Themelios, Volume 35, Issue 3
192 Pages

Themelios, Volume 35, Issue 3


Themelios is an international, evangelical, peer-reviewed theological journal that expounds and defends the historic Christian faith. Themelios is published three times a year online at The Gospel Coalition ( and in print by Wipf and Stock. Its primary audience is theological students and pastors, though scholars read it as well. Themelios began in 1975 and was operated by RTSF/UCCF in the UK, and it became a digital journal operated by The Gospel Coalition in 2008. The editorial team draws participants from across the globe as editors, essayists, and reviewers.
General Editor: D. A. Carson, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School
Managing Editor: Brian Tabb, Bethlehem College and Seminary
Consulting Editor: Michael J. Ovey, Oak Hill Theological College
Administrator: Andrew David Naselli, Bethlehem College and Seminary
Book Review Editors: Jerry Hwang, Singapore Bible College; Alan Thompson, Sydney Missionary & Bible College; Nathan A. Finn, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary; Hans Madueme, Covenant College; Dane Ortlund, Crossway; Jason Sexton, Golden Gate Baptist Seminary
Editorial Board:
Gerald Bray, Beeson Divinity School
Lee Gatiss, Wales Evangelical School of Theology
Paul Helseth, University of Northwestern, St. Paul
Paul House, Beeson Divinity School
Ken Magnuson, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
Jonathan Pennington, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
James Robson, Wycliffe Hall
Mark D. Thompson, Moore Theological College
Paul Williamson, Moore Theological College
Stephen Witmer, Pepperell Christian Fellowship
Robert Yarbrough, Covenant Seminary



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dEsCriPtioN hemelios IS an InTeRnaTIOnal eVangelIcal TeOlOgIcal jOuRnal TaT expOunDS anD DefenDS Te ISTORIc CRISTIan faIT. iTS pRImaRy auDIence IS TeOlOgIcal STuDenTS anD paSTORS, TOug ScOlaRS ReaD IT aS Well. iT WaS fORmeRly a pRInT jOuRnal OpeRaTeD by rtsF/UCCF In Te Uk, anD IT became a DIgITal jOuRnal OpeRaTeD by he GOSpel COalITIOn In 2008. he neW eDITORIal Team SeeKS TO pReSeRVe RepReSenTaTIOn, In bOT eSSayISTS anD ReVIeWeRS, fROm bOT SIDeS Of Te ATlanTIc.
hemeliosIS publISeD TRee TImeS a yeaR excluSIVely OnlIne aT WWW.TeGOSpelCOalITIOn.ORg. iT IS pReSenTeD In TWO fORmaTS: PdF (fOR cITIng pagInaTIOn) anD HtML (fOR gReaTeR acceSSIbIlITy, uSabIlITy, anD InfilTRaTIOn In SeaRc engIneS).hemeliosIS cOpyRIgTeD by he GOSpel COalITIOn. reaDeRS aRe fRee TO uSe IT anD cIRculaTe IT In DIgITal fORm WITOuT fuRTeR peRmISSIOn (any pRInT uSe RequIReS fuRTeR WRITTen peRmISSIOn), buT Tey muST acKnOWleDge Te SOuRce anD, Of cOuRSe, nOT cange Te cOnTenT.
Editors General Editor:d. A. CaRSOnTrinity Evangelical Divinity Scool 2065 Half Day Road Deerfield, IL, 60015, USAhemelIOS@TeGOSpelCOalITIOn.ORg
Consulting Editor:CaRl r. tRuemanWestminster heological Seminary Cestnut Hill, P. O. Box 27009 Piladelpia, PA 19118, USA
Managing Editor:CaRleS AnDeRSOnOak Hill heological College Case Side, Soutgate London, N14 4PS, UKcaRleSa@OaK
Administrator:AnDReW daVID NaSellIGrace Bible Curc 107 West Road Moore, SC 29369, USAhemelIOS@TeGOSpelCOalITIOn.ORg
Book rEviEw Editors Old TestamentdanIel sanTOS Universidade Presbiteriana Mackenzie— CPAJ Rua Maria Borba, 15 Sao Paulo, SP, Brazil 01221-040 danIel.sanTOS@TeGOSpelCOalITIOn.ORg
New TestamentAlan hOmpSOnSydney Missionary & Bible College PO Box 83 Croydon, NSW 2132, AustraliaAlan.hOmpSOn@TeGOSpelCOalITIOn.ORg
HistorY and Historical heologYNaTan A. FInnSouteastern Baptist heological Seminary P. O. Box 1889 Wake Forest, NC 27588, USANaTan.FInn@TegOSpelcOalITIOn.ORg
SYstematic heologY and BioeticsHanS MaDuemeTrinity Evangelical Divinity Scool 2065 Half Day Road; D-632 Deerfield, IL 60015, USAHanS.MaDueme@TeGOSpelCOalITIOn.ORg
Etics(buT nOT BIOeTIcS)and Pastoralia PeTeR COmOnT Magdalen Road Curc 41a Magdalen Road Oxford, OX4 1RB, UKPeTeR.COmOnT@TeGOSpelCOalITIOn.ORg
Mission and CulturedanIel sTRangeOak Hill College Case Side, Soutgate London N14 4PSdanIel.sTRange@TeGOSpelCOalITIOn.ORg
EditoriAL BoArd GeRalD BRay,Beeson Divinity Scool; olIVeR d. CRISp,University of Bristol; wIllIam kyneS,Cornerstone Evangelical Free Curc; ken MagnuSOn,he Soutern Baptist heological Seminary; JOnaTan PennIngTOn,he Soutern Baptist heological Seminary; JameS rObSOn,Wycliffe Hall; MIcael haTe,Duram University; MaRK d. hOmpSOn,Moore heological College; GaRRy wIllIamS,he Jon Owen Centre, London heological Seminary; Paul wIllIamSOn,Moore heological College; sTepen wITmeR,Pepperell Cristian Fellowsip.
ArtiCLEs ARTIcleS SOulD geneRally be abOuT 4,000 TO 7,000 WORDS (IncluDIng fOOTnOTeS) anD SOulD be SubmITTeD TO Te ManagIng EDITOR Ofhemelios, WIc IS peeR-ReVIeWeD. ARTIcleS SOulD uSe cleaR, cOncISe EnglIS, fOllOWInghe SBL Handbook of Style(eSp. fOR abbReVIaTIOnS), SupplemenTeD byhe Cicago Manual of Style. hey SOulD cOnSISTenTly uSe eITeR Uk OR UsA SpellIng anD puncTuaTIOn, anD Tey SOulD be SubmITTeD elecTROnIcally aS an emaIl aTTacmenT uSIng MIcROSOfT wORD (.DOc OR .DOcx exTenSIOnS) OR rIc texT FORmaT (.RTf exTenSIOn). specIal caRacTeRS SOulD uSe a UnIcODe fOnT.
rEviEws he bOOK ReVIeW eDITORS geneRally SelecT InDIVIDualS fOR bOOK ReVIeWS, buT pOTenTIal ReVIeWeRS may cOnTacT Tem abOuT ReVIeWIng SpecIfic bOOKS. AS paRT Of aRRangIng bOOK ReVIeWS, Te bOOK ReVIeW eDITORS WIll Supply bOOK ReVIeW guIDelIneS TO ReVIeWeRS. th Printed by Wipf and Stock Publishers, 199 W. 8 Ave., Eugene, OR 97401. ISBN:978-1-62564-952-2
hemelios35.3 (2010): 378–83
1 COnTRaRIan reflecTIOnS On inDIVIDualISm
 D. A. Carson 
D. A. Carson is researc professor of New Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity Scool in Deerfield, Illinois.
