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September Book of the Month

“Evangelicalism Divided”

The issue of Inerrancy is a watershed issue for the Christian Church in every generation and ours is no exception. In March 2015 several dozen men from FBC will be attending a four day conference at Grace Community Church entitled “A Summit on Inerrancy.” At this conference many well-known conservative pastors and theologians will gather to address the critical topic of Biblical Inerrancy. The last conference of this type was the 1978 Chicago Summit on Inerrancy which produced as a result of the summit “The Chicago Declaration of Inerrancy.” Many of the original 200 signatories of that declaration have since gone home to their eternal reward - but some will be at the 2015 conference.

In 2000 Iain Murray, one of my favorite church historians, wrote a landmark book chronicling the massive changes that have occurred in Evangelicalism in the second half of the twentieth century (ISBN 0-85151-783-8). These divisions were brought about by the growing influence of “New Evangelicalism” and their quest for a theology and understanding of the Bible that would find respect among the intellectual elite of their day. This quest has produced a number of dangerous and detrimental changes within the Evangelical Church such as:

• Valuing superficial unity over doctrinal integrity

• Defining “love” as a refusal to confront theological error and then making that redefinition of love the reigning virtue and description of a follower of Christ.

• A murky understanding of the essentials of the gospel and what it means to be a Christian.

• Ecumenical reunion with Rome.

• Uncertainty regarding the accuracy of the Biblical text, particularly the words of Christ in the gospels.

• A lack of clarity regarding Biblical prophecy and dangerous idea that God gives ongoing and errant revelation to His people outside of the Scriptures.

In his book Murray reveals people, places, dates and names - many of them well known - who have participated in this transformation of Evangelicalism. Some of them did so knowingly and willingly, others appear to have been carried along by the tides of their day. For the last 50+ years many Evangelicals have been willing to trade their birthright (the inerrant Scriptures) for a bowl of potage (the illusion of respect from unbelievers) only to find out in the end that they neither.

If you want to understand where we have come from and where we are headed as a church in America you must read this book. At 318 pages you still have time to read it and signup to attend the 2015 Summit (http://www.shepherdsconference.org).