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Reclaiming the Center: Confronting Evangelical Accommodation in Postmodern Times Paperback – November 9, 2004

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Editorial Reviews


"When evangelicals confuse an improper passion for novelty with a proper pursuit of academic and pastoral relevance, the results can be distressing. I cannot express how grateful I am for the well-formed wisdom with which this book points to the abiding and decisive relevance for future route-finding of the old theological paths."
J. I. Packer, Board of Governors' Professor of Theology, Regent College

"For those evangelicals who-like myself-are increasingly troubled by extravagant claims made by various evangelical scholars about the nature of the 'postmodern' challenge, as well as by earnest calls to develop new epistemological and theological perspectives in response to this challenge, the writers of these essays shed much light. This book is must-reading for everyone who wants to promote a clear-thinking evangelicalism for our contemporary context."
Richard J. Mouw, President, Professor of Christian Philosophy, Fuller Theological Seminary

"Here is a collection of intelligent, provocative, gutsy essays that dare to fly into the eye of the scholarly storm over evangelical identity. Though different perspectives are present even here, the underlying thesis is clear and worth heeding: the eager, and sometimes uncritical, embrace of postmodernist paradigms may be as premature as it has proven to be unproductive for the well-being of the evangelical church. One of the most important books of the new century!"
Timothy George, Founding Dean, Beeson Divinity School; General Editor, Reformation Commentary on Scripture

"Provocative, timely, and controversial!"
Donald G. Bloesch, Professor of Theology Emeritus, Dubuque Theological Seminary

"Compromise and confusion stand at the center of evangelicalism's theological crisis, and a clear-headed and convictional analysis of the problem has been desperately needed. Thankfully, Reclaiming the Center has arrived just in time. . . . My fervent hope is that it will open evangelical eyes, humble evangelical hearts, and awaken this generation to the peril of accommodationism."
R. Albert Mohler Jr., President and Joseph Emerson Brown Professor of Christian Theology, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

"The authors of this well-designed volume provide a bold and well-argued response to what is sometimes called 'postconservative evangelicalism.' This important conversation regarding the essence, center, and boundaries of evangelicalism is here explored, interpreted, and assessed from a well-informed theological, philosophical, and historical perspective. . . . I heartily commend this volume and trust it will find a large readership."
David S. Dockery, President, Trinity International University

About the Author

Millard J. Erickson is Distinguished Professor of Theology at Western Seminary in Portland, Oregon. He is a leading evangelical spokesman with numerous highly regarded volumes to his credit, including the classic text Christian Theology.

Paul Kjoss Helseth is Associate Professor of Christian Thought at Northwestern College in St. Paul, Minnesota and the author of numerous scholarly articles.

Justin Taylor (PhD, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) is senior vice president and publisher for books at Crossway. He has edited and contributed to several books including A God-Entranced Vision of All Things and Reclaiming the Center, and he blogs at Between Two Worlds—hosted by the Gospel Coalition.

D. A. Carson (PhD, Cambridge University) is research professor of New Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, where he has taught since 1978. He is president of the Gospel Coalition, and has written or edited nearly 60 books including Scandalous, Memoirs of an Ordinary Pastor, and The Difficult Doctrine of the Love of God. He and his wife, Joy, have two children and live in the north suburbs of Chicago.

R. Scott Smith is Assistant Professor of Ethics and Christian Apologetics at Biola University in California. He is the author of Virtue Ethics and Moral Knowledge. Dr. Smith has lectured and presented numerous times on his specialty, postmodernism, and he is also the secretary-treasurer of the Evangelical Philosophical Society.

Stephen J. Wellum (PhD, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School) is professor of Christian theology at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and editor of the Southern Baptist Journal of Theology. He is also the coauthor (with Peter Gentry) of Kingdom through Covenant.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Crossway (November 9, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1581345682
  • ISBN-13: 978-1581345681
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,072,499 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

78 of 99 people found the following review helpful By Joshua P. Sowin on January 11, 2005
Format: Paperback
Experience over doctrine. Inclusivistic instead of exclusivistic. Discomfort with propositional truth. Synergistic. It may sound like ordinary heterodoxy, but it is a movement posed to take over normative church life--indeed, in some circles, it has already done so.

Reclaiming the Center seeks to reclaim what is being lost through the influence of "postconservative evangelicals" like theologian Stanley Grenz and pastor Brian McLaren. This recovery is presented from a wide-range of viewpoints--from philosophy to theology to historiography to third-world perspectives.

This theological pilgrimage begins with a concise and informative introduction to the issues (written by Justin Taylor), as well as an overview of how the book is organized and what each chapter is about (which I have in turn summarized in the next few paragraphs). Next is a chapter by D.A. Carson "summarizing and critiquing the broad outlines of Grenz's vision for evangelicalism" (p. 26).

After the introduction, a philosophical framework is begun. The three chapters in this section take a philosophical approach to answering postconservative accusations by discussing the correspondence theory of truth (Goothius, Ch. 3), foundationalism, reliabilism, inerrancy (Moreland and DeWeese, Ch. 4), and finally with epistemic/linguistic access to the real world (Smith, Ch. 5).

After setting up the philosophical framework (for every theology needs a foundation), the book moves on to theological assessment. Two of the chapters have to do with postconservative's view of Scripture. The postconservative cultural-linguistic model of Scripture is shown to be unreliable and the canonical-linguistic is put forth as a biblical alternative (Caneday, Ch. 6), and then Steve Wellum (Ch.
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45 of 70 people found the following review helpful By Anonymous on August 2, 2005
Format: Paperback
Grentz's Primer is singled out by the articles in Reclaiming the Center because it is an important contribution to formulating a coherent view of postmodern thought; however, the direction that Grentz suggests in his conclusion is well-intentioned but misguided. A survey of recent intellectual thought within the Christian church shows the Grentz is within the missionary tradition of the church: he embraces certain aspects of postmodernism in order to reach postmoderns. The same desire gave rise to liberalism at the beginning of the last century: to reach adherents of enlightenment rationalism the gospel needed to accommodate itself to an intellectual world in which rational man was the center. Toward the middle of the twentieth century, neo-orthodoxy sought to communicate the gospel to existential man through a program of demythologizing the gospel, and form and redaction criticism. Likewise, Grentz seeks to convert postmodern individuals to Christianity by framing the gospel in postmodern terms. Like earlier attempts to convert people through by accommodating the message, there is a reaction. Some will embrace Grentz's program as a means of reaching the unchurched. Others, like the contributors to Reclaiming the Center, will reject Grentz's proposal as an unacceptable accommodation.

The fundamental question is whether postmodernism is compatible with historic Christianity. I do not believe that it is. First, Christianity makes universal truth claims. Jean Francois Leotard, the most famous European postmodern, in The Postmodern Condition defined postmodernism as "incredulity toward meta-narratives" because meta-narratives promise but cannot deliver. Christianity, like all philosophical systems, is a meta-narrative (cf. 1 Cor. 15; John 14:6f., 8:31f., 1:1ff., etc.).
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By Timothy R on September 26, 2014
Format: Paperback
Great Book for my systematics Class. Fast shipping and easy to work with.
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