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« The Definite Article and 1 Timothy 4:13 (Monday with Mounce 15) by Bill Mounce | Main | Don't Stop Believing 3 of 5: The Bottom Line by Michael E. Wittmer »


"we must emphasize the best of both worlds: social ethics like the liberals and the specific, historic doctrines of the faith with the conservatives."

Professor Wittmer,
I agree wholeheartedly, we need to have a Christianity that is rigorously lived out and rigorously thought out as well. Only one or the other will not do.
Going back to either side of the old liberal/conservative divide should not be an option for Christians committed to following the teachings of God’s Word. Instead we need to grasp that in the Bible social justice, and ethics, are derived from and inseparable from rightly knowing God, His actions, and His plan for our world. And vice versa, theology is not an end to itself but a guide to authentically following and worshiping God and living out his Kingdom in a Biblically faithful way.

There *is* a third way, it's just an incredibly difficult line to walk. Yet walk it we must, since Christ himself stressed equally correct belief and correct living. We cannot be Pharisees who belief without living and we cannot be the many miracle workers who he turns away on the last day.

As far as "emergence evangelicalism" goes, well that's why I don't really bother with Emergent Village. I think there are a lot of younger evangelicals like myself who are longing/are trying for a third way and don't care much for existing power structures, whether they be the SBC or EV. I think that's the biggest mistake critics of the "movement" make: it's not really a movement and there aren't really any leaders.

By the way, there was something funky in the rss this post generated. Did you cut and paste from another source? Too many non web friendly characters.


I cut and paste the footnotes only. Sorry to hear about the unfriendly characters. Any suggestions?

Andrew (From Zondervan and Koinonia)

Thank you for this. I love your summary of these arguments and I appreciate that you included the Christian response at the conclusion of items 1, 2, 4 and 5. Did Machen write something that you can summarize as a one sentence version of the Christian response at the conclusion of Items 3 and 6?


Good question! Here is what Machen said for #3:

He replied that “the modern rejection of the doctrine of God’s wrath proceeds from a light view of sin.” He observed: “If sin is so trifling a matter as the liberal Church supposes, then indeed the curse of God’s law can be taken very lightly, and God can easily let by-gones be by-gones.” But “If a man has once come under a true conviction of sin, he will have little difficulty with the doctrine of the Cross.” Machen added that God does not punish someone else for our sin, but “God Himself, and not another, makes the sacrifice for sin…. Salvation is as free for us as the air we breathe; God’s the dreadful cost, ours the gain.”

Here is something he adds to #6:

Against the liberals of his day, Machen responded that we must not treat Christianity “as a mere means to a higher end. …Christianity will indeed accomplish many useful things in this world, but if it is accepted in order to accomplish those useful things it is not Christianity.” Those who seek first the kingdom of God will find that “all these things shall be added unto you. But if you seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness in order that all those other things may be added unto you, you will miss both those other things and the Kingdom of God as well.

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