OT many VOIceS aRe RaISeD TeSe DayS In SuppORT Of InDIVIDualISm. he lefT WIll nOT elp, Of cOuRSe, fOR RuggeD InDIVIDualISm IS aSSOcIaTeD In TeIR mInDS WIT nIneTeenT-cenTuRy RObbeR hONSe lIKe hOmaS sOWell WO cOmplaIn TaT TIS pOpulaR analySIS Of Te nIneTeenT cenTuRy DOeS nOT baROnS anD OTeR gReeDy SWIne. GOODneSS SuRely lIeS In cOmmunITaRIanISm, nOT InDIVIDualISm. 2 STanD up VeRy Well TO SObeR facTS aRe nOT paID muc aTTenTIOn. if Te RIgT RejOIceS In Te InDIVIDualISm TaT OSTenSIbly caRacTeRIzeS an upTIcK In weSTeRn pRODucTIVITy anD bemOanS IncReaSIng STaTISm, IT IS SOOn TOlD TaT TOSe eaRly yeaRS WeRe faR mORe cOmmunITaRIan Tan peOple ImagIne; IT IS Te pReSenT TaT 3 IS DISTuRbIngly InDIVIDualISTIc. sOcIOlOgISTS lIKe wuTnOW anD Bella caRT OuR InDIVIDualISm, anD many 4 cOncluDe TaT GeneRaTIOn X IS paRTIculaRly InDIVIDualISTIc. inDIVIDualISm aS DebaSeD eVangelIcalISm 5 6 InTO a KInD Of SyncReTISm; SpIRITually, We neeD InSTRucTIOn On OW TO meeT Te callengeS. in a RecenT anD geneRally excellenT bOOK On eccleSIOlOgy, JOnaTan Leeman DeVOTeS nOT a feW pageS TO DenOuncIng Te InDIVIDualISm WIc, aS e SeeS IT, IS One Of Te eVIlS TaT blInDS many peOple, eSpecIally In Te weST, 7 fROm SeeIng OW ImpORTanT Te cuRc IS In Te BIble. in SORT, On all SIDeS We aRe beIng TaugT TaT InDIVIDualISm DOmInaTeS weSTeRn TOugT, anD IT IS baD. wITOuT DOubTIng TaT TeRe IS a faIR bIT Of TRuT In TeSe analySeS, i WOnDeR If a feW queSTIOnS SOulD nOT be RaISeD. ARe culTuReS WIDely RegaRDeD aS fOSTeRIng lITTle InDIVIDualISm InTRInSIcally beTTeR placeS fOR Te gOSpel TO flOuRIS? iS IT nOT Te caSe TaT TIgTly KnIT culTuReS TaT encOuRage VaRIOuS KInDS Of gROup TInK aRe OfTen leSS OSpITable TO cOnVeRSIOn anD eVangelISTIc enTeRpRISe Tan IS Te weST? heSe can VaRy quITe a lOT, Of cOuRSe. BuT many gOSpel mInISTeRS anD mISSIOnaRIeS In Japan WOulD lIKe TO
1 hIS aRTIcle IS a lIgTly eDITeD manuScRIpT Of a TalK DelIVeReD On NOVembeR 20, 2010 In ATlanTa, GeORgIa aT TetynDale HOuSebReaKfaST cOIncIDIng WIT Te annual meeTIngS Of Te inSTITuTe fOR BIblIcal reSeaRc anD sOcIeTy Of BIblIcal LITeRaTuRe. 2 see eSp. hOmaS sOWell,Intellectuals and Society(NeW YORK: BaSIc BOOKS, 2010). 3 sO BaRRy Alan saIn,he Myt of American Individualism: he Protestant Origins of American Political hougt(PRInceTOn: UnIVeRSITy PReSS, 1994). 4 E.g., GORDOn Lync,After Religion: “Generation X” and te Searc for Meaning(LOnDOn: dLt, 2002). 5  sO dennIS P. HOllIngeR,Individualism and Social Etics: An Evangelical Syncretism (Lanam: UPA, 1985). 6 rIcaRD rIce, “he Callenge Of spIRITual inDIVIDualISm (anD HOW TO MeeT iT),”AUSS43 (2005): 113–31. 7 JOnaTan Leeman,he Curc and te Surprising Offense of God’s Love: Reintroducing te Doctrines of Curc Membersip and Discipline(iX MaRKS; weaTOn: CROSSWay, 2010).
