Editorial -- By: Douglas Moo
Thoughtful Christians from Harry Blamires to Mark Noll have deplored the lack of a biblically based, theologically astute mind among most evangelicals. Pragmatism has often tended to rule in our decision-making and policy formulation. And postmodernism simply accentuates the problem by turning the absence of a coherent Christian system of thought into a virtue. Four of our five articles in this fascicle address some facet of this problem.
Michael Bullmore, a colleague on the faculty at Trinity, fittingly concludes our series of articles on environmentalism with a survey of some of the key biblical perspectives. And biblical perspective is desperately needed. Many evangelicals have unthinkingly aligned themselves with a political agenda that tends to make economic well-being the acid test for policy on this issue. I applaud Mike’s insistence that the Bible presents a vision of God’s creation that has value in its own right and deserves therefore to be preserved - even if such preservation carries economic consequences.
An informed Christian policy on the environment can only exist as an implication of a clear and coherent Christian world view. Yet some contemporary evangelical thinkers are skeptical about world view quests. Carl F. H. Henry, dean of evangelical theologians, criticizes such skepticism, suggesting that these thinkers are conceding too much to postmodernism’s concern about the relativity of culture and language. His article, the written form of a lecture given at Trinity in 1997, deserves to be heard especially because it comes from one who is able to put the current trend in a broad historical perspective.
Carl Mosser and Paul Owen reveal another dimension of evangelical failure to think carefully and critically. As they persuasively document, Mormon scholars are producing material in
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defense of their fast-growing faith that is impressive in both quantity and quality. Yet, they note, evangelical response has been either dismissive or non-existent. Winning the battle of competing world views in the next millennium will require much more of sustained effort on the part of evangelical theologians.
The fifth article in this fascicle exposes the shallowness of evangelical thinking at yet another level: “practical” theology. Helge Stadelmann writes from a European perspective, but what he says has relevance to the church in every part of the world. Current practical theology, as we see it embodied by pastors, tends to have little theological about it. Decisions about church life and practice are made on the basis of pragmatics or management theory, with little influence of biblical theology on the results. Here, very close to home, is another arena where a Christian world v...
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