Thursday, February 26, 2009

What am I? Help from David Wells

I have enjoyed several books by David Wells, I am now reading "The Courage to Be Protestant". It's very informative and helpful.

Like Wells I have struggled with the label "Evangelical" because of how meaningless the term has become with myriads of protestants who label themselves as such. I do not oppose the use of labels, but they can be very misleading.
So what am I? I resonate very closely with what David Wells says early in this book:

I think of myself as a biblical Christian first and foremost, as in continuity with Christians across the ages who have believed the same truth and followed the same Lord. The period in which these truths were brought into the most invigorating, health-giving focus was the Reformation.

I therefore think of myself as Reformational in the sense that I affirm the solas: in Scripture alone is God's authoritative truth found, in Christ alone is salvation found, it is by grace alone that we are saved, and this salvation is received through faith alone. Only after each of these affirmations is made can we say that salvation from start to finish is to the glory of God alone. These affirmations do not stand simply as solitary, disconnected sentinels, but they are the key points in an integrated, whole understanding of biblical truth. This is what gives us a place to stand in the world from which to understand who we are, what the purposes of God are, and what future lies before us. These are the things that historic Protestants believe, and that is what I am.

Wells goes on to observe:

This is what I think offers the only real hope for our postmodern world. Not only so, but it carries in it the best help for the evangelical world in its wounded and declining state today. I do not know what the evangelical future will be, but I am certain evangelicalism has no good future unless it finds this kind of direction again. This will take some courage. The key to the future is not the capitulation that we see in both the marketers and the emergents (two classes of Evangelicals Wells sees as causing the decline in Evangelicalism). It is courage. The courage to be faithful to what Christianity in its biblical forms has always stood for across the ages.


Frontier Forest said...

Sorry to say I have never heard of David Wells, but he has hit it right on the old noggin! Being leery of the over-used, politically incorrect and misunderstood term, “Evangelical” takes me back to the 90’s, when I used tell folks my place in Christ was a be a “Fundamental” Bible believing Christian. Will the new ways of Evangelical thinking be accepted and the old ways of being Evangelical be forever washed away into obscurity, labeled as narrow minded, legalistic, intolerant right-wing bigots, as the fundamentals were so labeled in the 90’s? Or will old and new Evangelicals turn back the tides of the political correct garbage and build upon those who have remained steadfast, those who have believed the same old truths and those who have never grown weary of following our Sovereign Lord?

Rick Calohan said...

Based on your brief synopsis it seems to me the correct title of the book should be Courage to be Reformed and Protestant. I believe many non-Reformed, non-denominational Evangelical Confessing Professing Christians are missing the boat when it comes to Grace. I think their egalitarian non-discriminating view of the Gospel in short “if you will” i.e. “If you will” believe. However, as Reformed members of the Body of Christ, we know that the condition is not placed upon you to choose, for God has already chosen you. If God has Chosen you, then you are Elected and you are Adopted and the Holy Spirit will Regenerate you to faith, repentance unto life, sanctify you, justify you not by your works or merits but by the willful obedience of Christ, thus Glorify you in Heaven. As your sermon pointed out, “Do you know God through Christ?” I think sadly many know Christ but do not know Grace and God’s will and so under the guise that they made a free-will choice to do so believe they have found a path to God. Is this to say that these Christians are forever lost? No, for the Bible has affirmed that God has Predestined His People, Has drawn His people unto Himself by the efficacy of Christ’s work, life, death, and resurrection. I rather place my faith and by God’s grace I do in God’s grace alone, than my choice any day of the week. For if you depend on your works, your merits, your natural free-will choice, you will never please God; However, by the Grace of God, I know that I am his, not by my choice by but God’s choice. May these non-Reformed Christians in this life if it be God’s will discover this essential Biblical Christianity truth.

morsel said...

JN 5:24 “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.

The above verse is sufficient. Whether the person believes it is "Free will" or not is irrelevant, if they possess the Holy Spirit.