In many respects the time is now ripe for a great resurgence of evangelical scholarship. The irrelevance of the older liberalism is plain to see. The pressure of neoorthodoxy back to an underlying liberalism is increasingly apparent. Against materialism on the one side and false dogmatisms on the other, the only response is a strong evangelicalism. Church life, as shown by the wide conservatism of ministers and people, is waiting for it. The ground has been largely prepared by new developments in biblical, historical and dogmatic theology. The only remaining question is whether evangelical theology itself can rise to the occasion.
There are promising signs that it may do so. Evangelical schools are taking their places among leading seminaries. Books of a high quality are coming from the presses. The evangelical voice is being raised again in denominational and ecumenical debates. Thoughtful lay supporters are emerging for theological ventures as well as for the established pastoral, evangelistic and missionary work.
We deceive ourselves, however, if we imagine that the tide is necessarily with us or that all is being done that might be. In a recent article in this journal it was pointed out that the evangelical cause still goes by default at many levels. Two questions in particular demand attention, first, whether much of our effort does not stand under the famous military slogan “Too little, too late,” and secondly, whether there are not? certain inherent defects of posture or direction in much of the theological work.
The practical question is addressed primarily to evangelical congregations. While we recognize that scholarship is not the only concern, that tragic defections have occurred in this sphere, and that God can ...1
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