InjecT a lITTlemoreInDIVIDualISm InTO Te peOple WOm Tey SeRVe. A TIgTly ORDeReD SOcIeTy lIKe sauDI ARabIa IS pReTTy aRD TO bReaK InTO. YeS, i KnOW, Te ISSue TeRe IS nOT SImply culTuRal cOeSIOn buT Te acTIVe MuSlIm OppOSITIOn TO all TIngS CRISTIan. BuT a VeRy Open cOunTRy lIKe AuSTRalIa, In WIc Te “cuT DOWn Te Tall pOppy SynDROme” flOuRISeS, allOWS plenTy Of fReeDOm fOR gOSpel mInISTRy buT Really DISlIKeS InDIVIDualS WO STanD OuT TOO STROngly—anD IT TOO IS nOT VeRy OSpITable TO Te gOSpel. iSn’T sometingTO be SaID In faVOR Of InDIVIDualISm? HeRe aT Ome, i WOnDeR WeTeR InDIVIDualISm IS In RealITy aS Igly pRIzeD aS SOme TInK. one cOulD maKe a caSe TaT many peOple WanT TO belOng TOsometing—TO Te fiRST gROup TaT manageS TO puRcaSe an IPOne, TO Te “emeRgIng” cROWD OR TO TOSe WO WanT lITTle TO DO WIT Tem, TO Te gReaT cOmpany TaT can DIScuSS baSeball OR cRIcKeT OR Ice OcKey, TO TOSe WO aRe up-TO-DaTe In faSIOn SenSe, TO TOSe WO aRe SuITably gReen OR TOSe WO aRe SuSpIcIOuS Of Te gReen mOVemenT, TO VaRIOuS gROupS Of “fRIenDS” On FacebOOK, TO TOSe WO TWeeT, anD SO On. if yOu Say TaT mOST Of TeSe gROupS DO nOT fOSTeR Deep RelaTIOnSIpS, i Sall agRee WIT yOu—buT Ten Te pROblem lIeS In Te DOmaIn Of SallOW RelaTIOnSIpS Of many KInDS, RaTeR Tan In InDIVIDualISm peR Se. MeanWIle In pOlITIcS, buSIneSS, anD eVen RelIgIOn, many VOIceS call fOR leaDeRS WO can buIlD VaRIOuS KInDS Of cOeSIVe mOVemenTS OR InSTITuTIOnS, nOT DeVelOp InDIVIDualS. dO nOT many Of uS bemOan Te maSSIVe culTuRal pReSSuReS TOWaRD VaRIOuS KInDS Of pOlITIcal cORRecTneSS? By anD laRge, InDIVIDualISm DOeS nOT Seem STROng enOug TO laug Off Te SIllIeST Of TeSe SIRen callS TO cOnfORmITy. on mOST unIVeRSITy campuSeS, i cOulD DeVOuTly WIS fOR a lITTle mORe InDIVIDualISm. wen We TuRn TO Te BIble, We finD mORe balance On TeSe maTTeRS Tan We finD In Te enDleSS unqualIfieD cOnDemnaTIOnS Of InDIVIDualISm In Te weST. on Te One anD, Of cOuRSe, TeRe IS plenTy Of maTeRIal TaT unDeRScOReS Te ImpORTance Of Te cuRc, Te cOmmunITy Of Te neW cOVenanT. he many “One anOTeR” paSSageS (lOVe One anOTeR, fORgIVe One anOTeR, beaR WIT One anOTeR, anD SO On) neceSSaRIly cOnjuRe up Te SupReme ImpORTance Of RelaTIOnSIpS, many Of Tem RecIpROcal. if Te WORlD KnOWS TaT We aRe JeSuS’ DIScIpleS becauSe We lOVe One anOTeR, Ten Te DemanDS Of WORlD mISSIOn aRe beST SeRVeD WeRe We aRe WORKIng aRD aT muTual CRISTIan lOVe. he bODy meTapOR In Paul funcTIOnS In TWO RaTeR DIffeRenT WayS, buT One Of TOSe WayS empaSIzeS Te InTeRDepenDence Of Te VaRIOuS paRTS Of Te bODy (eSp. 1 COR 12). one Of Te ImageS Of Te cOnSummaTeD glORy STIll TO cOme IS Of a cITy, Te neW JeRuSalem—anD TaT IS asocialVISIOn, nOT a VISIOn Of a RuRal uT In a gReen Valley nIcely RemOVeD fROm pRyIng neIgbORS. of cOuRSe, Te SymbOl-laDen Value Of Te neW JeRuSalem TuRnS On Te facT TaT IT IS Te cITy Of Te gReaT kIng, a cITy buIlT lIKe a cube SO TaT IT aS becOme Te MOST HOly Place, WIT fOunDaTIOnS anD gaTeS numbeRIng TWelVe TO RemInD uS Of Te lInKS TO TWelVe TRIbeS anD TWelVe apOSTleS, anD mORe Of Te Same. YeT Te VISIOn Of a cITy IS buIlT InTO Te ApOcalypSe aT mulTIple leVelS. MORe Tan One auTOR nOTeS TaT Te enTIRe bOOK cOulD be labeleD “A tale Of tWO CITIeS”: One belOngS TO BabylOn OR TO Te neW JeRuSalem, bOT VISIOnS SOcIal. we SIn TOgeTeR OR We aRe RIgTeOuS TOgeTeR, fOR bOT SIn anD RIgTeOuSneSS aRe eaVIly TIeD TO RelaTIOnSIpS. CeRTaInly We uRgenTly neeD TO RecapTuRe Te ImpORTance Of Te cuRc In Te gOSpel plan Of GOD: eRe JOnaTan Leeman maKeS many ImpORTanT cOnTRIbuTIOnS. on Te OTeR anD, Te BIble applauDS Te DeeDS nOT Only Of many InDIVIDualS, buT Of a ceRTaIn KInD Of InDIVIDualISm. he TWO SpIeS WO STanD OuT agaInST Te OpInIOn Of Te cROWD, Te Caleb WO cRIeS, “GIVe me TIS mOunTaIn,” Te eROIc STanceS Of lOnely pROpeTS WO pOSITIOn TemSelVeS aTWaRT TeIR OWn DecayIng culTuReS, all SpeaK Of GOD’S uSe Of InDIVIDualS WO lIVe TeIR lIVeS WIT GOD alOne aS TeIR SIelD. FOR all TaT JeSuS IS SOmeTImeS mObbeD by cROWDS anD DeVOTeD TO TRaInIng IS OWn DIScIpleS, TeRe IS a uman alOneneSS TO Im TaT cuTS agaInST Te gRaIn Of SOcIal cOnfORmITy. if e IS nOT alOne,
