New Evangelicalism Reviewed -- By: Ernest Pickering
CenQ 7:1 (Spring 1964) p. 1
New Evangelicalism Reviewed
Dean, Central Conservative Baptist Seminary
Basically, THE NEW EVANGELICALISM by Ronald Nash is a defense of the recent theological movement known as the “new evangelicalism.” If it has served no other purpose, it has declared before all the world that there is such a movement, and that it is a recognizable and influential force in religious life. Those who would naively (?) inquire, “What is the ‘new evangelicalism’?” as though it were something mysterious, intangible, and practically non-existent, will find in this book a partial answer to their question.
The author is a pastor and teacher whose major field is philosophy. He believes it is time “to see on a large scale what good may be said about evangelicalism” (p. 15). His presentation supports the thesis that “contemporary fundamentalism has forfeited its right to be considered the historic successor of the early fundamentalists” (p. 16).
Nash’s analysis presents nothing essentially new. It is simply a rehash and reorganization of material that has been presented by others. The new evangelicalism arose because fundamentalists: (1) reduced the church’s message to salvation alone; (2) severed the Christian message from everyday living; (3) were suspicious of,
CenQ 7:1 (Spring 1964) p. 2
and antagonistic to, science and scientists; (4) tended to deprecate scholarship in general, and (5) failed to supply adequate and scholarly literature to suit their times. Evangelicals such as Harold Ockenga, Gordon Clark, Carl Henry and others, bewailing the fundamentalist failures in these areas, set out to reconstruct fundamentalism into evangelicalism.
Several observations should be made on the above. Fundamentalists as a whole were aggressively evangelistic in the early days, emphasizing personal and mass evangelism. This, however, does not warrant the statement that they reduced the Christian message to a single point. What irritates author Nash and his new evangelical friends is the fact that fundamentalists made no attempt to Christianize society, but simply to rescue lost sinners out of their doom. This is the Biblical pattern, and our author presents no evidence to the contrary. The charge that fundamentalists were, and are, antagonistic to science and scientists is certainly misleading because the whole case is not stated. True Bible-believers are not at war with genuine scientific facts. They have, and rightly so, taken up the cudgels of the Word of God against spurious, blasphemous, and anti-Scriptural theories and systems purporting to be scientific but in reality but the inventions of men’s imaginations.
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