Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Loyalty: To Scripture or Institutions?

Kerry Allen in a portion of his talk at the Conference on the Church for God's Glory on lessons from Spurgeon and the Downgrade Controversy:
It's good to study books of the Bible—to preach them sequentially. But what I'm saying though is this: The nice thing about preaching books is you preach texts that your school wouldn't deal with . . . in some cases [knowing laughter]. When are we going to get beyond where we came from if where we came from is contrary to the Word of God?

You know, this whole issue is about the Word of God, the authority of Scripture, the inspiration of the Bible. That's what the Downgrade was about.
Allen is right. (So was Spurgeon.) The Kingdom of Christ is not coextensive with established institutions. To be sure, constituencies are complex animals, and I'm not suggesting that either fundamentalist or conservative evangelical leaders should discount theirs. Prudence is a great gift.

My point is this: If fundamentalism is at a watershed moment (I think it is), and thoughtful leaders are in a tight spot between diverse constituencies (I think they are), then it's a moment of their own making. They instilled unreserved allegiance to Scripture. They taught careful exegesis and biblical exposition. They created something of a monster. Thank God they did.

But it should come as no surprise that their progeny gravitate to those people (regardless of "camp" or "circle") who share and practice those methods and values, not people who identify with a particular group.

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