Thursday, March 02, 2006

Phil Johnson on Evangelicalism Slouching Towards Rome

When I first saw the title of Mark Noll’s book, Is the Reformation Over?, I naïvely assumed that he was critiquing Protestant evangelicalism’s recent ecumenical rapprochement with the Roman Catholic Church. Of course, I was dead wrong. So when Noll asks if the Reformation is over, and he implies a positive answer, one might think Phil Johnson would have disagreed vehemently with him. After all, his seminar today was titled “Is the Reformation Over: Rethinking Evangelical Détente with Rome.”

At the end of the day, though, I’m not sure Johnson disagreed with Noll’s conclusion much at all. But don’t take that to mean that Johnson likes Noll’s thesis or the state of evangelicalism that facilitated it. To the contrary, Johnson said, “What has really failed is Protestantism, replacing Reformation doctrine it with quasi-cultural evangelicalism.” Later he said that evangelical ecumenical efforts “do not signify the triumph of Luther. They signify the complete failure of 20th century evangelicalism.”

As an interesting side note, if any fundamentalists need some motivation to pick up Noll’s book, Johnson offered it when he said that Noll is shocking in his (sympathetic) frankness in the section that exposes Billy Graham’s early relationships with the RCC. Johnson said that Noll’s documentation validates the fundamentalists’ early protestations at Graham’s politicking.

[Please note: quotes may not be precisely word-for-word since I have transcribed the oral presentation, not quoted from printed notes.]

No comments: