Modern Pensées

Reconsidering theology, philosophy, culture, economics, and politics

Archive for the ‘Wesley’ Category

3 Month Introspective

with one comment

Introspective

So, I’ve been blogging consistently for three months.  This is the week of Christmas and I’ll be all over the place.  I thought I would briefly summarize the 3 months of blog series on here:

Blaise Pascal:  We took a look at Blaise Pascal’s thinking, its use of aphorism and its relationship to both tri-perspectivalism and presuppositionalism.  We also looked at his use of aphorism and his warnings against deism and atheism.

Thoughts on Evangelicalism Past, Present, and Future, Parts 1-7:  We defined the term evangelical.  We looked at its historical roots in the First Great Awakening, Second Great Awakening, and its ties to celebrity culture, democritization of knowledge, and modernism.  Then we looked at the roots of liberalism, the Protestant split and suburbanization, and defined and outlined evangelical populism and their game plan for reaching America.  Finally we assessed the current status of American evangelicalism and then made some predictions of future trends.

Introduction to Apologetics, Parts 1-7:  We looked in broad strokes at the various schools of apologetics.  We then took a more in-depth look at:  Classical Apologetics, Evidentialist Apologetics, Presuppositional Apologetics, and the specific apologetics of Blaise Pascal and Alvin Plantinga.  Finally, we employed the three phases football as an analogy for the different apologetic schools and I likened Tim Tebow to the presuppositionalists.

Thoughts on Evangelicalism Moving Forward, Parts 1-10:  We looked at some analysis of some shifts evangelicalism will need to make moving forward:  Doctrine, Worldview, Urbanization, Globality/Mobility, “Post-Modernism,” American Culture(s), Contextualization, Balance, and Final Analysis.

Top ~10 Books by Topic:

Top 10 Systematic Theology Texts

Top 10 Devotional Classics

Top 10 Books on the Church

Top 10 Books on Science and Christianity

Top 10 Books on Christian Biography

Top 10 Books on Culture

Top 10 Books on Eschatology

Top 5 Books on Worldview

Top 15 Books on Status of American Evangelicalism

Top 10 Books on Church History

Top 40 Books to Read While in College

Top 10 Books on Missions, Discipleship, and Evangelism

The 25 Most Destructive Books Ever Written…

Top 10 Apologetic Works

Top 10 Books on Divine Sovereignty and Human Responsibility

Top 10 Books by John Piper

Top 5 Children’s Books

Best Creeds, Confessions, and Catechisms of the Christian Church

A Comprehensive List of Top 10 Book Lists of 2009

Up Next:  We will be looking at some thoughts on the economy and investment and then delve into the mind of Friedrich Nietzsche…

Written by Michael Graham

December 19, 2009 at 11:29 am

Thoughts on Evangelicalism Past, Present, and Future… Part 1

with 2 comments

George Whitefield

I have been reading a bit recently on evangelicalism as a movement in the United States.  I want to devote a few posts to defining evangelicalism and providing some analysis of its strengths and weaknesses, past and present.  I have been influenced heavily by Nancy Pearcey’s Total Truth, Iain Murray’s Revival and Revivalism, David Well’s No Place for Truth, Mark Noll’s The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind, and James Davison Hunter’s Culture Wars.

We shall work our way from the past toward the present and then future, but before we do anything we must try to define evangelicalism.

Many things have served the muddy the term “evangelical” – the politicization of the Christian Right (ie. Falwell, Robertson, and Dobson), fundamentalism (is it part of evangelicalism or not), and the broadness of its history and key figures (ie. Jonathan Edwards, John Darby, and George Whitefield).

Our working definition of evangelicalism will be from David Bebbington (Cambridge), who describes the movement by four distinctives:

1.  Biblicism:  taking the Bible seriously (and typically holding to the doctrines of inerrancy and  infallibility)

2.  Crucicentrism:  having Jesus’ work of atonement on the cross as the central focus of the Scriptures and ministry

3.  Conversionism:  emphasis on need for all peoples to be converted to Christianity

4.  Activism:  the belief that Christians must be active in expressing their beliefs publicly

The movement has its beginnings in the First Great Awakening in the early 1700s.  It was first in Great Britain and then the United States.  Key to its expansion was the vivid theatrical preaching and promotional methods of George Whitefield.  In 1735-1739, Whitefield first takes the preaching and revival to Great Britain.  At this time John Wesley, a friend from their time at Oxford, had a dismal ministry in Georgia and was invited by Whitefield to come and take over the preaching and revivals in Great Britain.  Wesley, by his own admission, was uncoverted at this time preaches until he finally believes the gospel (under the counsel of a Moravian named Peter Bohler).  Whitefield then take his preaching and revival to the colonies.   Whitefield preached some 18,000 sermons and gave some 12,000 exhortative speeches in his 30 years of ministry.  He preached to every major city on the Eastern seaboard of the United States, crossed the Atlantic 13 times, and preached in Scotland, Wales, Great Britain, Ireland, and the Bahamas.  Without amplification, Whitefield preached regularly to several thousand people.  It is estimated that 80% of the entire population of the American colonies heard him preach at some point.   In America alone he preached to 10 million people.  It was with great fervor and very broad sowing that evangelicalism germinated.

Next time we shall examine the [controversial] methods of the First Great Awakening…

%d bloggers like this: