Dr. Randall Balmer talks about how culture influences evangelicals

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.

Letha Dawson Scanzoni
Letha Dawson Scanzoni (1935-2024) was an independent scholar, writer, and editor, and the author or coauthor of nine books. In 1978, she and Virginia Ramey Mollenkott wrote Is the Homosexual My Neighbor?, one of the earliest books urging evangelical Christians to rethink their views on homosexuality (updated edition, 1994, HarperOne). More recently, Letha coauthored (with social psychologist David G. Myers) What God Has Joined Together: The Christian Case for Gay Marriage (HarperOne, 2005 and 2006). Another of Letha’s most well-known books is All We’re Meant to Be: Biblical Feminism for Today, coauthored with Nancy A. Hardesty (Word Books, 1974; revised edition, Abingdon, 1986; updated and expanded edition, Eerdmans, 1992). Letha served as editor of Christian Feminism Today in both its former print edition (EEWC Update) and its website for 19 years until her retirement in December 2013.


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