On Tribes and Community: Part 8, A Post-Evangelism Church?

I wanted to make one other comment before moving on from this series about tribes and progressive Christianity.

In Part 3 we asked the question, "If progressive Christians would like a tribe, why don't they just create one?" In answer we listed reasons why it's hard for progressives to create, maintain, and grow their churches.

But one of the answers I failed to mention is that many progressive Christians aren't just post-evangelical, they are post-evangelism.

The progressive impulse toward tolerance and inclusion, along with a post-modern stance on truth, leaves progressive Christians in an awkward position in regards to evangelism, sharing the gospel with non-believers. Evangelism smacks of judgementalism, I'm right and you are wrong. Worse, evangelism can tend toward colonialism, the history of white missionaries being sent to save dark pagan savages.

A related issue here is that progressive Christians are burdened by so many doubts that they lack the necessary conviction to feel passionate about sharing the gospel with others. If you're not sure you believe any of this stuff, how can you be expected to convince others to believe in it?

In short, progressive Christians tend to be poor evangelists. And for many progressive Christians, that's a feature, not a bug. The tolerance and the doubt--avoiding the "sin of certainty" as Peter Enns puts it--is the whole point of the progressive Christian journey.

And yet, that makes it difficult for progressive Christians to create or maintain a church of any size, a local tribe where they can belong and share life in thick and rich community.

Basically, if your church is post-evangelism your tribe will dwindle and vanish. Another reason progressive Christians so often find themselves alone.

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