The essence of evangelicalism has become a central concern among evangelicals since the election of President Donald Trump. In light of these debates, a new report presented a typology of five varieties of American evangelicalism.
The Nov. 1 report, “The Varieties of American Evangelicalism,” was conducted by the Center for Religion and Civil Culture at the University of Southern California. The five types are: Trump-vangelicals, Neo-fundamentalist evangelicals, iVangelicals, Kingdom Christians, and Peace and Justice evangelicals.
Three criteria were used to come up with the groups: “First, each type shares a basic agreement on evangelical theology. Second, they each understand themselves as existing within the larger tradition of American evangelicalism, whether or not they refer to themselves, their churches and other organizations as ‘evangelical.’ And third, their theology motivates how they act in the world, including appropriate social and political actions, and attitudes toward people who do not share their religious commitments.”
The report notes that some evangelicals don’t fit neatly into any single category, can move among categories, or belong to more than one category. As an example, the report notes that Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, is categorized as a neo-fundamentalist evangelical but agrees with peace and justice evangelicals on some issues.
There appears to be a wider range of theological views within certain categories, as evidenced by the fact that Tim Keller and Creflo Dollar are both mentioned as “notable figures” for iVangelicals.
Trump-vangelicals are Christian nationalists. The core of Trump’s base, they are mostly white but include some Latino and black pastors. They value access to political power and many believe God chose and blessed Trump in order to “make American great again.” Notable figures include Pat Robertson, James Dobson, Franklin Graham and Jerry Falwell Jr.
Neo-fundamentalist evangelicals are also part of Trump’s base, but seek to keep a distance from him and are more critical of his moral failings. They emphasize personal morality and their understanding of correct theology. Notable figures include Al Mohler, John MacArthur and Tony Evans.
iVangelicals arose from the megachurch movement. While more or less politically conservative, they don’t emphasize politics and avoid the appearance of partisanship. Mostly white and suburban, they center on Sunday worship and personal betterment. Notable figures include Joel Osteen, T.D. Jakes and the pastors for Hillsong.
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Napp Nazworth