Is belief the central work of the evangelical faith?

Lately I’ve been watching as the really big voices in the evangelical world have been wrestling with their own faith structures. Ed Stetzer and Scot McKnight, whom I greatly respect, recently explore some of the tensions within the evangelical faith.  Scot recently explored the stereotypes and tension of what happens when you bring evangelicals and mainliners together. Ed recently explored the tension of interfaith dialog. But it was Scot who asked if evangelicalism creates a new fundamentalism.

It’s like the emerging church all over again. ;-P

I noticed the tension Ed shared.  He said, “As a rule, I don’t do interfaith meetings. Our goals generally do not line up.” I get and respect his desire in what he’s saying.  He wants to remain true to his understanding of the Gospel.  But it was interesting to note that his understanding of the Gospel became a barrier to participating with other human beings.  I also appreciate Ed’s candor for sharing something so personal.  By living out his faith in the public context he’s sharing some of the same fears we’ve all felt.

But the three posts have increasingly led me to ask, “Is belief the new work?”  Has evangelicalism created a new structure for works through belief?  Because in order for someone to get into heaven, they have to believe, and some would say the right way.  Maintaining the purity of that faith in practice becomes central to the process.  I’ve wrestled with this question before, but its interesting to hear Scot and Ed work it out in their own life.

What do you think?