Thursday, December 18, 2008

The unravelling of the evangelical evangel

Perhaps the best term to describe much of contemporary evangelicalism is "Broad-church pietism." It is no longer the case, if it ever really was, when evangelicalism was understood through the primary doctrines of substitutionary atonement, justification by faith alone, and biblical authority.

Sinclair Ferguson made the following comment:
Fifty years ago, to be an evangelical implied a deep commitment to the great creedal verities of historic Christianity. But it also included certain distinctive views about the nature of the work of Christ and how the blessings of salvation are received.

At the heart of these lay the authority of Scripture and the twin convictions that the death of Christ involved penal substitution, and that the beginning of the Christian life was marked by justification by faith alone.
You may be interested to read this thoughtful essay by Michael Horton:

To be or not to be: The Uneasy Relationship between Reformed Christianity and American Evangelicalism

The painting, by the way, is by Manet. It is part of the collection of Impressionist works held at Cardiff Museum.

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