21st Century Evangelicalism

21st Century Evangelicals

I know how to minister as a well respected evangelical leader, and have learned how to minister as the chiefest of sinners. Two different skills, but maybe skills we all need.

It’s a new day. During the 20th century Evangelicals spent more money spreading the Gospel than ever before. We printed more Bibles, built more Bible schools, seminaries, hospitals, and camps than in any other century. We now have more television stations, radio stations, missionaries, bumper stickers, t-shirts and churches than ever before. We did a great job spreading the message that the Bible is the Word of God, Jesus is the Son of God, and that all of us need to be born-again. One would think we should be headed into a positive future.

But as every political campaign and, sadly, too many sermons remind us, if we get off message, we lose. 20th Century Evangelicalism got way off message. Now our gods are attendance and money, our core aim is maintaining a good reputation, and our message is some strange amalgamation of Old Testament Law, New Testament grace, and the most recent cultural trends. As a result, we are powerless, mediocre, and many of our so-called bishops and apostles are nothing more than clouds without rain.

It’s time for a 21st Century Evangelicalism to arise. But it can’t be the message of the 20th Century made cool with graphics, videos, jeans and goatees. Simple Evangelicalism or Evangelicalism 2.0 won’t do. I believe 20th Century Evangelicalism is known as a hate group by so many because. . . we actually became a hate group to many. We don’t need a repackaging, we need to discover our New Testament center. We need to start again, and evaluate the New Testament in light of current realities and revisit our purpose in Christ. The focus of these blogs is to contemplate the central themes of Evangelicalism– theologically, socially, and structurally– and suggest some New Testament revisions.

Many of these ideas we have explored at the Roundtables on Life-Giving Leadership, which met around the country to refine the language of a Redemptive New Testament Church. Now, at the Healthy Church Intensives that I host here in Colorado for church leaders, we work to integrate authentic New Testament solutions and always produce healthy churches that grow in Christ. My intent with these blogs is a life-giving journey. My prayer is that this journey causes us to become exactly what Christ intended, an authentic body of believers, all gratefully redeemed.

If you are a church leader and are interested in you and/or your team attending a Healthy Church Intensive, contact me at


Pastor Ted Haggard, DD, CHBC, is a Bible teacher with an emphasis on New Testament solutions to the human condition. His Bible teaching is informed by biblical scholarship, Choice Theory (Glasser), Attachment Theory (Johnson), and Behavioral Studies using DISC (Rohm).

This and other blogs by Pastor Ted Haggard are available at as a ministry of St. James Church. If you would like to strengthen the ministry of St. James Church and Pastor Ted Haggard by giving, please use the “give” tab at

By tedhaggardblog

Ted Haggard is the Sr. Pastor of St. James Church in Colorado Springs, CO and founding pastor of New Life Church and past president of the National Association of Evangelicals. He is the husband of Gayle, and the father of Christy, Marcus, Jonathan, Alex and Elliott.

11 replies on “21st Century Evangelicals”

Unfortunately in many situations, it is come to the fact that churches have become a gathering place where people exhibit their financial success to see who can drive the nicest car or wear the finest clothes and God is relegated to the past. The style show has taken over and the upper room has replaced the upper room and people are filled with stew and roast instead of being filled with the Holy Ghost.

You can change your Cadillacs and Contentaks, stream lined fenders and the old push button radios but leave my old time religion just like it was on the day of pentecost.

May God send us his Power in a revival that will shake the very foundation of the world as we know it and bring the true worshippers to Glorify Him in Spirit & in Truth.

Ted, I’m glad to read your post and I endorse your heart and vision. I too was part of the 20th Century model and fell and broke down. For me the future is found in going back to the message of the Kingdom, you know the things Jesus said when He introduced the concept in his synagogue. I’m being put together as I learn to love God and love our neighbor as I love myself.

I remember telling my husband that you could always spot an evangelical because they had a goatee and a starbucks in their hand. Re-teaching the need for restoration will embraced by so many but dare I say that also many will dig their heels in and reject it. Well, that sounds very NT to me!

Pastor Ted, I count myself as one of your supporters, although I am a free thinker, I appreciate what you are doing with your life. I was a 20th century Evangelical, the hate that is all to evident and the life and faith crisis prompted me to be an agnostic. Nevertheless, I do appreciate your blogging. Good luck, I will check in from time to time. Ben.

Benjamin, all believers are agnostic in that if we had irrefutable proof, we wouldn’t need faith. Doubt is not sin, doubt is the basis for faith. Brother, in the 80’s, I was right where you are, and I think I may understand a little of how you might feel. What I had to do was to shut out what the world was saying and even shut out what my church was teaching, I got alone with God and poured my heart out to him. It took almost six months for me to realize that God had been speaking to me all along. I empathize with your situation and pray that you will not let the doubt drown out your faith.

Right on. I feel the church is so far off from what it should be. “We need to start again, and evaluate the New Testament in light of current realities and revisit our purpose in Christ.” This is the starting point. I’d say that included in that New Testament evaluation we need to evaluate some theologies again, in light of our purpose in Christ….. like all the end time theologies that cause Christians to go crazy with the idea that the end is at hand… (I could start a good argument that says it is not! LOL) which I believe causes us to not invest in the future, and not focus on bringing the Kingdom of God to earth – a perfect strategy of the enemy to cause ineffectiveness.

Leave a Reply