One of the gravest dangers to contemporary Protestantism is its obsession with the periphery of Christianity. We see many spokes to the wheel and much emphasis on the rim of Christian activity, but we are in danger of neglecting the hub of the Christian faith itself.
For a long time I have been reading the voluminous daily reports supplied by a religious news service that tell of church activities at home and abroad.
It becomes depressingly obvious to one after a while that much of our activity in contemporary church life is on the periphery—around the rim of a wheel—and that these activities represent the spokes of innumerable councils, commissions, committees, organizations, and so forth.
We would hardly imply that the rim is an unintegral, unimportant part of the wheel. It is at the rim that contact is made with the road and the wheel becomes effective. In like manner, the Church must make effective contact with the world if its own usefulness is to continue.
However, just as a wheel collapses unless its spokes are firmly centered in the hub, so too the wheel of Church activity ceases to make an impact unless it is firmly centered in the doctrinal content of Christian truth.
By some strange conspiracy of silence, doctrine is almost an ugly word in Protestant circles today. There seems to be almost an obsession against any reference to the revealed truths basic to the Christian faith. Facts having to do with the person and work of our Lord are shunned. So long as an individual, a congregation, or a denomination is active, the reason for that activity seems to be a matter of secondary importance.
We hear a great deal about the “prophetic role of the church.” This is good insofar as that role is concerned with sin, individual ...1
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