Friday, 2 October 2009


Reading a book review in a mainstream Evangelical newspaper in the UK, this came at the end....
"But, by the book’s own admission, it is not dealing with things that are essential for salvation (p.65). Ah. This is why I’m not sure about it — £12.99 and a good couple of hours reading it and it’s not going to make a scrap of difference to eternity. Hmmm."
Have evangelicals in the UK really come to this? I'm glad that the fellow's focussed on "things that are essential for salvation". But what on earth is he saying? Is he serious?
  • Christians should never spend a couple of hours on a matter that is not essential for salvation? Do you think this fellow eats, sleeps, goes to work? Presumably he never rests, reads a newspaper, plays a game with his kids....

  • Or is it just books that have to pass this test? So we should never read a book unless it's about the way of salvation? Do radio programmes have to pass this test? Or how about sermons - must every sermon be evangelistic? Do we get to talk about other topics with our kids?

  • Or are all these things allowed as long as they don't reach "a couple of hours"? One hour OK? Or 15 minutes?

  • Did the cultural mandate (Genesis 1:28-29) just expire? Since when?
I presume that this standard is just meant to apply to Christian books. I can't believe this comment got past the editor. Is a new hyper-piety abroad in the UK? Is there a new movement of anti-intellectualism at work amongst evangelicals in the UK? We refuse to read books unless they're on one subject and one subject only? I'd never seen something like this before in the circles I'm vaguely near to. I'm gob-smacked.


Jonathan Hunt said...

I note that you have refrained from identifying the paper, and the man who wrote the review, who is a minister. So I shall not trespass. I would say this - this paper's estranged sister paper has a front page article on politics this month, which is pietistic in the extreme. It seems to be in vogue at the moment.

Ned Kelly said...

Your points aside, the reviewer is guilty of the most fundamental error in logic and theology. That an issue is not fundamental for salvation cannot be said to make not a scrap of difference to eternity. We can be saved yet still be accountable for our actions and omissions, though just how that plays out is unclear. Revelation 22:12 tells “And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with me, to give to everyone according to his work”. It would seem to me that to some extent, the issues of salvation and eternity can be considered separately.