Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Evangelicalism & Liberalism

"I shall never forget reading nearly forty years ago the opening sentence in a book on the subject of Protestantism. The first sentence reads thus: 'Every institution tends to produce its opposite.'"

So wrote Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones in the opening address on "What is an evangelical?" that he gave at IFES conference at Schloss Mittersill, Austria, in 1971.

That quotation has left me with two thought provoking questions:

1. Will the 20th century form of evangelicalism give way in content, but not in name, to a new 21st century form of liberalism?

The relationship of church to culture, the doctrine of the atonement, and the doctrine of Scripture seem to indicate that this is happening. New advances among evangelicals are really "back to liberalism" (but of course without capitulating to the anti-supernaturalism of modernism).

2. Once a change of nature, but not name, has taken place is recovery impossible?

Will there always be a need to start over again with, for example, a new Westminster seminary? Will the testimony of reformers always be "we will keep the faith, you can keep the furniture."

If you recognise the picture you will see the point I'm making.

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