IT IS, aS e SayS, TaT “[T]e FaTeR aS nOT lefT me alOne.” He ImSelf InSISTS TaT TOSe WO fOllOW Im muST “aTe” TeIR mOTeR anD faTeR—an unambIguOuS DemanD TaT eVen famIly TIeS cannOT be allOWeD pReceDence OVeR allegIance TO Te KIngDOm anD Te KIng. he gReaT apOSTle Of Te cuRc, Paul, KnOWS WaT IT IS TO SuffeR RejecTIOn by SOme Of Te cuRceS e elpeD TO fOunD, buT TIS DID nOT DeTeR Im fROm gOSpel lOyalTy, eVen If IT meanT cOnfROnTIng anOTeR apOSTle agaInST Te pReVaIlIng WInDS In Te cuRc e WaS Ten SeRVIng (Gal 2:11–14). BOT Wen cuRceS pReSS On TOWaRD faITfulneSS anD Wen Tey DRIfT TOWaRD leTaRgy OR STubbORnly puRSue WIcKeDneSS anD IDOlaTRy, Te exalTeD CRIST callengeSindividuals WITIn Suc cuRceS TO be “OVeRcOmeRS,” TO be faITful (reV 2–3). weRe WOulD Te cuRc be TODay WITOuT ITS GOD-gIVen gIfTS Of ATanaSIuS anD LuTeR? YeT Wen i ReflecT On TIS cOmplIcaTeD aRRay Of eVIDence pOInTIng In DIVeRgenT DIRecTIOnS, fOuR ReflecTIOnS cOme TO mInD. First, i begIn TO SuSpecT TaT Te pROblem lIeS In ReSTIng SO muc WeIgT On Tecategory Of InDIVIDualISm. he SaD facT IS TaT We uman beIngS WIll cORRupT anyTIng anD eVeRyTIng We TOuc, IncluDIngbotInDIVIDualISmandcOmmunITaRIanISm/cOllecTIVISm. tO faSTen all Te negaTIVe aSSOcIaTIOnS On One pOle OR Te OTeR IS fRanKly naIVe, bIblIcally anD ISTORIcally SORT-SIgTeD. CleaRly an empaSIS On InDIVIDualISmcanbe Of Te VeRy eSSence Of SIn: TO InSIST On DOIng TIngSmyWay IS TO De-TROne GOD, TO Sape mySelf InTO a TWISTeD IDOl; equally cleaRly, an empaSIS On cOmmunITaRIanISmcanalsobe Of Te VeRy eSSence Of SIn, aS We buIlD a Babel anD call IT pROgReSS. CleaRly an InDIVIDualISm TaT IS SOlD OuT TO CRISTcanbe Of Te VeRy eSSence Of gODly Self-SacRIfice anD faITful SeRVIce TO Te gOSpel; equally cleaRly, an empaSIS On cOmmunITaRIanISm TaT DemOnSTRaTeS Te InTRa-tRInITaRIan lOVe Of GOD WITIn Te lIfe Of GOD’S blOOD-bOugT peOplecan also be Of Te VeRy eSSence Of faITful CRISTIan exISTence (JOn 17), ReflecTIng GOD ImSelf In TIS lOVeleSS WORlD. he funDamenTal ISSue IS nOT Te pRIORITy Of Te InDIVIDual OVeR agaInST Te cOmmunITy, OR Te ReVeRSe. he funDamenTal ISSue IS WeTeR InDIVIDualS anD cOmmunITIeS lIVe TeIR lIVeS In TIS bROKen WORlD, by Te gRace Of Te gOSpel, In jOyful SubmISSIOn TO OuR MaKeR, reDeemeR, pROVIDenTIal ruleR, anD cOmIng JuDge. tO DISplace TIS baSIc TeOlOgIcal analySIS by TuRnIng InDIVIDualISm InTO Te pRImaRy bOgeyman—OR, In SOme culTuReS, by eleVaTIng InDIVIDualISm aS In ITSelf a eROIc gOOD—IS TO lOSe SIgT Of Te GODWaRD DImenSIOn TaT muST DeTeRmIne CRISTIan unDeRSTanDIng Of WaT IS funDamenTally RIgT anD WROng. Second, anOTeR Way Of geTTIng aT Te Same TIng IS TO DISTInguIS InDIVIDualISm fROm SelfiSm. in 8 IS bOOKhe Real American Dream: A Meditation on Hope, AnDReW delbancO OuTlIneS Te SpIRITual ISTORy Of Te UnITeD sTaTeS In TRee caTegORIeS: (1) “GOD,” WIc In IS analySIS RunS fROm PuRITan NeW EnglanD TO Te RISe Of DemOcRacy, a peRIOD DuRIng WIc many men anD WOmen KepT In VIeW Te VaSTneSS Of GOD’S glORy; (2) “NaTIOn,” RunnIng fROm Te RISe Of DemOcRacy unTIl Te GReaT sOcIeTy VISIOnS OpeRaTIng afTeR wwii, a peRIOD DuRIng WIc mORe anD mORe peOple TuRneD aWay fROm Te IDeal Of a VaST GOD anD ancOReD TeIR OpeS anD aSpIRaTIOnS In a gReaT naTIOn; anD (3) “self,” RunnIng fROm Te GReaT sOcIeTy TO Te pReSenT TIme, a peRIOD In WIc SO many aVe lOST bOT Te VISIOn Of a VaST GOD anD Te VISIOn Of a gReaT naTIOn, Suc TaT all TeIR OpeS naRROW DOWn TO Te peTTy ORIzOn Of self, a gOal TaT IS VanISIngly Small anD Incapable Of SuSTaInIng AmeRIca’S cOmmunal lIfe. i SuSpecT a SImIlaR analySIS cOulD be OffeReD Of Te UnITeD kIngDOm, STReTceD OVeR a SlIgTly DIffeRenT TIme Scale, WIT Te SecOnD caTegORy, Te GReaT sOcIeTy, DISplaceD by Te BRITIS EmpIRe. LIKe all Suc analySeS, Of cOuRSe, TIS One, eVen WIle IT IS cOnVIncIng On numeROuS fROnTS, IS a bIT TOO neaT. vaRIOuS fORmS Of SelfiSm can appIly, OR mISeRably, cO-exIST WIT bROaDeR VISIOnS: eVen In Te
8 CambRIDge, MA: HaRVaRD UnIVeRSITy PReSS, 2000.
SaDOW Of sInaI Te SOnS Of kORa may luST fOR MOSeS’ ROle, anD eVen WIle JeSuS IS eaDIng TO Te cROSS IS DIScIpleS may Squabble OVeR WO WIll SIT On IS RIgT anD OR IS lefT In Te KIngDOm. EVen If IT IS TRue TaT muc Of cOnTempORaRy weSTeRn culTuRe IS cuRRenTly Self-abSORbeD, WIT feW gOalS OTeR Tan peRSOnal pOWeR, peRSOnal WealT, anD peRSOnal pleaSuRe, Te facT RemaInS TaT Suc gOalS WeRe nOT exacTly unKnOWn unDeR Te BRITIS EmpIRe. COnVeRSely, In Te age Of self, Suc gOalS may be RepuDIaTeD by SOme ORDInaRy peOple TODay, many Of Tem CRISTIanS, WO WanT TO maKe TeIR lIVeS cOunT fOR SOmeTIng Of mORe TRanScenDenTal SIgnIficance Tan eDOnISm. BuT Te laRgeR pROblem WIT TIS analySIS IS TWOfOlD: (a) selfiSm IS nOT neceSSaRIly Te Same aS InDIVIDualISm, eVen TOug Te laTTeR IS fRequenTly TaRReD WIT Te bRuS Of Te fORmeR. selfiSm SOunDS InTRInSIcally SelfiS; InDIVIDualISm may OR may nOT be SelfiS. (b) in paRTIculaR, Te SelfiSm Of Te delbancO analySIS fRequenTly IDeS ITSelf by pReTenDIng IT fOSTeRS RuggeD InDIVIDualISm, WeReaS In facT IT InDuceS a eRD menTalITy