Theologian Roger Olson of Baylor University's Truett Seminary became convinced last fall that his fellow evangelical scholars were rejecting controversial views too quickly, and using a "rhetoric of exclusion."
Olson enlisted Jonathan Wilson of Westmont College and Stanley Grenz of Regent College in drafting "The Word Made Fresh: A Call For a Renewal of the Evangelical Spirit" (www.thewordmadefresh.com). About 110 leaders had signed the statement by June 1, including Vernon Grounds of Denver Seminary, Christopher Hall of Eastern University, and Miroslav Volf of Yale Divinity School.
Olson told CT some "ultra-conservative" evangelical scholars want to "exclude people I consider evangelicals, not better or worse than other evangelicals, but important evangelical voices—people who deserve a hearing and have not done anything to deserve exclusion."
Signers "deplore a present tendency among some evangelicals to define the boundaries of evangelical faith and life too narrowly," the statement says. "We admonish all evangelicals to resist attempts to propagate rigid definitions of evangelicalism that result in unnecessary alienation and exclusion."
The document states its commitment to "the lordship of Jesus Christ—the Word incarnate—in all areas of life and to the supreme authority of the canonical Scriptures—the written word—in all areas of faith and practice."
According to several scholars interviewed by CT, last fall's meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society (ETS), where a majority of scholars rejected the idea that God's knowledge of the future is limited, was a significant catalyst for "The Word Made Fresh" (CT, Jan. 7, p. 21).
Olson believes that an attitude of suspicion greets evangelical scholars who do not embrace a particular ...1
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