I don't want to get too philosophical about change, but I want to make one point: Change often isn't best assessed by the people who are taking it mainstream in the moment they're effecting it. That's not a critique or a deliberate, vague reference to any one person.
As we wrap up another year of a particular sort of change within fundamentalism that, in my opinion, is for the better, I thought I might leave us with a few things that have been said more than once over the past year, in most cases by more than one person. I wonder if that might offer a bit of historical perspective on the present developments, or even whether there are new developments.
That's not to say they weren't being said six years ago. I think all of them were actually said six years ago. But I'll contend that they weren't being said as publicly or as forcefully by as many people in positions of perceived leadership with as broad a receptive audience. I'm curious to see what sorts of statements you might have observed. Here's what leapt to my mind:
- I have more in common with some conservative evangelicals than much of the fundamentalist mainstream.
- Let's invite a particular sort of conservative evangelical to be our guest speaker.
- We need to apply separation just as aggressively towards people to the right of us as to the left of us.
- We need to recognize that some of these issues are complex judgment calls, not all of us are going to see all the issues the same way, and we need to grant one another the freedom to apply biblical principles in the ways their consciences dictate.
- Platform fellowship doesn't imply full mutual endorsement.
- All of us are "disobedient brothers" in one way or another.