Modern Pensées

Reconsidering theology, philosophy, culture, economics, and politics

Posts Tagged ‘Worldview

3 Month Introspective

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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…

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Written by Michael Graham

December 19, 2009 at 11:29 am

Top 15 Books on Status of American Evangelicalism

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No Place for Truth by David Wells

These books represent the best analysis on the present status and recent history of evangelicalism.  This list is meant to be informative and not to be alarmist or disconcerting.  I think the classic Dicken’s line, ‘it was the best of times, it was the worst of times‘ will apply the Christ’s church til He return.  It is implicit also in this list that works commending a Christian worldview, like Nancy Pearcey’s Total Truth, are must reads.  I have also omitted more esoteric debates including books on open theism, federal vision, new perspectives on paul… etc.  The purpose of this list is zoomed out than those specific issues.

1.  No Place for Truth by David Wells  [e, p, s]

How modernity crept in and screwed up evangelicalism.  Absolute classic.

2.  The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind by Mark Noll  [y, l, e, p, s]

The scandal of the evangelical mind is that it is so scarce and scant.  You may also want to read Os Guinness’ Fit Bodies Fat Minds, addressing evangelicalism’s intellectual laziness and preoccupation with the temporary.

3.  The Democritization of American Christianity by Nathan Hatch  [e, p, s]

Fascinating analysis of the democritization of Christianity in America.  His historical analysis is keen and well-researched.

4.  Christianity and Liberalism by J. Greshem Machen  [e, p, s]

This classic work delineates the liberalism of the early 20th century as being a completely other faith than the historic orthodox Christian faith.  86 years later it is still relevant.

5.  God in the Wasteland by David Wells  [e, p, s]

Wells continues where he left off in No Place for Truth, by challenging evidenced consumerism in evangelicalism.

6.  The Courage to Be Protestant by David Wells  [e, p, s]

The title is a play on Paul Tillich’s The Courage to Be.  Tillich’s work was a classic in early 20th century Protestant liberalism.  Wells draws connections between the emergent movement as really being a form of rehashed 20th century era liberalism.  Wells is also scathing on the level and abuse of marketing in modern evangelicalism.  As far as Wells goes, his Above All Earthly Pow’rs s also a worthwhile read:  in terms of analysis Pow’rs is to post-modernity what No Place for Truth was to modernity.

7.  The New Shape of World Christianity:  How American Experience Reflects Global Faith by Mark Noll  [e, p, s]

I am surprised by the lack of press for this book.  Noll examines the history of Christianity in America and draws parallels in key growth areas (Southern hemisphere and the East).  Noll is actually rather positive amid the torrent of bad press on what American Christians are exporting.  This is an important work because we are good to be reminded that American evangelicalism is not the height of church history.  Further, the church is Christ’s and she will prevail.  I think Noll has his fingers on the pulse of what is going on and what is next, we would be wise to listen to what he has to say.

8.  Understanding Fundamentalism and Evangelicalism by George Marsden  [e, p, s]

This is a must read if you seek to understand our history.  Also an important work is Revival and Revivalism by Iain Murray.

9.  Reclaiming the Center:  Confronting Evangelical Accomodation to Postmodern Times by Various Authors  [y, l, e, p, s]

Various heavyweights chime in on the necessity of remaining faithful to the preaching of the Word and to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  If you like this work, I suggest also Os Guinness’, Prophetic Untimeliness:  Challenging the Idol of Relevance.

10.  Christless Christianity by Michael Horton  [y, l, e, p, s]

This books has caused a bit of a stir.  You can read John Frame’s book review here.  I have yet to read the book, but I thought it a worthwhile mention to engage in present dialogue over the status of the Gospel in evangelicalism.  From what I gather, Horton has guys like Joel Osteen in view when he speaks of a Christianity without Christ.

11.  Young, Restless, and Reformed by Colin Hansen  [y, l, e, p, s]

This book is an important first look at the growing demographic of young Reformed folk.  This is an area that needs further analysis and hopefully a good work will come soon.

12.  Respectable Sins:  Confronting the Sins We Tolerate by Jerry Bridges  [y, l, e, p, s]

Bridges is 100% right when he highlights several sins that evangelicals strangely tolerate:  gossip, anger, pride, jealousy, anxiety, and selfishness to name a few.

