Sunday, November 23, 2008

In Essentials Unity

After a meeting that won't be confused with Wittenberg, It appears the Evangelical Theological Society has decided not to amend their doctrinal basis or include some recommended minimal propositional statements to sufficiently define the group as...well,...evangelical.

Such appears to be the state of a significant portion of evangelicalism today, or at least of many who want the label but don't always want to sign on to the essential doctrines. No doubt many members will offer divergent and varied rationales for their respective votes against an amendment which would have required a super-majority to pass, but ultimately failed to come close to even 50% in favor. Likely many nay-voters agree with the doctrinal points made in the amendment offered but for one reason or another don't want to require assent for membership purposes.

It's disappointing. These were not points that would have separated Calvinists from Arminians, charismatics from non-charismatics, premils from amils, or credo-baptists from paedo-baptists. They were just some basic statements affirming a basic definition of the gospel, and also clarifying what Evangelicals mean when they refer to the Bible (no, it does not include the book of Tobit). And they defined the authority of Scripture (the 66 books of the Old and New Testaments) as exceeding that of any earthly ecclesiastical leader or organization.

In voting down the amendment, the ETS lost an opportunity to affirm the truth with clarity.

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