Identity, history and the Evangelical Landscape in New Zealand

John Roxborogh

(originally published in Susan and William Emilsen, eds. Mapping the Landscape: Essays in Australian and New Zealand Christianity, festschrift for Ian Breward, 1999. Some links in the footnote references are no longer valid)

A map of the Evangelical landscape can be considered in terms of the components of Evangelical identity. These include patterns of belief, association with individuals, institutions and narratives, as well as geographical locations. This essay examines the concept of identity in relation to the historical and contemporary evangelicalism. It discusses the value of the term for describing a set of theological concerns, characteristic activities and institutional loyalties. Attempts to define the tradition by the championship of causes suggest that its claim to represent the essence of Protestant Christianity still functions as a source of authority. That Ian Breward has continued to identify with the tradition is a reminder of dimensions that are relevant as evangelical identity seeks to cope with challenges posed by globalisation and the postmodern phase of Western intellectual history. It remains to be seen whether the movement will escape its captivity to the Enlightenment. Evangelicalism may need to look to the spiritual experiences of indigenous peoples and converts in non-Western societies, as well as to a fresh analysis of the conversion of medieval Europe if it is to remain relevant and be as true to historic Christian faith as it claims. The scope of Ian’s interests and the standards of his scholarship are important models for this enterprise.

If “identity” is about answering questions such as “Who am I?” “Where do I belong?” and “Where have we come from?” then for evangelicals as for others, identity is about the relationship between personal stories and those of other people with similar experiences, and connections with places and institutions which have given shape to the meaning of the words they use to describe themselves. Evangelical stories include those of an experienced faith in Christ, a sense of the relevance of the Bible to life, and association with churches, groups, movements and individuals who affirm these experiences, articulate their meaning and give it a sense of purpose by engagement in mission. In particular evangelical identity is linked to how echoes of these stories relate to an understanding of personal faith, the authority of the Bible, and the centrality of the atonement formulated at the time of the Reformation.

Creedal affirmations related to these emphases are important, but formulations of Protestant beliefs are only one way of answering the “Who am I” question. When some Gays[1]  and people in business wanting to change things[3] can be found among those who use the word evangelical of themselves or their colleagues, it is not surprising if others wonder where the boundaries are. At the same time, something can be learnt from those who want to use the word,[4] as also from those who are wanting to distance themselves from it.

A valuable contribution to the articulation of the theological components of evangelical identity is Alister McGrath’s, Evangelicalism and the future of Christianity.[5] McGrath is arguing for an ideal as well as describing how he sees the tradition. Definitions which take account of common traits have been provided for the British scene by David Bebbington[6]. For Australia, Stuart Piggin has taken “the Spirit, the Word and the world” as characteristic evangelical concerns.[7] Material on the worldwide web is uncontrolled, but nevertheless indicative of usage.[8] Evidence from before fundamentalism entered the picture can be found in the Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics.[9]

The approach taken here does not seek to be normative, but to note those things which have functioned to reinforce evangelical identity, internationally and in relation to New Zealand.  The task of defining the centre and the boundaries is important, but it is not particularly my purpose. I do however suggest qualities and strategies which I believe to be relevant for the future.

As in most things, history is a key. However formulated[10] the idea of being evangelical remains attached to personal commitment to Jesus Christ and a high view of the Bible. If these go back at least to the Reformation, only from the later part of the 18th century did evangelicalism consistently come to include belief in Christian mission. It was associated with Puritanism and Pietism, with Methodists in England, and revivals in Scotland and in North America.

By the early 19th century “Evangelicals” were parties in the Church of Scotland and the Church of England. The Methodist, and later Pentecostal components of evangelicalism ensured that the term encompassed both Arminian and Calvinist streams, as it has continued to do. Evangelicals in Britain came from a range of classes, but tended to be upwardly mobile working-class among Methodists, and middle-class and populist in Scotland. Individuals like William Carey, Charles Simeon, William Wilberforce and Thomas Chalmers gave shape to the tradition as encompassing personal faith, social morality, and global mission. The atonement was central, but otherwise these leaders sat lightly on confessions which were regarded as a hindrance to evangelism. Numbers of evangelicals were competent scientists, and the world of nature held few fears for those who embraced the bible as revelation. If some were vitally concerned about prophecy and the end times, others doubted the value of such interests. They formed societies to convert the world and explore it.  Bible translation and distribution was the engine of faith and civilization for all peoples.

