Yesterday we received our first copies of the latest multiple-views book from Zondervan. It is the Four Views on the Spectrum of Evangelicalism. The contributors and positions are:
Kevin T. Bauder – Fundamentalism
R. Albert Mohler – Confessional Evangelicalism
John G. Stackhouse – Generic Evangelical
Roger Olson – Postconservative Evangelical
It may appear there is quite a spectrum but Roger Olson has said on his blog that he feels the positions between Bauder and Mohler “are too much alike to really represent fundamentally different approaches to defining evangelicalism.” He says the same is true between his position and that of Stackhouse. With those observations aside he believes the “book is very good as it is.”
As I scanned through it quickly I was struck by Bauder’s comments on Roman Catholicism. He writes:
“Fundamentalists believe that Roman Catholicism also denies the gospel. Catholicism attacks the gospel in at least two ways. First, it undercuts biblical authority by subjecting the Scriptures to an authoritative tradition and magisterium, not to mention an infallible papacy. Second, by confounding justification with progressive sanctification, it attacks the root of a gracious gospel and denies that salvation can be applied through faith alone. The result is a system of religion that mixes faith with works in the application of salvation.
Granted, Roman Catholicism, unlike Arianism or Mormonism, affirms Trinitarian orthodoxy. The Roman gospel, however is false. Catholicism represents an apostate, rather than a Christian, system of religion. Christians cannot rightly extend Christian recognition or fellowship to those who endorse and proclaim the Roman Catholic gospel.” (31-32)
Readers of this blog know how much I have learned and enjoy reading Catholic scholars. This kind of fundamentalism is hard to understand yet I encountered it first hand this week. I had a customer remark that he was just about to buy a book on exegesis but then he noticed the author taught at a Catholic seminary. He said to me, “Catholics are wrong on so much what could they possibly teach us about exegesis? Clearly their exegesis is wrong.” He didn’t purchase the book. I offered a couple of thoughts which he simply brushed aside as mindless gibberish.
I look forward to reading this book. I was once very comfortable with calling myself an Evangelical. I’m wondering if I’ll still be as comfortable after finishing the book.
Four Views on The Spectrum of Evangelicalism is from Zondervan. It is a paperback with 224 pages and sells for $16.99.