Thursday, October 12, 2006

Slip Sliding Away

Reformation 21 is an online journal that I very much appreciate. Here are some reflections from two of the blog contributors. One could quibble and argue over one or two points but overall they are sensible reflections.

First, Phil Ryken:

"In looking through Christianity Today's list of the most influential evangelical books of the last half century, one can't help but notice the dearth of substantive theology. There are plenty of experiential biographies, lots of "practical" books for family life and church management, but almost nothing in theology. The notable exceptions, of course, are Tozer, Piper, Stott, and in a way, Schaeffer. We could perhaps include a title that certainly should have made the list: Jerry Bridges' The Pursuit of Holiness. But where are all the books on the incarnation and the atonement?

Too often, the previous generation of evangelicals assumed its theology rather than defended it, especially in more recent decades. If history holds true, the coming generation will be the one that forgets the theology its fathers and mothers loosely accepted but did not inculcate."

And from Rick Phillips:

"The Christianity Today list of the 50 most important Christian books of the last fifty years shows a decided tilt towards Christian experience over Christian truth. In other words, it depicts a pietistic era spanning a half-century (not to be confused with piety itself, pietism is an over-emphasis on feelings and experience).

It has often -- and rightly -- been said that pietism is always the mother of liberalism. If we were to compile a list of the most influential books of the last ten years, they would chronicle a tilt to what has generally been known as liberal theology. The point is that when the church ceases to proclaim, explain, and vigorously defend the Bible's great truth claims, a generation arises in Israel that knows not the Lord.

There will always be legions of people telling you to avoid controversy and doctrinal demands. But their counsel should be discarded. And there will be plenty who will not abide straightforward doctrinal teaching, and they will depart for the multitude of other churches that emphasize experience only. But, as the CT book list and today's mounting liberalism circles illustrates, unless we stand for clear and pointed biblical truths, no one else will either."

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