TaT aS muc mORe In cOmmOn WIT a SORT Of SOcIally encOuRageD cOmmunITaRIanISm. BefORe cIgaReTTe aDVeRTISIng WaS all buT banneD, Te Image Of Te MaRlbORO Man—TOug, lOne, TanneD, fiT, unKIS cOWbOy—appealeD TO all Te STeReOTypeS Of Te AmeRIcan IDeal Of RuggeD InDIVIDualISm, anD MaRlbORO SOlD mIllIOnS Of cIgaReTTeS TO all TOSe WOulD-be unKS anKeRIng TO cOnfORm TO Te IDeal. CaR manufacTuReRS paRaDe TeIR pRODucTS by TRyIng TO cOnVInce yOu TaT TeIR VeIcle WIll bRIng OuT Te Real yOu—anD Of cOuRSe Te caRS In queSTIOn aRe maSS pRODuceD. in OTeR WORDS, Te empaSIS On Self-fulfillmenT In aDVeRTISIng OfTen playS TO RuggeD InDIVIDualISm TaT aS a SORT Of IcOnIc appeal, eVen WIle Te bRuTe facT IS TaT TIS IS an appeal TO Te maSSeS TO cOnfORm TO a myTIcal, cOmmunITy-SaReD cOnSTRucT. in SORT, We neeD TO Re-TInK Te lInK beTWeen InDIVIDualISm anD SelfiSm. UnleSS yOuR name IS Ayn ranD, SelfiSm IS unlIKely TO be a gOOD TIng; InDIVIDualISm may OR may nOT be a gOOD TIng. hirdWe neeD TO ReflecT a lITTle mORe On Te beaRIng Of TRuT On OuR TOpIc. BegIn WIT an eSSay, 9 by PIl MyleS, “of tRuT, tOleRance anD tyRanny.” MIleS begInS by OuTlInIng One Of Te cenTRal myTS Of OuR TIme. AccORDIng TO TIS myT, a SOcIeTy IS lIKely TO be mOST TOleRanT If IT OlDS TO flexIble, nOn-DOgmaTIc, eVen mulTIValenT nOTIOnS Of TRuT; cOnVeRSely, a SOcIeTy IS lIKely TO be mOSTinTOleRanT WeRe IT OlDS TO abSOluTe TRuTS, TRuTS TaT aRe InflexIble, unbenDIng. in OTeR WORDS, TyRanny anD TOleRance finD TemSelVeS In a peRennIal baTTle, anD WIc pOle TRIumpS IS laRgely TIeD TO Te cOncepTIOn Of TRuT TaT We SuSTaIn. BuT DOeS TIS myT capTuRe RealITy? iS Te myT TRue? MIleS SeTS fORT IS TeSIS:
he RealITy Of Te SITuaTIOn IS juST Teopposite Of WaT We aVe been leD TO belIeVe. PuT SImply, TyRanny IS nOT Te IneVITable OuTcOme Of an abSOluTIST VIeW Of TRuT, buT IS, RaTeR, Te DIRecT pRODucT Ofrelativism. LIKeWISe, TOleRance aRISeS nOT fROm RelaTIVISm 10 buT fROm Te VeRy TIng TaT OuR SOcIeTy anaTemaTIzeS—Te belIef In abSOluTeS.
iT WOulD TaKe TOO lOng TO lay OuT Te DeTaIlS Of MIleS’S aRgumenT. suffice IT TO Say TaT e OlDS TaT many Of OuR caTegORIeS fOR TInKIng abOuT TeSe TIngS aRe InappROpRIaTe. in paRT, e aRgueS by caSe STuDy. He begInS WIT Japan, a cOunTRy WeRe e lIVeD fOR many yeaRS. in mOST weSTeRn culTuReS, We lIVe In Te SaDOW Of Te EnlIgTenmenT, WIc TaugT uS TO claSSIfy OuR expeRIence InTO TWO caTegORIeS: Te One, full Of nOn-abSOluTeS, IS caRacTeRIzeD by emOTIOn, aeSTeTIcS, Te aRTS; Te OTeR IS caRacTeRIzeD by abSOluTeS, ObjecTIVITy, ScIence, lOgIcal TOugT, anD TRuT. heSe TWO caTegORIeS aRe muTually excluSIVe.
9 kategoria22 (2001): 7–27. 10 ibID., 8.
he SecOnD caTegORy IS Te DOmaIn Of bOT TyRanny anD ObjecTIVe TRuT. By cOnTRaST, Japan bRIngS Te TWO caTegORIeS TOgeTeR In WayS TaT WOulD be juDgeD IncOmpaTIble In mOST Of Te weSTeRn WORlD: On Te One anD, aIKu pOeTRy anD DelIcaTe paInTIngS Of encanTIng ceRRy blOSSOmS, anD On Te OTeR, RuTleSS buSIneSS cORpORaTIOnS anD pOlITIcal macInaTIOnS. he facT TaT TeSe TWO caTegORIeS cO-exIST anD InTeRpeneTRaTe eac OTeR In Japan IS paRT Of WaT maKeS Japan Seem SO “mySTeRIOuS” TO Te weSTeRn ObSeRVeR. in RealITy, MIleS aRgueS, WaT IS OfTen calleD Te “IROn TRIangle”—“Te TRIaD Of elecTeD gOVeRnmenT, bIg buSIneSS anD Te buReaucRacy”—exeRTS enORmOuS pOWeR In a fRanKly OppReSSIVe manneR. “heRe IS nO neeD TO pIcTuRe TIS In TeRmS Of DIcTaTORS anD jacK-bOOTS. hIngS aRe DOne a lOT mORe SubTly In Japan, buT Te SalIenT facT IS TaT TOSe WO OlD pOWeR uSe IT TO cOnTROl Te lIVeS Of TOSe 11 beneaT Tem.” heRe IS lITTle TRaDITIOn Of elecTeD OfficIalS beIng “SeRVanTS Of Te peOple”; In facT, Te peOple exIST TO SeRVe Te STaTe anD culTuRe, nOT TO menTIOn Te cOmpany TO WIc a peRSOn belOngS. in JapaneSe culTuRe, TeRe IS lITTle nOTIOn Of “RIgT” anD “WROng” In abSOluTe TeRmS; IT IS Well KnOWn TaT TeRe IS nO JapaneSe WORD fOR “SIn.” in TIS SenSe, JapaneSe SOcIeTy IS RelaTIVISITIc—I.e., WaT IS “RIgT” DepenDS On Te SITuaTIOn In WIc yOu finD yOuRSelf, DeTeRmIneD by Te SOcIal expecTaTIOnS Of yOuR pOSITIOn In Te pOWeR STRucTuRe. MIleS WRITeS,
JapaneSe aRe VeRy aDepT aT aSSeSSIng WaT IS RequIReD In a SITuaTIOn anD acTIng accORDIngly. hIS IS OfTen mISunDeRSTOOD by weSTeRneRS aS DuplIcITy, buT IT IS SImply Te Way lIfe muST be lIVeD WeRe all IS RelaTIVe. tRuT ITSelf becOmeS meRely a SOcIal cOnSTRucT. if eVeRybODy belIeVeS SOmeTIng TO be TRue, OR If Te pOWeRS TaT be Say TaT IT IS, Ten fOR Te pRacTIcal puRpOSeS Of DaIly lIfe, IT IS TRue. AS Te JapaneSe Say, IT’S Safe TO cROSS agaInST 12 a ReD lIgT If eVeRyOne DOeS IT TOgeTeR.
