The Basis Of New Evangelicalism -- By: Rupert L. Sanasac

Journal: Central Bible Quarterly
Volume: CENQ 03:2 (Summer 1960)
Article: The Basis Of New Evangelicalism
Author: Rupert L. Sanasac


The Basis Of New Evangelicalism

Rupert L. Sanasac

Immanuel Baptist Church Menomonie, Wisconsin

A generation that has experienced two world wars has also seen two major developments in theology. As Ryrie has said of Barth’s “Epistle to the Romans” written in 1918, it was “a deliberate bombshell designed to explode on the theological world. It succeeded too, for the book either shattered the liberals or angered them.”1 Barth’s writings brought to the theological scene neo-orthodoxy, an attack upon liberalism, when it was weakest after the dashing of its Utopian hopes by World War I. Now another explosion has been set off; this time under the banner of- new evangelicalism, and another book has been written which adopts the Epistle to the Romans, with the addition of Galatians, as the criteria of Christian theology. Edward J. Carnell in his book, “The Case for Orthodox Theology,” says, “Therefore, if the church teaches anything that offends the system of Romans and Galatians, it is cultic.”2 Reviewers quickly ascertained that Carnell’s attack was not against liberalism but fundamentalism. “Instead of defending orthodox theology, the author consistently takes exception to many of its fundamentals.”3 Although perhaps the most extensive setting forth of new evangelical principles, this volume was not the first such declaration. As early as March, 1956, a national magazine had carried an article entitled “Is Evangelical Theology Changing?” which included the statement, “In short, fundamentalism has become evangelicalism.”4 What is the basic philosophy of this new “evangelicalism”? Perhaps a survey of the purpose, precepts, and program of the movement will tell us.

The Purpose Of New Evangelicalism

In a letter written in September 1958 Dr, Charles E. Fuller wrote, “You may have noted that Billy Graham recently joined our Board of Trustees.. .. The aim of Fuller Seminary is to combine scholarship with evangelism.. . to join Biblical theology with social compassion.. . to produce a ‘new evangelicalism.’”5 New evangelicalism is further defined as a “movement which adheres to the historic doctrines of the Christian faith plus a warm-hearted commitment to the projection of that faith in evangelism.”6 And a “willingness to preach the Gospel wherever he can and to accept and even seek the cooperation of all the churches—in...

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