1. Fundamentalism [no compromise on Biblical truth]
2. Conservative theology [preserve traditional doctrines]
- reaction to liberal theology
- Publication of 12-volume series (90 doctrinal statements) entitled "The Fundamentals" published in 1910-15, upholds traditional doctrines
- Machen resigned from Princeton to open Westminster Theological Seminary in 1929
- splitting of Presbyterian and Baptist churches
- Positive aspects: preserving the supernatural dimension of Christianity; defending the needed critical stance toward the theory of evolution; fostering personal fellowships of faith
- Negative aspects: extreme dispensationalism, emotionalism and anti-intellectual, isolation from the society, hostile to culture, individual pietism, rivalry in theology, emphasis on spiritual unity of the church but not organizational unity
Carnell3. Evangelicalism [spreading the good news of the changeless Bible]
- inerrancy and absolute authority of Bible in faith and practice
- deity of Christ, virginal birth, atonement, second coming
- need for rebirth and sanctification
- involved in improving the evil society besides evangelism
4. Dispensationalism [God's different treatments to different times]
- spreading the gospel which converts sinners to believers is the main task
- common commitment to Jesus Christ as the divine Saviour from sin, common purpose to fulfil the Great Commission, common acknowledgment of the abolute normativeness of the Bible
- seeks to adapt the gospel to the modern world but without any distortion to the Biblical gospel
a. Main points5. Charismatic movement [manifestation of charismatic gifts]
b. Evaluation: most doctrines well founded in the Bible but over-insistence on non-fundamental doctrines such as millennium, partition of the Bible into parts for the Jews and parts for the church, neglecting problems in the world (isolationism, or ghetto mentality), causing unnecessary division among evangelicals
- started by Darby of the Plymouth Brethren
- spread by the influential Scofield Reference Bible in the 19th. century
- insist on literal interpretation of the Bible
- OT prophecy not related to NT church, only for Jews
- History is divided into 7 periods (dispensations). During each period, God treats mankind differently and gives mankind different responsibilities and obligations. Now is the Dispensation of Grace, from the resurrection of Jesus to the millennium.
- In this period, the Laws are no longer applicable.
- The Kingdom of God is only for the future, never in this world.
- pre-tribulational secret rapture of the church
- traditionally accepted by most Chinese churches, especially the Little Flock
6. Contemporary situation [internal battles]
- affinity to radical Pietism and Christian mysticism
- began in early 20th. century with the Holiness prayer meeting at Bethel Bible College in Topeka, Kansas
- "rediscovery" of charismatic gifts in 1960, particularly speaking in tongues
- articulates the experience of baptism of the Holy Spirit
- similar development in the Roman Catholic church
- Evaluation: correcting the modern trend toward a lack of emphasis in the Holy Spirit, supernatural experience and holy living; but over-emphasis of charismatic gifts and speaking of tongues to the point of excluding other Christians
a. Separatist fundamentalists -- non-compromise attitude; separate from Christians with slightly different beliefs; absolute inerrancy of the Bible; dispensationalism; pre-millenianism; war against morally deteriorating society, such as demonstrations7. Past evangelical theologians
b. Open fundamentalists -- similar beliefs as above but non-confrontational; emphasis on education; not involved in social justice; including Moody Bible Institute, Dallas Theological Seminary, Talbot Theological Seminary
c. Established evangelicals -- concentrate on evangelism, defend historicity and authority of the Bible against liberal theology, avoid confrontations with other evangelicals, stress Christian's role in social justice; including Fuller Theological Seminary, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Asbury Theological Seminary, Billy Graham, Campus Crusade
d. New evangelicals -- same beliefs as above, emphasize new way to present Biblical truths, oppose to dispensationalism, tolerance to different schools of eschatology, some harmonization with science (such as progressive creationism), criticize Fundamentalism for its separatist attitude and non-involvement with the society
e. Catholic evangelicals -- maintain continuity with the tradition of the whole church, thus hoping for an evangelical-Catholic unity but emphasing that the Bible has priority over tradition
f. Evaluation: Evangelicalism is closest to orthodox Christianity, all groups emphasize evangelism; sometimes elevating marginal matters of faith into essentials thus resulting in unnecessary division based on differences in non-fundamental doctrines because of intolerance; intense rivalry to the point of neglecting the more dangerous enemies of modernism, heretical beliefs and cults; should learn to "agree to disagree"
a. Finney [promoting revival]8. Present evangelical theologians
b. Hodge [great systematic theologian since the Reformation]
- held numerous large revival meetings
- conversion as an act of human will, emphasis on human responsibility ("New school" Calvinism), in contrast to the prevailing teaching of passive waiting on God
- God tells us what is right and threatens us with sanctions, but the choice is ours.
- The will is totally unconditioned and random; doctrine of original sin denied.
c. Warfield [the infallible Bible]
- "Old school" Calvinism in Princeton Theological Seminary
- declaration of traditional Christian doctrines in his "Systematic Theology" based on the authority of the Bible
- Teachings of Jesus and NT confirm that the Bible is the inspired and infallible word of God.
- The Scripture writers wrote precisely what God wanted. Thus the message of the Bible is God's message and the Bible can be called God's word. But it is not in the form of dictation.
a. Stott [defender of evangelical faith and a total gospel]
b. Schaeffer [philosophical apologete]
- Christian truth centred in Christ
- absolute authority of the Bible
- defend the orthodoxy of evangelicalism
- the importance of spreading the gospel
- the use of reason in studying the Bible
- the total gospel satisfies both spiritual needs and physical needs (emphasizing social responsibility of Christians)
c. Berkouwer [the humanity of the Bible]
- proves the existence of God philosophically as a metaphysical necessity, moral necessity, epistemological necessity
- Jesus as the source of Christian life
- revolution in the church to become more fervent, greater sympathy, more family-oriented, more risk taking, more suited to the people
- 14 dogmatic studies in systematic theology
- theology not to be a logically coherent system for its own sake but must relate to the Bible and to the needs of the pulpit
- Bible is "God-breathed" but is written by man in a historical setting.
