Thursday, August 29, 2013
When evangelicals don’t change culture but change with the culture
In this article for the Christian Century, Dr. Randall Balmer examines the June decision by the leaders of the “ex-gay” organization, Exodus International, to close down their ministry and apologize to the many LGBTQ people whom the organization has hurt over its 37 years. Balmer uses this example as a case study showing how evangelicals so often alter their views as the larger culture changes—in spite of evangelicals’ claim to have “the truth” and their insistence that they hold unchanging convictions. He provides facts and statistics to show that not only have evangelicals been changing in their attitudes toward homosexuality, but have also changed dramatically in their attitudes toward divorce. “No matter how vigorously they protest,” says Balmer, “evangelicals are swept along by cultural currents together with everyone else.” Randall Balmer is currently chair of the Department of Religion at Dartmouth College. Having grown up in evangelicalism, he understands it from both personal experience and the perspective of a scholar who has devoted years of research and study in his special area, American religious history.