Several years ago a main line seminary professor was quoted as saying, “The idea of a literal after life has not been taught in any mainline seminary for many years.”
Yet, I would guess the vast majority of graduate preachers talk to their congregations about the afterlife as if it were literal. To employed remain they must.
Thus, these trends cancel each other. The main line clergy are taught something we might call evangelism lite but they must talk about the old message when they are employed by churches. As a faculty member in the link below is quoted as saying, “I teach at a mainline seminary, and we do not feel very triumphal.”
There is a dilemma in this. The parents and grandparents who pay for the preacher want the continue hearing about sin, forgiveness, heaven and hell. The coming generation, surveys say, are not much interested in these ancient notions. So, while the orthodox hangs in tough among existing church members it might not have legs to carrying on the future generations.
We all know current events often do not predict the future. We have just seen a quick turnaround in Egypt from a democracy, which was thought to be part of the “Arab Spring”, to a military coup.
A friend of mine who has traveled the globe several times made a great observation about politics in the absense of critical thinking, “If it looks OK, it is OK.”
How it looks will determine the future of evangelicalism.