Sixth in a Series (Part I)

If one fact is clear from the twentieth century, it is that evangelical Christianity gains nothing from a ‘reaction theology’! Because it falls short of a full biblical emphasis, ‘reaction theology’ is powerless to confront the alternatives and always proves weak in the next generation.”

So comments the Dutch theologian, G. C. Berkouwer. One of the real tasks of evangelical Christianity, he feels, must be to move beyond old boundaries to new frontiers of theological enterprise. “The distinction between theological conservatism and progressivism is no longer serviceable,” Dr. Berkouwer says. “The words are no longer useful because everybody wants to ‘conserve’ and to ‘progress.’ Lack of progress is no characterological feature of our theology. We need to face the future unafraid. Faith need not fear in the face of danger. An openness in confronting modern problems in the wrestling of this century will not destroy or dilute the Word of God, but rather will give it free course.” From another quarter—L’Abri Fellowship in Switzerland, where Francis Schaeffer works with intellectuals on the agnostic fringes of modern life—comes another warning to evangelical forces. “For many of ‘the doubters’ in our generation the accepted religious vocabulary no longer conveys what the words were intended to mean. So the ‘general evangelicals’ are often articulating slogans rather than communicating ideas. They need therefore to step into the twentieth century.” “Worse yet,” says Schaeffer, “some segments of the evangelical movement have fallen prey to the irrationalistic ...

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