Are our labels and traditional designations losing their meanings? Michael Patton explains in a recent post:
If Joel Osteen, R.C. Sproul, Benny Hinn, Chuck Swindoll, Oral Roberts, J.P. Moreland, T.D. Jakes, Jimmy Carter, Billy Graham, Brian Mclaren, Pat Robertson, and John Piper all distinguish themselves as evangelicals, then we must admit that the disignation both means everything and nothing at the same time.
I am not Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Fundementalist, Evangelical, Baptist, Presbytarian, Lutheran, Anglican, non-denominational, or an emerger.
So into this void he proposes his own tradition:
Can I start a new tradition? Well, not really a new tradition, but a new designation that represents the ethos of so many of those who have gone before us. If I can, I will call this tradition “Historic Evangelicalism.” Yes, it is not really different, but it is really different. The “Historic” qualifies “Evangelical” so that people don’t mistake that this tradition is rooted in history. Not only will this tradition be Gospel-focused and Christ-centered, not only will it be theologically robust and biblically literate, not only will the Scriptures be the final authority and non-essential issues be non-essential, but you will have to traverse the halls of church history to arrive at the lecturn. The “historic” will anchor us as we humbly recognize those who have gone before us upon who’s shoulders we stand. The “evangelical” will push us forward as the Gospel of Christ necessitates Christ’s incarnation through the church into whatever culture we find ourselves. The “historic” will give us permission to recognize the value of tradition as guide and teacher that joins our hands with the saints of the past. The “evangelical” will allow us to develop in our understanding as God’s revelation becomes clearer through the development of doctrine. The “historic” will ensure that we are consulting Augustine. The “evangelical” will ensure that we are conversing with our neighbor.