In the prologue to his Gospel, addressed to Theophilus, Luke states that his purpose is to “set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us.” In this second half of the twentieth century, the Christian world is besieged by writers on theology who believe most surely in very few things other than their notion that there is not much to believe anymore. It is difficult to determine whether they address Christians to convince them of the insubstantial presuppositions that have beguiled them, or the unbelieving multitudes to assure them that they were right all the time in rejecting the historic Christian faith. The “God-is-dead,” “church-is-irrelevant” writers confound the saints and confuse the sinners. But they would hardly agree to the terms of this charge, since they are actually most skeptical about sainthood and most dogmatic in repudiating the biblical concept of sin.

These vocal copy-suppliers for the seekers after “religious news” are in plentiful supply in nearly all communions. On the surface they are champions of honesty in thinking about supra-rational matters. They are eager to be regarded as destroyers of ancient ikons that have diverted the faithful from a true faith. They seek to revamp the historic faith so as to make it respectable for man “come of age.” Christianity is a subject rather than an experience; a theme to be debated with academic objectivity, not a way of life to be commended as the one that incorporates the ultimate meaning for human existence and the only peace that can survive what Shakespeare termed “outrageous fortune.” Christianity is reduced to “religion” (or one of the “historic faiths”), a proper item on a college or university curriculum, to be ...

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