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What do you hope your book will accomplish?

Thomas Oden: I think the Holy Spirit is at work in our time to bring evangelicals together in common witness and mission and service. This is work of the Spirit, and we are only attesting that textually. We are trying to show how there is a correlation and a resonance that runs all the way through virtually all of the major evangelical statements in the last 50 years.

Our purpose is not to display an act of tour de force scholarship, but rather to cooperate with the mission of the Spirit in eliciting the unity of the body of true believers.

J.I. Packer: I think that's a very fine way of putting it. We are saying we hope that the book will edify, illuminate, instruct and so build up evangelical people who read it. We hope that the book will strike home with people who aren't yet evangelicals but ought to be. We hope that the book will instruct folk whose interest in evangelicalism is perhaps biased by negative stereotypes. And we hope to clear away those stereotypes. We hope that people in all the fields of study which require them to know about evangelicals and what evangelicals are up to will be able to use our book as a resource for finding out what they need.

And we certainly hope that in seeking to fulfill these goals we shall be in line with what the Spirit is doing amongst Christian people in these days. He's extending the fellowship of evangelicals. He's increasing the inner strength and maturity of judgment of the evangelicals in this worldwide constituency. He's expanding it at a great rate: There are half a billion evangelicals in the world, and the number is quickly growing. And from that standpoint, we hope that our book will have a sort of catechetical ministry, giving ...

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January 2004

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