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Evangelicalism Divided: A Record of Crucial Change in the Years 1950 to 2000 Hardcover – December 1, 2000
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In one insightful passage, he asks, "If the evangelical belief that it is faith in the gospel which brings spiritual unity is true, then it follows that where the gospel ceases to be believed there unity ceases to exist. Therein lay a long-standing problem for evangelicals who found themselves in denominations where many ministers and people did not believe that gospel. In such circumstances, how could they give the commitment to denominational unity which Scripture gives to the unity of Christians?" (p. 83).
While Murray points out failures of certain well-known leaders, he does not throw stones, nor does he assault character or motives of these men. He is charitible and gracious even when he disagrees, which I found very refreshing compared to many "critiques" that people write.
As he writes, "Like the Corinthian Christians we are prone either to idolize men or to be unduly critical. We too readily form parties behind men in forgetfulness of the direction, 'One is your teacher, the Christ, and you are all brethren' (Matt. 23:8). Because an eminent Christian is evidently right in some things, or owned of God in his work, we are liable to take him as a leader in all things and to treat any who disagree as opponents." (p.Read more ›
Murray begins by telling his reader of Friedrich Schleiermacher (1768-1834) and his brand of theology. In an effort to defend Christianity from the higher criticism of his contemporaries, Schleiermacher made a great distinction between the mind and the heart, the objective thought and the subjective passions. He rejected the objective and taught that true Christianity was solely subjective, thus unassailable by higher criticism.
After his description of Schleiermacher, Murray shifts gears to the earlier half of the 20th Century and describes the events that transpired from that time to the present day. While careful not to slander anyone, he names names and gives example after example of a shift in attitude and approach from standing upon truth to compromise in the name of proclaiming the gospel.
As one reads through this book, at some point or another Murray's connection will strike him: modern evangelicalism has fallen into Scheiermacher-like beliefs, and most of its leaders don't even realize it. It's shocking and its implications hit very close to home, but Murray's conclusions are true.
After reading this book, I was grieved by some of the compromises I had made in the past. It permanently altered my perspective, and I am thankful I read it. I wholeheartedly recommend this book to any Christian who is interested in learning from the past, and I implore pastors and church leaders everywhere to read it so that the listing evangelical church might be righted again.
The book begins with an examination of Friedrich Schleiermacher (1768-1834) and the theology of experience that influenced so many. The God of Schleiermacher was a mere man, and one who bore little resemblance to the God of the Bible. To defend God against criticism, Schleiermacher redefined Christianity as mere subjectivity and not an objective Truth. This stunning departure from Scripture provides a foundation for many beliefs that later gained prominence in evangelicalism.
Having set the scene, Murray begins to examine many of the men and organizations that have directly shaped contemporary evangelicalism. He speaks of Billy Graham, J.I. Packer, John Stott and organizations such as Inter Varsity. While he is unafraid to name names, he avoids slander and conjecture, always speaking in love and always providing ample support for his claims. He writes about controversies in the Church of England during the sixties, about the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Evangelicals and Catholics Together (ECT). He writes also of controversy regarding how we ought to define a Christian and how we ought to define the church. Having thoroughly examined the modern history of evangelicalism, he raises questions and concerns about the present.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Iain Murray as he often does presents history in a very readable, yet accurate. History is unavoidably biased, but Iain is willing to discuss all the sides of the issues and the... Read morePublished 12 months ago by Jake D
Studying rifts in different evangelical denominations. Pretty interesting! I didn't think it would be, but it is historical. It is nice to see how events changed history.Published 18 months ago by PBS
Iain Murray is a wonder! A blessed and gifted man of God. Great book like everything he writes, and this is a tough subject!Published 18 months ago by Pearl Baker
Incredible and invaluable. Some hard news about some of the church's beloved figureheads but explains how the church of Philadelphia today, exists within today's church of... Read morePublished 18 months ago by richard gunsolus