If evangelicalism's pillars are empty at their core, should we throw it out? Zizek's would answer yes. But in Chapter 6 and the Epilogue, Fitch says no: evangelicalism is simply at a crossroads. He proposes a Christian political existence in the world. Over against Zizek's void, empty, materialist struggle, Christianity is an overflowing love of God's "gift" of reconciling the whole world to himself, and a politic of fullness in the triune God. Rather than endure an empty, fallen politic, Christians can redeem it.
This is a brilliant translation of the gospel into Zizekian terms: the void has already been overcome, because Christ has entered the material. Now, the church, through participating in the Incarnation, is to be the core of God's politic in the world.
Evangelicals can re-ground empty Master-Signifiers politically in the work of God through Christ by the Spirit instead of on modernist-fundamentalist assumptions, as this resulted in a false politic that "de-missionalized" the church (p. 129). No longer accomodating to these assumptions will move the church toward a more redemptive, Christ-centered politic.
The Inerrancy of Scripture
To solve this problem, Fitch turns to, among other theologians, the communal-focused Karl Barth: "God cannot be an object of our knowing (our possession). Rather as we enter into a place where we become known by God, then, out of this relationship, we can know God." (p. 133). That place is the corporate gathering of the church. Evangelicals' beliefs about Scripture are to be grounded in the corporate participation in Christ and in God's mission in the world.
Another solution is Kevin Vanhoozer's idea of Scripture as the Drama of God (I discussed this framework here, except I attributed it to N.T. Wright - perhaps I was mistaken?). Via Barth, Vanhoozer, and other theologians, the church's take on Scripture is characterized by hospitality, humility, and vulnerability, rathet than a stagnated, individualized, arrogant, and thoroughly modernist view that has been exposed as contradictory and empty.
The Decision for Christ
To overcome this empty politic, Fitch looks to N.T. Wright's reframing of justification: salvation is not a transaction, but rather a relational event situated within a greater story. However, Fitch acknowledges that "social justice" can become another empty Master-Signifier, like the duplicity we saw in earlier in the book, but this time the world is changed while the individual remains the same. Fitch finds an answer Michael Gorman: Christians are to daily put to death idolatry and injustice through co-crucifixion and giving ourselves over to resurrection.
With both Wright and Gorman, the personal and corporate are combined. Fitch also turns to John Milbank to get rid of the idea as salvation as a one-time gift that is accepted in the Decision. Instead, it is a never-ending gift, which is active and causes Christians to return this gift to God and to others.
The Christian Nation
Henri de Lubac, William Cavanaugh, Nathan Kerr, and John Howard Yoder can resolve the emptiness of the Christian Nation. De Lubac asks whether the church has become individuals bound together by spectating, which renders it a body invisible in the world. Under this rubric, the church is simply a collection of individuals who meet and then go out as a voluntary force to work for the ideal of a Christian Nation. Cavanaugh sees the church as a subversive political presence that forgives and loves in the face of unjust powers. (Perhaps doing something more creative and imaginative than using the existing political process?)
Kerr, in a very interesting way, advocates "for a church that is dispossessed--without place or center--always diasporic, scattered into the world" (p. 159). The church isn't prior to mission, but the site of mission makes the church come into being. Yoder balances out Kerr's boundless, territoriless church by casting it as distinctive, through its non-violence, identification with "the other," and servanthood, all of which are Incarnational. So a church gathering is not a slick presentation to provide information for personal self-improvement, which then motivates individuals to lobby for prayer in schools and anti-abortion/anti-gay laws. Instead, it is "present as Christ in the neighborhoods," and "present among the hungry and hurting," "decentralized [...] away from one central place to being present in the everyday lives of people" (p. 168). Perhaps a base camp?
For any proposed solution to the emptiness of the three tenets of evangelicalism, the test should always be: will this belief and practice shape the character of our political existence in such a way that it is capable of entering God's work in the world, his mission? Fitch interacts with leaders/prominent thinkers in three movements that have attempted to fill the void, which shows we all must be on guard to avoid the same pitfalls that evangelicals encountered as a result of capitulating to modernism.
The only criticisms I have are that there seem to be an unusual amount of spelling and grammar errors. Also, I wish that Fitch would not have interacted with and discussed solely white male thinkers. A discussion of the end of evangelicalism--and possible next steps--that lacks any reference to non-majority thinkers reveals quite the blind spot. Perhaps evangelicalism's focus on the modernist-fundamentalist era could be remedied by allowing true diversity (Soong Chan Rah would be a great start...). Moving away from white male hegemony could bring a lot to the table, perhaps a solution has not occurred to a homogeneous group.
That said, I highly recommend the book. Overall, I appreciated Fitch's detailed explanation of the failures of evangelicalism's main beliefs, and what we can do to move forward. His using Zizek to critique this tradition has been very useful, as I keep applying it to other elements of evangelicalism.