George Marsden suggests that a characteristic of evangelicalism is its transdenominational nature. What he means is that evangelicals seem at home in parachurch ministries and organizations that transcend any particular denominational structure. Transdenominationalism is about cooperation across denominational lines through mediating institutions like InterVarsity Fellowship. The point is that evangelicalism does not exist apart from the cooperation of persons and local churches across denominational lines. As a school that is not officially connected to any particular denomination, Regent School of Divinity (SOD) sees itself as transdenominational insofar as part of its mission is to serve as many ecclesial traditions as possible. Can one find this transdenominationalism at the SOD?
Author Archive for Dale M. Coulter
- Dale M. Coulter is an associate professor in the School of Divinity at Regent University. Originally from Florida, he prefers warms climates and sunny days. He is happily married to Esther and together they share three young and vibrant children--Bella, Sophie, and Christian. He received his doctorate from the University of Oxford and has written on the 12th century. He also is part of Evangelicals and Catholics Together and serves as co-editor for Pneuma: The Journal of the Society for Pentecostal Studies. In addition to reading ancient and medieval authors, Dale enjoys a good cup of coffee with some Smooth Jazz, especially the Rippingtons, playing in the background.
When I got to the office this morning, I opened up my email and received the news that Ralph Del Colle had passed away last night at 7 PM. He was 57 years old with much left to say to the world, but God, in his infinite wisdom, thought otherwise.
It was just a little over a week after Ralph had received the Anointing of the Sick. A large community of folks had been in prayer for Ralph during his final days that God’s will would be accomplished in his life. His death is a great loss for all of us in the Christian community. I am sure that there will be other tributes to Ralph in the coming days, but, for now, I offer this initial effort to honor the life of one who sought God with all of the theological acumen he possessed. Read the rest of this entry »
The recent release of the movie Magic Mike and the growing popularity of the book Fifty Shades of Grey have rightly prompted some serious reflection by Christians on the nature of the sexual revolution as it attempts to legitimize all forms of sexual expression. What makes such reflection even more necessary is that youth pastors and even pastors, in some cases, are touting these latest expressions of the sexual revolution as relatively harmless. In many ways, both the book and the movie are mere expressions of the sexual revolution, and yet they also contribute to its ongoing impact on the larger culture, an impact that is ultimately destructive to men, women, their sexual relations, and especially the children who result from such relations. Read the rest of this entry »
Many of the recent debates within evangelicalism and the larger culture (health care, complementarianism, etc.) have turned on a number of more basic issues like how one gets at truth. As I was on my way in to the office this morning, I thought about important differences between absolutism and fundamentalism. Sometimes I think we get these confused in the popular culture when we rush to defend the truth.
Let me begin by defining the terms more succinctly to avoid creating another layer of confusion for my readers. Read the rest of this entry »
Recently, Thomas Bergler, a professor at Huntington University in Indiana, released a book in which he argues that American Christianity has been largely co-opted by youth movements during the latter part of the twentieth century. He has also summarized the main arguments in a piece for Christianity Today.
As a product of the Marsden-Noll “school,” Bergler’s arguments remain largely historical with some analysis in the final chapter of the book. His arguments have also received positive endorsements from other historians of American religion, such as John Turner who blogs at The Anxious Bench.
What Bergler attempts to do is track an important trend in twentieth-century evangelicalism (mostly) and its impact, positive and negative, on worship practices, doctrine, church structure, and other features of evangelical Christianity. The argument is sophisticated and should be taken seriously. I find much to agree with, and yet, there are some nagging suspicions I have and from which I cannot escape. My suspicions cause me to wonder about, in Paul Harvey’s words, the rest of the story. . . .
Hierarchies are almost always symbolized by pyramid structures although both egalitarians and complementarians would be uncomfortable with the cultural way of defining such structures. Should the church and home imitate a business model with a CEO at the top? Should they imitate class structures?
In the previous post, I offered three points in response to Joe Carter’s update on the debate between egalitarians and complementarians. My purpose was to clear away some misconceptions and misperceptions by the complementarians to suggest that these missteps occurred on both sides. I want to continue along the same lines by clarifying ideas surrounding patriarchy and hierarchy.
My central claim is that both egalitarians and complementarians embrace hierarchy and both reject patriarchy albeit in different ways. Read the rest of this entry »