In New Zealand, Presbyterian and Methodist settlers were predominantly evangelical, as were denominations such as Baptist, Brethren, Salvation Army and the Pentecostal churches as they arrived on the scene. Narratives of the Scottish Disruption of 1843, like those of the Covenanters of the 17th century were for Presbyterian evangelicals a part of their story.  It served to define themselves over against the perceived theological liberalism of Moderates within the Church of Scotland, but in Scotland divided them from equally evangelical secession churches over the question of establishment. The Evangelical Union was a Scottish group formed in 1843 which rejected Calvinism.[11] In New Zealand, like Scotland, those who were most evangelistic were not always those most concerned about doctrinal purity.[12]

 In the 20th century groups such as the China Inland Mission, institutions such as the Bible Training Institute (BTI), now the Bible College of New Zealand, and publications such as Challenge Weekly and Reaper, now Reality, gave identity across denominations. An enemy in “modernism” and a sense of the relevance of the Gospel to life encouraged a vision of sanctified Christian service in the highest of causes. This was enhanced by shared experiences with overseas evangelists, “Keswick” conventions and Easter camps. Generations reaching back to the 1930s were shaped by Scripture Union, Inter -Varsity Fellowship and the BTI. Parts of the country acquired “bible belt” status - Mt Roskill and South Auckland, parts of the Manawatu and Southland in particular. For Anglicans, Nelson became a self-consciously “evangelical diocese”, and the Latimer Fellowship and NZ CMS provided a focus for evangelicals in other dioceses. Groups such as Youth For Christ and Navigators contributed a more American style alongside the British emphases of older groups. Since the 1960s evangelical concerns have been given focus by the Westminster Fellowship and the Affirm movements among Anglican, Methodist and Presbyterian Churches. Concern over church union, Professor Geering, and the homosexual debate brought fresh energy to these groups, as did the charismatic movement. 

Throughout the history of evangelicalism, groups and individuals have portrayed themselves as representing the essence of true Christianity going back to the New Testament. The confidence of this assertion has been little affected by observations about the extent to which evangelicalism arose in specific cultural and historical circumstances. It is also forgotten that the ecumenical and social gospel movements grew out of evangelical commitment and missionary experience. From the 1920s, polarization over modern theology, and in the 1960s over political mission and church union, meant many felt alienated. Fundamentalism began as an attempt to define core elements of faith, but became a mentality which sought survival through separation. It remains part of the New Zealand evangelical story.[13]

From the 1950s John Stott in Britain and Billy Graham in North America called for a fresh engagement with the world and other Christians, and their credibility contributed enormously to the renewal of the evangelical tradition. People like F. F. Bruce, E. J. Carnell, Bernard Ramm and James Packer, brought intellectual backbone. Study of the Puritans remains an important source of renewal. Institutions such as Fuller Theological Seminary and Christianity Today, and international movements such as Lausanne, and the World Evangelical Fellowship, helped the new evangelicalism became successful. This was reflected into the New Zealand scene and transmitted through leadership such as William Orange in Christchurch, Professor Blaiklock, R. A. Laidlaw and J. Graham Miller. The fact that New Zealand evangelicalism came to include charismatics, Pentecostals and radical social activists suggests that their efforts to control the spiritual borders of the country were only partially successful.

The Challenge and the Bible College of New Zealand remain foci of identity despite the number of parallel institutions and the difficulty of pleasing even some of the people all of the time. Stimulus,[14] growing out the Christian Brethren Research Fellowship in 1992 provides a solid contribution to Christian thought, with standards of debate which are as important as the views it represents. Vision New Zealand and its conferences,[15] also reflect a serious effort to relate to a wider constituency. Scripture Union still provides a common experience for many. Youth For Christ, Signposts, Operation Jerusalem, and the Parachute music festival are also sources of defining evangelical experiences for young people. The Tertiary Students Christian Fellowship, Navigators and Campus Crusade serve a similar function among University and Polytechnic students.

International students are found in these groups, particularly from Southeast Asia, but relatedness to Polynesian and Maori cultures remains a challenge despite increasing awareness of cultural issues, the Treaty of Waitangi and the contribution of Maori spirituality to a New Zealand theology. There is a sense in which liberal and evangelical streams each relate to only parts of indigenous cultures. Televangelists who finance their way into the New Zealand media help define the tradition, even if they are not exactly central to what some would like it to be. Radio Rhema has had to differentiate its evangelical audiences to cope with generational gaps.

