An Identification of New Evangelicalism -- By: Dennis M. Walton

Journal: Central Bible Quarterly
Volume: CENQ 04:3 (Fall 1961)
Article: An Identification of New Evangelicalism
Author: Dennis M. Walton


An Identification of New Evangelicalism

Dennis M. Walton

Condensed from a B.D. Thesis by Dennis M. Walton
Excelsior Baptist Church, Excelsior, Minnesota

1. Introduction

A new addition to the theological scene in recent years has been variously identified as Evangelicalism, New Evangelicalism, Neo-Evangelicalism, or other similar terms. In view of the apparent prominence of the designation “New Evangelicalism, “it will be employed here.

Some have welcomed the rise of New Evangelicalism with shouts of acclamation, greeting it as the savior of orthodoxy. Others point to it with the finger of accusation and denounce it as the betrayer, identifying it with Liberalism in an incipient stage. A third party denies the very existence of the movement. They maintain that it is nothing but a straw man erected by Fundamentalists who lack an opponent since the defeat of Modernism. A fourth group is admittedly ignorant concerning the nature of New Evangelicalism but is sincerely desirous of a better understanding. It is the intent of this study to arrive at an objective identification of the movement, particularly for the benefit of the latter group.

Any treatment of New Evangelicalism must recognize it as distinct from other areas of thought in the contemporary theological scene. New Evangelicalism is not Liberalism nor even Neo-liberalism. There is a vast difference in doctrinal understanding between the New Evangelical and the Liberal or Neo-Liberal. A great difference also exists between Neo-orthodoxy and New Evangelicalism. Many who claim to be New Evangelicals would loudly disclaim any similarity between their doctrinal position and that wide variety of thought represented by such men as Barth, Brunner, Niebuhr, or Tillich. Neither can New Evangelicalism be identified with Fundamentalism. Although it has been characterized as holding to the fundamental doctrines of the Gospel, subscribing to the doctrinal position of “orthodox or creedal Christianity, “adhering to “protestant orthodoxy,” and similar statements, it is nevertheless distinct from Fundamentalism. E. J. Carnell speaks of “that anxious breed of younger men who are conservative in theology but are less than happy when they are called

fundamentalists’.”1 Billy Graham is quoted as saying, “I am an evangelical but not a fundamentalist.”2 Vernon Grounds wrote, “But very frankly some of us do not like to be tagged fundamentalists.” 3

New Evangelicalism has attained a prominence today that ...

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