The New Evangelicalism: Evaluations And Prospects -- By: Rolland D. McCune

Journal: Detroit Baptist Seminary Journal
Volume: DBSJ 08:1 (Fall 2003)
Article: The New Evangelicalism: Evaluations And Prospects
Author: Rolland D. McCune


The New Evangelicalism: Evaluations And Prospects

Rolland D. McCune1

The new evangelicalism has been slowly but decidedly moving leftward toward neo-orthodoxy and worse. This trend was observed and warned against by fundamentalists early on when they spoke about new evangelicalism’s departures in the areas of revelation, inspiration, and ecumenism, among others. Fundamentalists also feared that the technique of “dialogue” would cause an acceptance of neo-orthodox if not neo-liberal principles in the effort to find common ground and rapprochement with such scholars and leaders. The downward trajectory of new evangelicalism demonstrates that it is impossible to maintain a lofty rational objectivity and theological neutrality while exploring the so-called strengths of unbelieving scholarship for mutual enrichment, possible Christian fellowship, and organizational cooperation. The pacifistic and irenic spirit so necessary and coveted in dialogue prevents a needed biblical confrontation and soon gives way to a toleration and, in some cases, an embracing of unscriptural ideas.

Millard Erickson noted in 1968 already that the new evangelicalism “has been moving in the general direction of neo-orthodoxy. Some fundamental critics maintain that it already has moved to an essentially neo-orthodox position.”2 One need not look far for the names of those who at one time professed to be new evangelical but later embraced many non-evangelical tenets, and one would be extremely reticent to apply to them any longer the name evangelical. Fuller Theological Seminary cannot be considered evangelical, largely due to the drift consciously presided over by David Allan Hubbard during his long tenure as president (1963–1993).3 Billy Graham, Clark Pinnock,

Bernard Ramm, Donald Bloesch, Daniel P. Fuller, J. Ramsey Michaels, Robert Gundry, Stanley Grenz, and Gregory Boyd, to say nothing of lesser-known men and women, have also forfeited the designation of evangelical in my judgment, if their pronouncements, writings, and actions over the last few decades represent their true convictions.

This comes as no surprise to fundamentalists because the greatest hedge against this corruption by association (1 Cor 15:33) is the practice of ecclesiastical separation. Since the repudiation of this doctrine was probably the chief cornerstone of the new evangelicalism from its inception, the movement had a manifest destiny of deterioration in theology and ambivalence in practice from the beginning. Its anti-sep...

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