Music provides an important ingredient of identity, though it has a habit of crossing theological boundaries.  Through Scripture in Song, and the Festival Singers New Zealand evangelicals at popular and professional levels had a hand in shaping a generation of Christian music. In 1999 “The Living Word”, an oratorio based on John’s Gospel by Aucklander Christopher Archer, is a remarkable product of faith, musical ability, and theological education. However since oratorios are not a common form of evangelical expression, it may not be immediately recognized for what it is. Wayne Wright and Source Theatre have produced dramatic musicals on the life of Hudson Taylor and Joseph Kemp as part of a repertoire which communicates a compelling vision of evangelical faith and creativity. World Vision New Zealand and Tear Fund have major roles in the Christian engagement with relief and development, and make some effort to help donors appreciate the complexities of human need. A thoughtful encounter with economics, politics and business does not appear strong, the Christian Democrats and the Christian Heritage Party notwithstanding. Creationism survives, partly because of what is right about it, despite the ironic way it is locked into the world-view it rejects. Anti-abortion concerns draw some evangelicals together with Catholics. YWAM may no longer be quite as much Youth with a mission as it was, but with Operation Mobilisation and Capernwray provides international experiences for young people willing to combine their “OE” with missionary activity.

It may be asked whether this is the diversity of strength, and a commitment to mission by any means, or just proclivity for doing one’s own thing. It also raises the question which part of evangelicalism represents its future promise. Not all of the picture is positive. The ability to claim biblical support for interpretations of credit card numbers and bizarre ventures into spiritual warfare undermine the credibility of evangelicalism as a reliable mark of classic Christian faith. Evangelicals in New Zealand, as elsewhere, experience a tension between being loyal citizens and being at odds with contemporary culture, and this is apparent in responses to the issues society is also wrestling with. The resultant contradictory views, never mind the array of institutions, fringe theologies, and dubious spiritual preoccupations, produce glee among opponents and frustration among evangelicals themselves. One wishes for institutions with the authority to define and model what evangelicalism is about, but diversity in the constituency, including over the value of academic enterprise, does not make it easy. Some despise things intellectual at the same time as they covet its awards, and the real cost of facilitating Christian thought is not widely appreciated. If creeds are difficult to formulate even within a tradition claiming a common basis, then at least there need to be representative documents robust enough to engage with in meaningful debate. Evangelical writing of such quality requires a critical mass of scholarship if it is to be sustained.

Perhaps it is not so surprising that in diverse personal, cultural and historical situations, serious commitment may lead to different views about what is appropriate whether or not these views are supported by informed opinion. It can be difficult to know whether particular expressions are a bad thing flowing from differences occasioned by sin, or whether they are givens, inherent in God’s good creation, and flowing from his willingness to be part of people through their particular history and culture. Cultural diversity should tell us that not all differences originate in the perversity of people, however real that may be.  

Theology, and even revelation, is at root contextual,[16] and being evangelical may be more about where confessions point and who is doing the confessing, than particular confessions themselves. Evangelical credibility is about direction and alignment, as well as formulations in particular circumstances. If this relativises theologians who hoped they were creating timeless expressions of truth, at the end of the day it affirms rather than relativises Christian faith.  Theology which withstands scrutiny across time and culture is telling us something. We actually need the diversity of time and culture, and consequently of expression and viewpoint, for this to take place.

In the midst of this, appeals to evangelical standards still draw a strong response. People want to do the right thing. Identification with causes does shape the tradition. If this creates a power which may be abused, it also arises out of something fundamental. Even if history may consider particular campaigns misguided, the important thing is that people are seeking to exercise Christian social responsibility. Evangelicals need to take seriously the timescale often needed to work through issues. The greater danger is not that some will feel excluded, but that controversy can discourage other forays into living out faith.

People who struggle with these debates and with the evangelical culture they inherited may call themselves “post-evangelical” in an effort to leave behind aspects of the tradition at the same time as they define themselves by it.[17] Sometimes this is a failure to appreciate that they may still be within the family. Others, and Ian Breward is an example,[18] may say that whatever the diversity, this word, its history, and associations, still points in a valid way to who I am, where I belong, and what I believe.

