Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous
The Split Caused By Neo-Evangelicalism
A review of the book NEO-EVANGELICALISM, by Robert P. Lightner (Dunham Publ. Co., Findlay, Ohio, 1961, 170 pp., $2.00) by Professor Warren Vanhetloo.
That a cleavage exists between Neo-evangelicalism and Fundamentalism is no secret. In. this first book presenting Neo-evangelical ism in a definitive and objective way, the author has in a simple and gracious manner identified and evaluated the developments, doctrines, difficulties, and dangers of a movement still less than two decades old.
Since Neo-evangelicals formerly espoused Fundamentalism, tracing the developments includes a study of the rise of Fundamentalism as a defense of historic Christianity against philosophical attacks of rationalism and naturalism; scientific attacks of evolutionary theories; and theological attacks of destructive higher criticism. Quoting Neo-evangelicals, dissatisfactions with Fundamentalism are next listed as including emphasis on a few fundamental doctrines to the exclusion of a social passion, lack of scholarship, and loyalty to premillennial dispensationalism. The attitude, the strategy, and the results of the Fundamentalist are considered wrong. The proposed solutions to correct the Fundamentalists’ errors include (1) disowning Fundamentalism, (2) seeking to regain secular recognition and to recapture denominational status, (3) embracing the creeds of the past, (4) dispensing love, and (5) ceasing to remain separate from apostate denominations (promoting both ecclesiastical and personal non-separation). These ideas are currently being spread both by books and periodicals and also by instruction in many formerly fundamental schools.
The emphasis in doctrine by Neo-evangelicals is in two areas (salvation and social implications), instead of the five minimal areas of Fundamentalism, “out of proportion to the other doctrines of the Scriptures.” Separation, where there is not an outright antiseparatist position, is left to the individual. The cause of this is a change in views regarding Biblical authority, especially regarding total inerrancy and verbal inspiration. Also, there is vagueness concerning the doctrine of last things, the relation of science to Scripture, the nature of the church, unity and ecumenism, and the doctrine of man.
Several difficulties are encountered by this new approach of Neo-evangelicalism. They claim to have desired to achieve a united conservative front for the presentation of the Gospel, but instead they have caused further division. They claim they want to make orthodoxy respectable, but this too is working in reverse, because Neo-evangelicalism has failed to win liberals to the conservative view but has granted many needless concessions to the liberals to no avail. Difficulties also attend the Neo-evang...
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