in OTeR WORDS, Japan IS a caSe STuDy In WIc a KInD Of RelaTIVISm OpenS up Te DOOR TO a KInD Of SOcIal TyRanny TaT maSSIVely DIScOunTS Te SIgnIficance Of Te InDIVIDual anD TeRefORe SquaSeS InDIVIDualISm. MIleS aRgueS TaT In TIS SORT Of culTuRe, If TeRe WeRe, Say, unambIguOuS anD ObjecTIVe mORal laW TO WIcindividualscOulD appeal, TeRe cOulD be a cRITIque Of Te unfeTTeReD DeplOymenT Of SOcIal anD pOlITIcal pOWeR. iT IS TeabsenceOf Suc ObjecTIVe STanDaRDS TaT maKe Te OppReSSIVeneSS Of Te culTuRe pOSSIble. hOug IT IS nOT paRT Of MIleS’S aRgumenT, One mIgT ObSeRVe TaT In Te TWenTIeT cenTuRy Te gReaTeST pOlITIcal cRuSIng Of InDIVIDualISm OccuRReD unDeR MaRxISm anD FaScISm. BOT DeplOyeD nOT Only bRuTe fORce buT maSSIVe pROpaganDa macIneS TO Keep peOple Safely In lIne WIT Te paRTy DOgma. tRuT WaS WaT JOSep GOebbelS (fOR InSTance) SaID IT WaS. in Te lIgT Of Suc caSe STuDIeS, One becOmeS aWaRe TaT InDIVIDualISm TaT can becOme peRSOnally TyRannIcal (eVeRyOne DOeS WaT IS RIgT In TeIR OWn eyeS) may, In TIS bROKen WORlD, alTeRnaTIVely SeRVe aS a bulWaRK STanDIng aTWaRT maSSIVe SOcIal anD pOlITIcal TyRannIeS cRyIng, “EnOug!” BuT IT IS aRD TO See Wence Te mORal fORTITuDe fOR Suc a STance WIll cOme If We SySTemIcally lOSe Te caTegORy Of ObjecTIVe TRuT. MaRTyRS aRe nOT maDe Of SpOnge. Fourt, amOng TeISTS, Te abIlITy TO WITSTanD Te age Of self anD pROmOTe a KInD Of CRISTIan cOunTeR-culTuRal InDIVIDualISm embeDDeD In a pROfOunD CRISTIan cOmmunITaRIanISm WIll DepenD, In nO Small paRT, On WaT We TInK Of GOD. AccORDIng TO BaylOR UnIVeRSITy pROfeSSORS Paul FROeSe anD CRISTOpeR BaKeR In TeIR bOOKAmerica’s Four Gods: Wat We Say about God—and Wat hat Says
11 ibID., 11. 12 ibID., 11–12.
13 about UsaRe fOuR DOmInanT pOSITIOnS. AlTOug TeIR analySIS WaS unDeRTaKen In Te UnITeD, TeRe sTaTeS, i SuSpecT TaT SImIlaR ReSulTS WOulD SOW up If Te Same analySIS WeRe puRSueD In Te Uk anD many OTeR weSTeRn naTIOnS. tO aRRIVe aT Te fOuR DIffeRenT “GODS” Tey IDenTIfy, FROeSe anD BaKeR began by aSKIng TWO queSTIOnS: (a) tO WaT exTenT DOeS GOD InTeRacT WIT Te WORlD? (b) tO WaT exTenT DOeS GOD juDge Te WORlD? “he anSWeRS TO TeSe queSTIOnS,” Tey WRITe, “pReDIcT Te SubSTance Of OuR WORlDVIeWS muc beTTeR Tan Te cOlOR Of OuR SKIn, Te SIze Of OuR banK accOunT, Te pOlITIcal paRTy We 14 belOng TO, OR WeTeR We WeaR WITe sTeTSOnS OR faDeD BIRKenSTOcKS.” once Tey aVe analyzeD TeIR DaTa, Tey SeT fORT Te fOuR cOncepTIOnS Of GOD TaT DOmInaTe Te AmeRIcan lanDScape: (1) Te auTORITaTIVe GOD, WO bOT juDgeS anD IS clOSely engageD WIT Te WORlD; (2) Te beneVOlenT GOD, WO IS engageD buT nOn-juDgmenTal; (3) Te cRITIcal GOD, WO IS juDgmenTal buT DISengageD; (4) Te DISTanT GOD, WO IS neITeR engageD nOR juDgmenTal. of cOuRSe, Te TaxOnOmy IS lImITeD, anD peRapS a TRIfle manIpulaTIVe. dOubTleSS IT IS euRISTIcally uSeful. BuT SuppOSe We RejecT TeSe “GODS” aS SaD anD DangeROuS ReDucTIOnISmS. suppOSe We ReTuRn TO Te GOD Of Te BIble, Te GOD WO IS fully auTORITaTIVe anD engageD, buT alSO cOmpaSSIOnaTe anD beneVOlenT. suppOSe We ReTuRn TO Te GOD WO juDgeS WIT peRfecT juSTIce buT WO SenDS IS sOn TO beaR OuR SInS In IS OWn bODy On Te TRee. suppOSe We TaKe OuR unDeRSTanDIng Of GOD fROm ReVealeD TRuT TaT DISRupTS OuR culTuRal pRefeRenceS. wIll We nOT finD TaT Te TRuT Of WO TIS GOD IS enableS Te CRISTIan TO SIfT Te culTuRe anD fORm a CRISTIan cOunTeR-culTuRe, a cOmmunITy Of GOD’S peOple In WIc IT IS pOSSIble TO be STROng In Te gRace Of GOD becauSe We aRe WeaK? wIll We nOT RejOIce In Te paRaDOxeS TaT lIe clOSe TO Te eaRT Of CRISTIan DIScIpleSIp? we TaKe up OuR cROSS SO aS TO be fRee; In DyIng, We lIVe; In gIVIng, We ReceIVe; Wen We aRe WeaK, We aRe STROng. NOne Of Te pReTenDeD gODS Of OuR culTuRe pRepaRe uS fOR TIS bIblIcal DISclOSuRe Of GOD. BuT Wen e capTuReS uS, e STRengTenS uS bOT InDIVIDually anD In Te cOnTexT Of OuR cuRceS TO STanD up WIT cOuRage, umIlITy, anD cOnTRITIOn anD pOInT aWay fROm Te OppReSSIVe gODS Of OuR age. in SORT, We uRgenTly anD peRennIally neeD analySeS TaT aRe leSS InDebTeD TO clIcÉD VISIOnS— WeTeR Of InDIVIDualISm OR Of anyTIng elSe—anD mORe InDebTeD TO Te wORD Of GOD, In all ITS cOmpReenSIVeneSS anD gOSpel fOcuS, Te wORD We aVe been calleD TO STuDy aT tynDale HOuSe anD aROunD Te WORlD.
