…Big Eva is not a large German who works in border control for the Bundesrepublik but my term for the network of large evangelical organizations and conferences that seeks to shape the thinking and strategy of the American evangelical churches….
What Big Eva has done is create an economy of power, people, and indeed money which is non-ecclesiastical but highly influential within evangelical churches. It is a populist movement of tremendous influence and minimal accountability. It provides an identity for its most passionate acolytes. And because it promises rewards to individuals and organizations – influence, students, platform – it is both very hard to criticize and functionally unaccountable to any but its own. The Trinity controversy of two years ago was a case in point: no church creed had ever taught the nonsense that had become so pervasive in evangelicalism. Quite the contrary – the creedal history of the church was arguably constructed to exclude precisely the kind of views that were being espoused. But key conferences and key organizations had a vested interest in sidestepping orthodoxy and demonizing any who pointed that out.
…Unfortunately, the culture of Big Eva both facilitates the influence of a conference such as Revoice and makes an effective response unlikely. To repeat one of my mantras, Big Eva is built around big conferences and big personalities. Neither need to be problematic. I have enjoyed attending the occasional big conference and have profited from books by big names. What is problematic is that some of these conferences and their concomitant celebrities have an intentional significance beyond offering a time for some fellowship and some good teaching. They are a movement. Revoice is only playing the same populist, extra-ecclesiastical game as Big Eva — building momentum via conferences, networks and its own stable of celebrities. And if Big Eva responds as it usually does—with an alternative conference or some blog posts or yet another statement/petition—then boundaries will for sure be more sharply drawn, it will be clearer who plays on which team, and maybe some laity will be genuinely helped to think more clearly about the issues—but nothing of ecclesiastical substance will really be accomplished. Read more»
Carl Trueman, “Revoice, Evangelical Culture, and the Return of an Old Friend” (July 31, 2018).