Many features of the evangelical landscape which seem to be problems, are also evidence of strengths. Even if a static orthodoxy is not the same as evangelical faithfulness, it is faithfulness of a kind, as conversely is the risk-taking of some other forms of evangelism. Evangelical “biodiversity” may for some suggest confusion, but as in nature it may also prove important for survival. It may be that the strengths and weaknesses of evangelicalism, like the Christian tradition generally, are widely distributed. This is not to say that all diversity is acceptable, but that diversity forces us to learn how to make judgments, and to discern the principles behind those judgments. Some things are of lesser importance. Being in one place or another theologically is not going to save us from having to make choices about questions others do not understand. All of us need equipment for facing the new issues which ongoing human history will continue to present. Ian Breward’s commitment to church history is a vital dimension of this task. He has done his own bit to counter the “Scandal of the Evangelical Mind”,[19] but there are other challenges and dimensions which also need to be addressed. These include the implications of globalisation and post-modernity.

The success of the missionary movement, including its evangelical, Roman Catholic, and other Christian components has produced a massive shift in the center of gravity of Christian faith. As Christianity has become a genuinely world faith, the question of norms of belief and behaviour become acute. The debates Catholics experienced over the accommodation policies of the Jesuits in China, Vietnam and India have become a prototype of the difficulty of articulating a universal faith which respects local cultural forms. The debate extends to issues of theological style and substance which challenge the understanding of the Reformation as having produced for all time the “faith once delivered to the saints”. In late 18th century Scotland arguments over “New Light” were also about the possibility of discovering things in the bible that previous generations had omitted to see or had got wrong. This type of argument repeated when old theology could not cope with Pentecostals claiming apostolic experiences of the Holy Spirit for their own time. The characteristic activities of 19th century evangelicals in mission, revival, and social engagement took people some distance from their theological forefathers, even if they were clearly an extension of the same tradition. In an effort to claim historical precedent, features of late 19th and 20th century evangelicalism were read back into earlier centuries. The denial of this process is notable. If there had been less worry about innovation taking place, it might have been possible to have more control of the innovation that did.

The missionary and Pentecostal movements have produced evidence of development in theology which is impossible to ignore. New churches in different cultures respond to the Christian message in their own way. Openness to symbol, ritual, and the intermediaries of Catholicism, the concern for society and justice of the theological liberal and the reforming evangelical, and the ownership of spiritual reality and the provision of literacy and a written word by evangelicals and others, have contributed to a situation in which no one western tradition is responsible for the whole. As churches took control of their own affairs, including their own theologizing, many sensitivities and polarizations of western evangelicals were frequently ignored.  It is no accident that it was evangelical leadership from Latin America which ensured that the Lausanne Covenant of 1974 took a balanced view of social action. Independent churches provide a huge example of contextualised faith which challenges the values and priorities of Western evangelicalism. Authentic readings of the bible can no longer be defined by theology from Edinburgh, Geneva, Princeton or Los Angeles.  Criteria of orthodoxy and ethics worked out in purely western experiences are inadequate. The maps of the evangelical landscape have been redrawn geographically, and the people, institutions and characteristic concerns which go with them are being renamed. New Zealand Maori, like other indigenous peoples, valued evangelical Christianity for its acknowledgement of the supernatural. However evangelicals were also infected by the rationalism of the Enlightenment, and Maori Christianity is bringing its more holistic and wider experience of spirituality to bear on reading and responding to the bible.  The results may put pakeha back into the beginners class of spiritual things, evangelical or not.

It is a real question how evangelicalism will be affected by the post-modern phase of western intellectual history. Despite its missionary experience, the defenders of classic evangelicalism seem badly equipped to face a challenge which comes not from the familiar rationalism of the Enlightenment, or the more easily dismissed claims of extreme liberals, but the old and new paganism of the New Age movement. Efforts to address what Paul Hiebert has called the “excluded middle” of the western worldview[20] are important, as are concerns to achieve a more genuine wholeness in mission. Some evangelicals see post-modernity and modernity as representing everything they do not like about the world, and are doubly angry when they discover how much of it is within the evangelical church itself.[21] No doubt the spiritualities in our own back yards are more threatening. Others still maintain that one formulation of belief, and one standard set of religious experiences should be normative for humankind.[22] Some evangelical theologians have learnt rather little from missionaries, but the liberal tradition does not find it easy either. They may find the relativities of postmodernism congenial, and New Age spirituality less of a straightjacket than traditional church formulations, but they too have honed their critical tools on a rationalist grindstone.  While these may be appropriate for part of the Christian academic enterprise, there are other tasks for which they are inadequate.

