Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous
BSac 136:544 (Oct 79) p. 359
The Orthodox Evangelicals. Edited by Robert Webber and Donald Bloesch. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1978. 139 pp. $4.95.
This examination of the issues which led to the “Chicago Call,” a meeting of forty-five evangelicals in Chicago in May, 1977, addresses such issues as historical continuity, biblical fidelity, credal identity, holistic salvation, sacramental integrity, spirituality, church authority, and church unity. Webber, chairman of the “Chicago Call,” is also associate professor of theology at Wheaton College. Coeditor Bloesch is professor of theology at the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary.
This publication of the explanation of the “Chicago Call” and the responses to it is another milestone in the attempt to consolidate evangelicalism behind a solid theological show of unity. The movement represented by the “Chicago Call” was immediately hailed in the press as a step toward ecumenicity among evangelicals. theological show of unity. The movement represented by the “Chicago Call” was immediately hailed in the press as a step toward ecumenicity among evangelicals.
Although the signers of the “Chicago Call” do not attempt to affirm or deny inerrancy of Scripture, this issue is considered not essential to their unity as long as a high view of Scripture is adopted. Signers of the “Chicago Call,” while not to be identified as representatives of their respective institutions, nevertheless reveal some significant omissions. Institutions such as Moody Bible Institute, as well as the entire Bible institute movement, and such seminaries as the Conservative Baptist Theological Seminary, Dallas Theological Seminary, Grace Theological Seminary, Talbot Theological Seminary, and Western Conservative Baptist Seminary are all absent and without representation. It is evident that the “Chicago Call” is attempting to provide a standard of orthodoxy short of the rigidity of the inerrancy movement, and yet to the right of neoorthodoxy. Although some responders in their own books deny inerrancy, while others affirm it, coherence of the group is made possible by sidelining this issue.
Many evangelicals will respond sympathetically to the goals of the “Chicago Call,” while at the same time expressing concern at relegating inerrancy to a place of being an unnecessary stricture for evangelical orthodoxy. The question remains how evangelicals can on the one hand avoid the tendency to splinter over disputed theological dogmas, and on the other hand, distinguish between what is essential and
BSac 136:544 (Oct 79) p. 360
nonessential in orthodox evangelicalism. Some will conclude that the “orthodox evangelicals” are not quite orthodox.
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