In the book No Place For Truth David Wells has been explaining how the “revival” movements tended to push a more democratic ideal when it comes to the practice of the church and theology. He compares unfavorably the practice of the church with American “democratic” government. He says this:
The triumph of the audience, which in contemporary evangelicalism has often also been a triumph of modernity, has been effected far more radically among evangelicals than in the nation as a whole. The reason it would seem, is that the nation is encumbered by a set of immovable institutions sanctioned by the Constitution, whereas evangelical faith has almost entirely liberated itself from the inconveniences and constraints that institutions might impose upon it. If the evangelical world has its theology, it is neither codified nor dignified as is the slogans, and often serves only to define the outer parameters of faith rather than to explore and confess what that faith means. Furthermore, it is open to revision on a whim or by a strong leader. And if evangelicals have their churchly structures, they are not permanent as are the structures of the nation’s government. They can be set up, taken down, moved around, or dispensed with at will. The result is that, for better or for worse, democratic assumptions in religious mass movements suffer few of the frustrations that they do in the nation at large.
His previous point is that the theology of the church has fallen to the whims of the populace. Democracy’s worst has seen fulfillment in the practice of the church. Even the American government has done a better job preserving its founders’ ideals.
2 thoughts on “Being Democratic”
Hey babe, don’t be frustrated by posts like these. I know you may not care about this but I at least want to let you in on what I’m thinking and just writing helps me to put the thoughts in order.
I won’t be. I do want to know what’s running around inside your mind!