Revoice, Evangelical Culture, and the Return of an Old Friend
By Dr. Carl Trueman - Posted at MOS - Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals:
With moving job and house in the last two months, I was only vaguely aware of the Revoice Conference until a few weeks ago. The suddenly my phone started to light up as friends forwarded me tweets and blog posts and interviews, pro and con. Finally, at the weekend a whole pile of very disturbing soundbites landed in my inbox from various sources. I have yet to listen to the talks so cannot offer any criticism of them but I have noticed that, in all the critiques I have seen, a couple of key dots have not been connected: those between Revoice and the general culture of Big Eva. (For new readers, if any such exist, Big Eva is not a large German who works in border control for the Bundesrepublik but my term for the network of large evangelical organizations and conferences that seeks to shape the thinking and strategy of the American evangelical churches. She used to be a regular in this column but has been away on an "extended furlough" for a couple of years).
What Big Eva has done is create an economy of power, people, and indeed money which is non-ecclesiastical but highly influential within evangelical churches. It is a populist movement of tremendous influence and minimal accountability. It provides an identity for its most passionate acolytes. And because it promises rewards to individuals and organizations – influence, students, platform – it is both very hard to criticize and functionally unaccountable to any but its own. The Trinity controversy of two years ago was a case in point: no church creed had ever taught the nonsense that had become so pervasive in evangelicalism. Quite the contrary – the creedal history of the church was arguably constructed to exclude precisely the kindof views that were being espoused. But key conferences and key organizations had a vested interest in sidestepping orthodoxy and demonizing any who pointed thatout.
There is an important distinction to be made here. Discussion of matters of note in the public square is a good thing, whether by books, articles, blogs or, for those who prefer their arguments unencumbered by polysyllabic words, long sentences and, well, argument, Twitter. But provoking people to think about issues by offering forthright opinions is one thing. Aspiring to be a movement, to direct and shape the policies and testimony of the church is quite another. That should be done through the appropriate ecclesiastical bodies – whether sessions, consistories, elder boards, presbyteries, synods etc.