- The biblical authors do not appear to know more than their contemporaries about science. They wrote at particular times and expressed themselves in the ways of the time.
- The reliability of the Bible must be seen in terms of its purpose (2Ti 3:16-17).
d. Thielicke [preaching to the modern people]
- Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy (1978): Inspiration, though not conferring omniscience, guaranteed true and trustworthy utterance on all matters of which the biblical authors were moved to speak and write. Scripture is true and reliable in all the matters it addresses, so that Scripture in its entirety is inerrant, being free from all falsehood, fraud or deceit.
e. Bruce [evangelical exegete]
- always seeks to relate the gospel to actual situation of the modern man; but must not happen by a process of accommodation -- by pruning the gospel to make if fit a modern world-view
- warns against two extremes: those who are so determined to reinterpret the gospel for modern man that they are 'practically drowned in hermeneutical reflection', and those who shy away from the heresies that could result and go on preaching with an artificially preserved message as if we were still living in the sixteenth century.
- wishes to rescue Christian dogmas from the sphere of the otherworldly and bring the church out of the ghetto and back to the earth.
- importance of both theology and ethics, faith and practice
f. Henry [revelation as truth]
- proof to historicity, accuracy, reliability and authority of the Bible
- commentaries on numerous books of the Bible
- defence of the gospel against the world
g. Ramm [action from evangelical heritage]
- Divine relation is the source of all truth; reason is the instrument for recognizing it; Scripture is its verifying principle; logical consistency is a negative test for truth and coherence a subordinate test.
- Jesus Christ is the highest revelation
- affirms the authority of the Bible as God's revelation
- Christian ethics must be originated from God's revelation
- proposes 6 responsibilities of evangelicals: back to biblical theology, proclaiming God's salvation, renewing fellowship of the believers, encouraging personal experience of Christians, affirming the positive value of science, abandoning split among denominations
h. Chang Lit-Sang [repelling humanism]
- Bible is God inspired and must be interpreted seriously
- every believer should know what he believes and have confidence of what he believes (confirmed by the Holy Spirit and God's actions)
- 5 actions from evangelical heritage: study the Bible and spread the gospel, understand the content of evangelical theology, sensitive to the progress of mankind, learn different languages, find new ways to proclaim God to the world
i. Philip Teng [Christianity without excesses]
- Bible as the highest authority
- Christ as the centre of faith
- humanism as the source of human tragedy; humanism as illogical based on facts, morality and religion
- China to be saved by the gospel
- leader of Chinese evangelicals
- strong criticism of new morality but Christians must face the challenge of the times
- the church needs to understand the pulse of the times and should act as prophets in the world
- the church should be an existential church stressing dedication, involvement and commitment
- stresses cooperation in the form of building bridges:
j. Evaluation: all based on the authority of the Bible as the Word of God; affirm the centrality and cruciality of Christ's work of redemption; use intellect and reasoning to explain the revelation of God and to defend the gospel; emphasize the importance of Christian living; present the gospel to the world in modern terms yet not compromising the truth
- between different denominations
- between believers
- between church and supportive organizations on gospel work
- between local evangelism and overseas evangelism
- between spiritual gifts and training
1. Orthodox Christianity
a. Main doctrines that differentiate orthodoxy: authority of the Bible based on objective revelation and inerrancy, virginal birth of Jesus, deity of Jesus, death of substitutionary atonement, bodily resurrection, bodily second coming.2. Future direction
b. Other indication of modernism: disbelieve authenticity of the Bible, Pentateuch not written by Moses but much later, evolutionary theory of the Hebrew religion, most OT books written much later than commonly held, NT epistles not written by Paul, lack of truth in the gospels, believe in Darwinian social evolution.
c. Recommended textbooks for systematic theology: Charles Hodge, Louis Berkhof, Oliver Buswell, Millard Erickson, Donald Bloesch
Directions of Evangelicalism (adapted from Paul Szeto and Denny Ma):3. Coping with the confusion(1) Biblical-evangelical or Bible-oriented: believing in the inspiration of the Bible and relying on the authority of the Bible
(2) Spiritual-evangelical: need for spiritual growth
(3) Historical-evangelical: gospel as historical reality
(4) Practical-evangelical or balance-oriented: Christian witness, balance in knowledge and living
(5) Intellectual-evangelical or intellectuals-oriented: understand what we believe, encourage theological and apologetic research, support theological education
(6) Cultural-evangelical or culture-oriented: transform culture, advocate the superiority of gospel over culture
(7) Social-evangelical or welfare-oriented: relevant to society, participate in social welfare
(8) Christian literature-oriented: encourage and participate in the work of Christian literature
(9) Ecumenism-oriented: encourage cooperation between different denominations
(10) Church-oriented: participate in church activities
a. Weapon in the spiritual warefare:firm foundation in the Bible, the Word of God, the sword of the Holy Spirit (Eph 6:17)b. General principle:
IN ESSENTIALS, UNITY IN NON-ESSENTIALS, LIBERTY IN ALL, CHARITY
c. Use of this study:
- distinguish essential doctrines from non-essential ones
- making sure what is incorrect before making criticism
- learn the good points in each school of theology
- discern what is not biblical or over-stretching of truth
- will be less vulnerable (thus less attracted) to the shock of new ideas and know how to respond