13.  Why Johnny Can’t Preach:  The Media Have Shaped the Messengers by T. David Gordon  [e, p, s]

Gordon applies Marshall McLuhan’s keen insights to shed light on the dearth of serious bible teaching in evangelicalism.

14.  Confessions of a Reformission Rev by Mark Driscoll  [y, l, e, p, s]

I think Mark Driscoll is a very important voice in evangelicalism, moreso than many of my fellow Reformed brethren.  This book is a humorous yet insightful look into the story of the planting of Mars Hill Church in Seattle.  There are many lessons weaved into the narrative that are wise and memorable.

15.  Why We’re Not Emergent:  From Two Guys That Should Be and Why We Love the Church:  In Praise of Institutions and Organized Religion by Kevin DeYoung and Ted Kluck  [y, l, e, p, s]

The first book is a solid book on the emergent church.  I also wanted to end this list with on a positive note with Why We Love the Church.  Many times we can get so bogged down in self-criticism that we forget to praise God for all the truly good things he is doing in and through the church in America.

What we need is always adherence to the same three things:  orthodoxy, orthopathos, and orthopraxis.

(c=children; y=young adult; l=lay leader; e=elder; p=pastor; s=scholar)

Top 5 Books on Worldview

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Total Truth by Nancy Pearcey

1.  Total Truth by Nancy Pearcey  [y, l, e, p, s]

Again, excellent book on worldview that I have commended here numerous times.  Get it and read it.

2.  Francis Schaeffer Trilogy by Francis Schaeffer  [y, l, e, p, s]

In The God Who Is There, Escape from Reason, and He Is There and He Is Not Silent, Schaeffer dissects modernity and modern culture, exposing its corrupt roots and highlighting its end consequences.

3.  Universe Next Door by James Sire  [y, l, e, p, s]

Great worldview introduction.  Sire’s Naming the Elephant and Habits of the Mind are also really good.

4.  Intellectuals by Paul Johnson  [l, e, p, s]

See previous write-up here.

5.  Gnostic Empire Strikes Back by Peter Jones  [y, l, e, p, s]

Jones does a good job helping us understand some recent worldviews are really just rehashed Gnosticism.

Honorable Mention:  No Place for Truth by David Wells  [l, e, p, s]
Wells dissects evangelicalism’s roots in modernity in this devastating critique.

(c=children; y=young adult; l=lay leader; e=elder; p=pastor; s=scholar)

Mark Driscoll Worldview Vignettes

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Mark Driscoll has some nice little worldview vignettes.  They are worth watching if you have 15 minutes:

Atheism:  Unyielding Despair

Deism: There is No Hero Coming

Pantheism-Panentheism:  New Spirituality/Old Lies

Theism:  We are Good and Have Great Hats

Christianity:  How Jesus is Different

Written by Michael Graham

November 18, 2009 at 5:15 pm

Thoughts on Evangelicalism Moving Forward, Part 1: Prolegomena

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It was the best of times, it was the worst of times...

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times,” that classic Dickens opening, is so apt in describing my experiences within the broad and oft strange group we call Evangelicalism.  For better or for worse, I have spent my entire life as an insider into the evangelical movement.  I have been to Christian Missionary Alliance churches, Southern Baptist churches, megachurches, church plants, Evangelical Free-churches, non-denominational churches, charismatic churches, house churches, Reformed Baptist churches, and Presbyterian churches (PCA).  I have known the inner-workings of the largest evangelical parachurch ministry in the world, Campus Crusade for Christ.  I have seen dinosaurs and humans together, young-earth creationism, and premillenial pretribulation rapture dispensationalism be the core curriculum at youth group.  I have heard long sermon series on demonology.  I have heard pastors go on and on about their political agenda, neglecting to feed the sheep with the Word.  I have also seen some really healthy examples where the people were well taught, well shepherded, and making a difference in their spheres of influence.  I have seen severe anti-intellectualism and I have seen people who take the life of the mind seriously.  I have heard staunchly semi-pelagian teaching and I have heard sound Reformed doctrine.  It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…

The culmination of these years of experiences lead me to a few thoughts moving forward.  We will look at several key things that I feel the evangelical movement will have to acquire or navigate.  Specifically, we will look at:  doctrine, worldview, urbanization, globality/mobility, no cultural center, contextualization, and balance.  Like anything else, evangelicalism’s goal ought always to be right belief (orthodoxy), right emotion (orthopathos), and right action (orthopraxis).

Up first we will look at the role of doctrine in evangelicalism moving forward.

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