Evangelical difficulties can be seen not only in the denial of the validity of non-western world views, but in uncritical acceptance of a weird range of spiritual reality. This should not all be blamed on charismatics. It owes a good deal to fear and can take people well beyond the phenomena of the bible, however literally interpreted. It may not be new in Christian history, but now there is a depth of non-western Christian experience which can be drawn on in coping with the enlargement of world-view that leaving the Enlightenment behind presents.  It is not westerners who should be leading the charge in spiritual warfare, but those from cultures whose world view has known for centuries what it is to deal with the supernatural.  Fresh wisdom, not just spiritual fireworks, may also be found in the story of the conversion of Europe. Patrick, Bede and Boniface may speak with new force, as may a careful appreciation of the resurgence of Celtic spirituality. Pentecostal historians may also be able to contribute in ways others find difficult. If this is to be a controlled reading of the “text” of the past, and a discerning critique of the spirituality of the present age, it will need to be a team effort. In particular it needs to be informed by those who have more experience of these things than westerners enticed by the exciting possibilities of spiritual warfare.[23] Never have we needed the comparative experience of global and indigenous Christianity more.

Evangelicals have in the richness of their international membership, resources which affirm the essence of the tradition, and enable them to make a unique contribution to the Christian church. It may even be that as the post-modern phase of distrust of grand narratives fades, there will be a desire not simply for a theory of everything, but a willingness to listen afresh to the story about Jesus which has given hope and meaning to people in every culture. In responding to this, evangelicalism itself may discover a newly robust identity. The open and careful scholarship of Ian Breward will remain an important model for those who face the challenge of this task.

Links on the theme of Evangelical Identity and Evangelical History in New Zealand

Evangelical Alliance (UK) What is an evangelical?

John Roxborogh Who is the Evangelical Church? (Crosslink)

John Roxborogh The Charismatic Movement of 1830

John Roxborogh As at the beginning in Britain: Michael Harper, Edward Irving and the Catholic Apostolic Church.

John Roxborogh Review of Bryan Gilling "Be ye separate" 

Footnotes: [Note links marked as missing or updated 18 June 2008]

[1] See Evangelical Fellowship for Lesbian and Gay Christians,

[2] See for example 27 February 1999. Link missing

[3] For example Michael Lynton, Chairman and CEO of the Penguin Group talks about people in the internet business being “particularly evangelical” about their vision. Fast Company 21 (Boston MA: January 1999), 78. In the same issue of the magazine Brian Yeoman at the University of Texas Health Science Center talks about having the fun but serious job title of “Raging inexorable thunder-lizard evangelist for change.” Ibid., 42. These do not suggest images of strong adherence to the status quo.

[4] See for example 27 February 1999. Link missing

[5] (London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1993). For an appreciation and critique see Roger Hedlund, “An Evangelical future?” in Dharma Deepika 2 (Mylapore: June 1998), 61-66. For an example of concern that McGrath is too positive about evangelicalism see John Richardson, “UK Evangelicalism: Optimistic?” 21 December 1998. Link missing.

[6] Evangelicalism in Modern Britain. A history from the 1730s to the 1980s, (London: Unwin Hyman, 1989). See the discussion in chapter 1. He identified as hallmarks: “conversionism, the belief that lives need to be changed; activism, the expression of the gospel in effort; biblicism, a particular regard for the Bible; and … crucicentrism, a stress on the sacrifice of Christ on the cross,” p.3. These were tested by being used as criteria for The Blackwell Dictionary of Evangelical Biography 1730-1860, (Oxford: Blackwell, 1995), edited by Donald M. Lewis. Lewis noted Andrew Walls’ view that common characteristics included “the intensification of the Christian life associated with a deep sense of guilt and an overwhelming sense of forgiveness through Christ; the application of preaching to conversion and transformation; the growing conviction of the universal significance of the Christian message …; the moral radicalism which springs from a new sense of personal accountability and the new pattern of church relations which produces both ecumenicity and schism as well as … the voluntary society.” Vol 1, xix. Bebbington’s criteria were held to incorporate these, but it is interesting that the label had to be extended to also include those who “seriously claimed to be evangelical”.

[7] Evangelical Christianity in Australia. Spirit, word and world. (Melbourne: Oxford University Press, 1996), vii.

[8] See for instance Irving Hexam’s lists of sites for “Evangelical Christianity”

[9] “Evangelical Alliance” and “Evangelicalism”, in James Hastings, ed., Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics, (Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 1912), Vol 5, 601-607.

[10] A contemporary statement is that of Holy Trinity Brompton: “The main basis for our belief is the teaching of the bible, inspired by God to show us His will for our lives. We acknowledge Jesus Christ as Saviour and believe that He is at work in our world today through the power of the Holy Spirit - changing people, healing them and setting them free to serve Him.” 30 January 1999 [link missing]. The 1846 doctrinal basis of the Evangelical Alliance has proved to be resilient and the basis for many subsequent statements. The Lausanne Covenant of 1974, despite a need to adjust to changes in language, continues to help define the scope and basis of evangelical engagement in mission.

