Evangelical amnesia

Robert Tracy McKenzie, professor and chair of the Department of History at Wheaton College, writing in his review of Mark Noll’s From Every Tribe and Nation: A Historian’s Discovery of the Global Christian Story:

So by what path did God lead him [Noll] to a deeper, more vital faith? To quote a famous essay by C. S. Lewis, it was through “the reading of old books.” American evangelicals, like modern Americans generally, are “stranded in the present,” to quote a haunting phrase by Christian historian Margaret Bendroth. … We cut ourselves off from the vast majority of all the Christians who have ever lived, implicitly assuming that we have nothing to learn from those who have gone before us. You can see this “chronological snobbery” on display in almost any commercial Christian bookstore. The shelves will bulge with the latest hastily written book from the pulpit celebrity of the moment, but good luck finding anything dating to the first nineteen centuries of Christian history.

Danger comes with such tunnel vision. As Lewis understood, contemporary books mainly reinforce what we will already believe—including what we wrongly believe. They cast light where we already see and deepen the darkness where we are unwittingly blind. The only antidote, Lewis maintained, “is to keep the clean sea breeze of the centuries blowing through our minds, and this can be done only by reading old books.”

The Josh Alcorn suicide: thinking from a Christian worldview

In a forthright episode of the The Dividing Line that is certain to upset those who prioritize tone over truth, Dr. James R. White, director of Alpha and Omega Ministries, offers a biblical perspective on Josh Alcorn’s recent suicide. Dr. White writes:

The hatred being heaped upon his parents, the abuse the young man suffered at the hands of the LGBT “community” itself that encouraged his self-destructive thinking, and the sinfulness of Josh’ own attitudes and actions, must be examined. If Christians continue to imbibe the spirit of the age and refuse to call men to a higher standard, one based upon their true nature as creatures made by God’s hand in God’s image, we will be guilty of encouraging more and more Josh Alcorn’s, and the destruction of more lives.