13 NeW YORK: oxfORD UnIVeRSITy PReSS, 2010. 14 ibID., 10.
M i N o r i t Y r E P o r t
hemelios35.3 (2010): 384–86
teRRIble BeauTy, BeauTy, anD Te PlaIn teRRIble
 Carl Trueman 
Carl Trueman is Academic Dean, Vice President of Academic Affairs, and Pro-fessor of Historical heology and Curc History at Westminster heological Seminary in Piladelpia, Pennsylvania.
e pReSenT age TenDS TO RegaRD pOlemIcS, TeOlOgIcal cOnTROVeRSIeS, anD all-ROunD DOcTRInal fiSTI-t cuffS aS, aT beST, a neceSSaRy eVIl, aT WORST, One Of Te mOST ReVOlTIng aSpecTS Of CRISTIanITy. AfTeR all, WIle Te WIDeR culTuRe IS STIll capable Of VIcIOuS InVecTIVe agaInST RacISTS anD OmO-pObeS, IT geneRally RegaRDS DISpuTeS amOng CRISTIanS aS aKIn TO DebaTeS OVeR OW many angelS can Dance On Te eaD Of a pIn, WeRe Te paSSIOnS aROuSeD aRe InVeRSely pROpORTIOnal TO Te maTTeRS aT STaKe anD Te WOle palaVeR InDIcaTeS DeepeR pSycOlOgIcal InSecuRITIeS Of Te cOmbaTanTS. he TaSTeS Of Te WIDeR culTuRe aVe becOme, by anD laRge, Te TaSTeS Of Te cuRc; pOlemIc IS OuT Of STyle. YeT pOlemIc aS pRODuceD SOme mOmenTS Of gReaT beauTy In cuRc ISTORy, anD We SOulD nOT leT Te mODeRn culTuRal anTIpaTy TO RelIgIOuS cOnTROVeRSy blInD uS TO TaT facT. i neeD TO be SOmeWaT nuanceD eRe, leST i am mISunDeRSTOOD, anD DISTInguIS TWO KInDS Of beauTy In pOlemIc. he fiRST i call Te pOlemIcS WeRe, In Te WORDS Of YeaTS, ‘a TeRRIble beauTy IS bORn.’ YeaTS WaS WRITIng abOuT Te EaSTeR UpRISIng In dublIn anD abOuT Te Way TaT Te cauSe Of iRIS naTIOnal InDepenDence gaVe, In a mOmenT Of explOSIVe VIOlence, a TeRRIble, fRIgTenIng gRanDeuR TO men WO aD, up TO TaT pOInT, OccupIeD munDane cOmmOn-OR-gaRDen jObS. CuRc ISTORy TOO aS ITS mOmenTS WeRe ‘TeRRIble beauTy IS bORn.’ AS exampleS, One mIgT menTIOn COnSTanTInOple, 381, WeRe OVeR alf a cenTuRy Of SOmeTImeS VIOlenT ImpeRIal anD eccleSIaSTIcal cOnflIcT IS ReSOlVeD In Te cReeDal DefinITIOn Of Te tRInITy. hen TeRe IS wORmS In 1521, WeRe LuTeR, IS cOnScIence bOunD by Te WORD Of GOD, maKeS IS cOuRageOuS STanD agaInST Te maSSeD fORceS Of cuRc anD empIRe. oR One mIgT TInK Of BOnOeffeR, gOIng quIeTly TO DeaT In a GeRman pRISOn camp, aVIng RefuSeD TO cOmpROmISe IS lOyalTy TO CRIST WIT lOyalTy TO a VIcIOuS RegIme. he caSe aRe eac DIffeRenT; buT all aRe magnIficenT In TeIR OWn Way anD maDe SO by Te Defiance Of VIOlenT anTI-CRISTIan pOWeR TO WIc Tey eac TeSTIfy. My amaTeuR Rule-Of-Tumb cRITeRIOn fOR juDgIng Suc TeRRIble beauTy IS SImple: If Te eVenT IS cleaRly magnIficenT buT i WOulD nOT aVe WanTeD TO be InVOlVeD mySelf, Ten IT qualIfieS aS ‘TeRRIble beauTy.’ haT IS an almOST puRely SubjecTIVe meTRIc, buT IT SeemS TO WORK. suRe, i can aDmIRe Te faTeRS gaTeReD aT COnSTanTInOple OR Te mOnK STanDIng fOR Te gOSpel aT wORmS OR Te LuTeRan paSTOR beIng angeD fOR cOnScIence SaKe, buT i pRaISe GOD TaT IT WaS nOT me. teRRIble TeOlOgIcal beauTy IS a lITTle lIKe TeRRIble mIlITaRy beauTy: fOR example, Te baTTle Of waTeRlOO IS magnIficenT (WaT EnglIS ScOOlbOy Of Te 1980S DID nOT feel IS ceST SWell WIT pRIDe In ISTORy leSSOnS aT Te TOugT Of cRuSIng Te FRenc In Suc a DecISIVe Way?) buT WO In TeIR RIgT mInD WOulD aVe WanTeD TO figT In Te baTTle? BaTTleS, lIKe
TeOlOgIcal cOnTROVeRSIeS, aRe gReaT anD beauTIful In ReTROSpecT, Once yOu KnOW TaT yOuR SIDe WOn anD yOu manageD TO maKe IT OuT alIVe. heRe IS anOTeR KInD Of pOlemIcal beauTy, OWeVeR, anD TIS IS Of a KInD TaT yOu mIgT nOT eVen nOTIce WaS pOlemIcal unleSS IT WaS explaIneD aS Suc. sOme Of Te mOST beauTIful lIneS In cuRc ISTORy aVe been penneD pRecISely aS beauTIful, If quIeT, pOlemIc. i am TInKIng eRe SpecIfically Of Te fiRST queSTIOn anD anSWeR Of Te HeIDelbeRg CaTecISm. BefORe Te TOugT Of yeT anOTeR DOg-eaReD DOcumenT Of meRely ISTORIcal InTeReST cauSeS eyeS TO glaze OVeR, anDS TO mOVe TO mOuTS In DIScReeT STIflIng Of a yaWn, anD cOnVeRSaTIOnS TO TuRn TO Te WeaTeR, eRe IS WaT Te HeIDelbeRg caTecISm acTually SayS:
Question 1.waT IS yOuR Only cOmfORT In lIfe anD DeaT?