[11] They took a firm line on temperance, and were the first churches in Scotland other than Catholic or Episcopal to use organs and hymnbooks. They joined the Scottish Congregational Union in 1897.

[12] In New Zealand James Gibb and Rutherford Waddell tested the boundaries and supported the Declaratory Act of 1893. In Scotland evangelicals disciplined by their churches included John Mcleod Campbell, 1831; Edward Irving, 1833; James Morrison, 1841; and William Robertson Smith, 1881. D F Wright, “Heresy, heresy trials” in Nigel M de S Cameron, ed., Dictionary of Scottish Church History and Theology, (Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 1993), 400. It is striking how much these are now seen as the interesting theological figures of the 19th century. Thomas Chalmers was friends with the heretics of his generation, and avoided aspects of the Westminster Confession which might inhibit preaching the gospel.

[13] Bryan Gilling, ed. “Be ye separate”: Fundamentalism and the New Zealand experience, Waikato Studies in Religion III, (Hamilton: University of Waikato and Colcom Press, 1992)

[14] Published since 1992. PO Box 306, Masterton New Zealand. 

[15] Publications include: Bruce Patrick, ed., NEW VISION New Zealand, (Auckland: Vision New Zealand, 1993). The VISION New Zealand Congress 1997, (Auckland: Vision New Zealand, 1997). NEW VISION New Zealand Volume II, (Auckland: Vision New Zealand, 1997). A further congress was held in January 1999.

[16] S. Bevans, Models of contextual theology, (Maryknoll NY: Orbis, 1993).

[17] Dave Tomlinson, The Post-evangelical, (London: Triangle/SPCK, 1995). Among the New Zealand responses, following a visit by Tomlinson in 1998 are a review by Murray Harris, “Updating evangelicalism” Stimulus 7 (Masterton: February 1999), 23-26, and Alan Jamieson, “A viable alternative?” Stimulus 7 (Masterton: February 1999), 26-28. Harris gives a careful critique, and Jamieson addresses the extent to which Tomlinson articulates the views and feelings of people leaving New Zealand churches. Both dimensions are important for what they say about evangelical identity.

[18] See Ian Breward “Evangelicals in the Uniting Church” Uniting Church Studies 2 (August 1996), 1-7.

[19] Mark Noll, The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind, (Grand Rapids MI: Eerdmans, 1994). See also his “The Evangelical Mind” in Garth Rosell, The Evangelical Landscape. Essays on the American Evangelical Tradition, (Grand Rapids MI: Baker, 1996), 13-40. Parallel concerns are taken up by Alister McGrath in A Passion for truth: The intellectual coherence of evangelicalism, (Leicester: Apollos, 1996).

[20] “The flaw of the excluded middle” in Anthropological Reflections on Missiological Issues, (Grand Rapids MI: Baker, 1994), 189-201.

[21] For example Os Guinness, “Mission modernity: seven checkpoints on mission in the modern world” in Philip Sampson, Vinay Samuel and Chris Sugden, eds., Faith and Modernity, (Oxford: Regnum, 1994), 322-352.

[22] R Albert Mohler, “Evangelical”: What’s in a name? 21 December 1998 [link missing], extracted from John Armstrong, The coming Evangelical crisis (Moody, 1997), is among those who feel betrayed by those who take a more open approach. Others with similar concerns include David F Wells, and Millard J Erickson. This is a characteristically evangelical debate, but some need to come to terms with the implications of a multi-cultural world. It is difficult to avoid the impression that sections of evangelicalism are so used to dealing with modernism that when they start to engage with postmodernism they argue from modernist premises on the assumption that they are biblical.

[23] See Charles Hools, “Territorial spirits: an Indian perspective” Dharma Deepika 2 (Mylapore: December 1998), 45-51, for a critique of Peter Wagner by someone who actually knows what Indian deities refer to and who has good authority for the observation that some aspects of Christian spiritual warfare are more pagan than Christian. See also Tim Meadowcroft “Sovereign God or paranoid universe?” Stimulus 4 (Masterton: February 1996), 20-29. This brings Old Testament perspectives to bear on the paranoia about evil, reductionist explanations, and elaborately contrived demonologies of some proponents of spiritual warfare.