Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 153:612 (Oct 1996)
Article: Book Reviews
Author: Anonymous

Book Reviews

The Coming Evangelical Crisis. Edited by John H. Armstrong. Chicago: Moody Press, 1996. 269 pp. $17.99.

This significant book offers the basic premise that evangelicalism needs reforming, and that this reformation must be precisely that, a return to the attitudes and theology of the Reformation as defined by John Calvin and to a lesser extent Martin Luther. This work follows on the heels of such notable predecessors as James Hunter’s Evangelicalism: The Coming Generation (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1987); Michael Scott Horton’s Made in America (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1991); David Wells’ No Place for Truth (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1993); and Mark Noll’s The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1994). Well written and at points delightfully refreshing, The Coming Evangelical Crisis rises to its highest levels when defending an evangelical view of Scripture. In the introduction Armstrong writes, “This book will suggest, in various ways, that one significant reason [for the coming crisis] is found in our loss of confidence in the full and complete authority of the trusted, proven message of the Cross. When evangelicals were at their best…they believed that, when [the gospel] was understood, loved, and preached by the whole church, the Spirit of God was powerfully at work” (p. 24).

In chapter 1, R. Albert Mohler Jr. talks about the “Doctrine Party” and the “Experience Party” and argues that “evangelical integrity is essentially tied to evangelical conviction. The issue is not, in the final analysis, the theological authority of Augustine or the Reformers but the true nature of biblical theism” (p. 36).

In chapter 4, R. Fowler White asks, “Does God speak today apart from the Bible?” He concludes, “The Bible gives us no reason to expect that God will speak to His children today apart from the Scriptures…. Advocates of words ‘freshly spoken from heaven’ should beware: By diverting attention from the Scriptures, they quench the Spirit who is speaking therein” (p. 87).

Another strength of this important book is its attack on the theological shallowness of the church growth movement, a long-overdue critique. John D. Hannah observes, “There seems to be vast numerical strength in the churches, yet an appalling ignorance and superficiality at the same time” (p. 157). Issues in church growth, however, relate precisely to the doctrine of ecclesiology and the nature of the church. John F. MacArthur meets head-on the concept of “seeker sensitive

churches.” He writes, “There is simply no warrant in Scripture for adapting weekly church services to th...

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