Answer:haT i WIT bODy anD SOul, bOT In lIfe anD DeaT, am nOT my OWn, buT belOng unTO my faITful saVIOuR JeSuS CRIST; WO, WIT IS pRecIOuS blOOD, aS fully SaTISfieD fOR all my SInS, anD DelIVeReD me fROm all Te pOWeR Of Te DeVIl; anD SO pReSeRVeS me TaT WITOuT Te WIll Of my eaVenly FaTeR, nOT a aIR can fall fROm my eaD; yea, TaT all TIngS muST be SubSeRVIenT TO my SalVaTIOn, anD TeRefORe, by IS HOly spIRIT, He alSO aSSuReS me Of eTeRnal lIfe, anD maKeS me SInceRely WIllIng anD ReaDy, encefORT, TO lIVe unTO Im.
hIS may nOT SOunD VeRy pOlemIcal; In facT, IT SeemS Really RaTeR paSTORal; buT maKe nO mISTaKe, In Te cOnTexT Of Te SIxTeenT cenTuRy, IT WaS a VeRy pOlemIcal STaTemenT. AT Te paSTORal eaRT Of Te PROTeSTanT refORmaTIOn lay Te DOcTRIne Of aSSuRance, Te IDea TaT eVeRy InDIVIDual belIeVeR cOulD KnOW—InDeeD, SOulD KnOW—TaT GOD WaS gRacIOuS TO Tem. hIS WaS cRITIcal becauSe, aS Te refORmeRS RIgTly SaW, IT lay aT Te eaRT Of Te CRISTIan lIfe, a lIfe WIc WaS TO be maRKeD nOT by WORKS DOne In a SeRVIle manneR In Te Ope Of TeReby eaRnIng GOD’S faVOuR, buT RaTeR by WORKS DOne OuT Of gRaTITuDe TO GOD fOR IS gRace, anD In a SpIRIT Of cOnfiDenT fReeDOm. MeDIeVal CaTOlIcISm WaS buIlT upOn a DIffeRenT STRaTegy, WeRe DOubT Of GOD’S InDIVIDual meRcy WaS a meanS by WIc TO Keep belIeVeRS On Te STRaIgT anD naRROW, SO TO SpeaK. wen Te HeIDelbeRg CaTecISm KIcKS Off WIT a STaTemenT abOuT aSSuRance, IT WaS alSO KIcKIng CaTOlIcISm In Te TeOlOgIcal SInS. hIS IS a SIgnIficanT DIVIDIng lIne beTWeen PROTeSTanTS anD CaTOlIcS fROm Te refORmaTIOn TO Te pReSenT Day. i am OfTen aSKeD In claSS abOuT OW PROTeSTanTS SOulD ReSpOnD TO CaTOlIc fRIenDS. My ReSpOnSe IS uSually TWO fOlD. FIRST, IT IS appROpRIaTe (anD, InDeeD, cOSTS uS nOTIng) TO acKnOWleDge Te many gOOD TIngS TaT CaTOlIcISm aS pReSeRVeD OVeR Te cenTuRIeS, nOT leaST Te DOcTRIneS Of Te tRInITy anD incaRnaTIOn. we SaRe a cOmmOn caTOlIc eRITage, anD One WIc Tey OfTen Value faR mORe Tan eVangelIcalS DO, fOR Tey TenD TO aVe a DeepeR appRecIaTIOn Of ISTORy anD Of TeIR OWn cOmpaRaTIVe IRReleVance aS InDIVIDualS In cOmpaRISOn WIT Te cuRc aS a WOle. YeT, fOR all Of TIS gReaT cReeDal TeOlOgy, TOSe WO cOnVeRT fROm PROTeSTanTISm TO CaTOlIcISm DO SacRIfice SOmeTIng cRucIal: Te jOy Of Real, eVangelIcal aSSuRance. of cOuRSe, We neeD TO unDeRSTanD TaT Te aSSuRance Of WIc Te HeIDelbeRg CaTecISm SpeaKS IS nOT Te KInD Of aSSuRance SO cOmmOn In OuR CRISTIan culTuRe TODay: Te IDea TaT GOD IS a KInD-eaRTeD, SenTImenTal cap, TaT fallen uman beIngS aRe nOT Really all TaT baD afTeR all, anD TaT aT Te enD Of Te Day eVeRyTIng WIll TuRn OuT fOR Te beST. NOT aT all. refORmaTIOn aSSuRance IS PaulIne aSSuRance: In OuRSelVeS, We aRe uTTeRly lOST anD unDeSeRVIng; buT In IS glORIOuS gRace, GOD ImSelf aS OVeRcOme Te mOunTaIn TaT WaS SIn anD, agaInST all Ope anD
expecTaTIOn, DelIVeReD uS TROug CRIST’S lIfe, DeaT, anD ReSuRRecTIOn, a DelIVeRance TaT IS maDe OuRS by gRace TROug faIT. heRe aRe SeVeRal faScInaTIng aSpecTS TO Te ReTORIc In ceRTaIn eVangelIcal quaRTeRS abOuT Te refORmaTIOn beIng OVeR. MOST ObVIOuS IS Te faIluRe Of many Of TOSe WO uSe Suc ReTORIc TO acT In accORDance WIT TeIR STaTeD cOnVIcTIOnS anD TuS ReTuRn TO rOme. PleaSe DO nOT lecTuRe me abOuT Te refORmaTIOn beIng a mISTaKe, OR abOuT all Te DIffeRenceS nOW beIng ReSOlVeD OR neglIgIble, If yOuR cuRc cOmmITmenT SeemS TO cOnTRaDIcT TIS. if yOu TRuly belIeVe Te maTTeR IS nOW DOne anD DuSTeD, aVe Te cOuRage Of yOuR cOnVIcTIOnS. he SecOnD TIng TaT faScInaTeS me IS Te geneRal faIluRe TO aDDReSS Te ISSue Of aSSuRance aS a SOuRce Of DIffeRence beTWeen PROTeSTanTS anD CaTOlIcS. iT Really DOeS nOT Seem TO maTTeR anymORe, aT leaST TO TOSe caRRyIng aROunD Te ‘refORmaTIOn = OVeR’ banneRS. sTRange, fOR IT WaS cenTRal TO Te refORmaTIOn pROTeST anD IS STIll SuRely cenTRal TO paSTORal pRacTIce TODay. huS, TO aRgue TaT Te refORmaTIOn IS OVeR IS TO aRgue TaT aSSuRance DOeS nOT maTTeR anymORe. My SuSpIcIOn IS TaT TaT IS Te caSe nOT fOR TeOlOgIcal ReaSOnS, nOT becauSe Te TWO TRaDITIOnS aVe ReSOlVeD TeIR DIffeRenceS, buT becauSe Te WOle nOTIOn Of aSSuRance, anD Te lacK TeReOf, aS becOme nOnSenSe fOR mOST CRISTIanS. AnD TaT SpeaKS Of a RelIgIOuS WORlD WeRe Te baSeS fOR lacK Of aSSuRance (Te OlIneSS Of GOD anD Te SeRIOuSneSS Of SIn) aRe nO lOngeR Of any majOR cOnSequence. if aSSuRance IS nOT an ISSue, IT IS lIKely becauSe yOu aVe a Sub-bIblIcal VIeW Of GOD’S OlIneSS anD a Sub-PaulIne VIeW Of uman SIn; anD If TIS IS Te caSe, Ten Te VanISIng DISTance beTWeen PROTeSTanTS anD CaTOlIcS SOulD nOT be a cauSe Of cOmfORT OR RejOIcIng fOR eITeR; RaTeR, IT SpeaKS Of Te SeculaRIzaTIOn anD Te WORlDlIneSS Of Te CRISTIan mInD. if pOlemIcS can aVe a TeRRIble beauTy, SOmeTImeS anTI-pOlemIcS anD peace can be juST plaIn TeRRIble.