Kevin DeYoung reflected recently on the future of the “Young, Restless, and Reformed” movement. In his article, one line stuck in my mind. DeYoung writes, “it’s better to live in a specific ecclesiastical room instead of in the hallway of evangelicalism.”
It seems Evangelicalism is no place to be after the bell rings. When it’s time to go to class and get to work, we must enter an “ecclesiastical room” (a.k.a “denomination”).
DeYoung’s admonition moves but creaks. The kinks are not yet worked out.
On the one hand, I find his comment quite insightful. As a pastor, I whole-heartedly agree ministry happens best at the local church level. I welcome his call back to the local church. Too many people float around Evangelicalism, passing from church to church in search of the next best thing, indifferent or perhaps ignorant to the shifts of theology as they go.
But on the other hand, Deyoung’s remark troubles me. The Hallway of Evangelicalism has been so helpful. It has been a stream of information and comradory. It has channeled movements too broad and too swift for denominations to harness. Of course, the term “Evangelical” is weighed down with misunderstanding and controversy. But, while it’s scope has swollen and receded, it’s deepest currents have remained consistent and beneficial.
My conclusion? I honestly don’t know. I suppose, as is so often the case, the answer lies somewhere in the middle.