless used it to enable people from all walks of life and every corner of the world to know the unsurpassable grace of Jesus Christ.
Still, contemporary evangelicalism is in serious trouble. Actually, its crisis is the same one that afflicts all Christianity in America. At the risk of hubris, and the risk of merely adding one more item to the seemingly endless list of crises, in this book, I believe that the crisis lies at the heart of what ails large swaths of the American church. Alexander Solzhenitsyn named it in his speech upon receiving the Templeton Prize in Religion in 1968. He was talking about Western culture when he used it. I apply it to the American church, evangelical and not: