He was nice and funny and normal...

Error message

(Tim: from David Wegener) Regular readers will recognize the author of this post, David Wegener, as one of David's and my closest friends and longtime resident sage here at the Baylyblog. David and his wife, Terri, are missionaries under Mission to the World. David is seconded to the Theological College of Central Africa in Ndola, Zambia, where David teaches and serves as Academic Dean. David and Terri's daughter, Lizzie, has been living in our home for the past two years, bringing us constant joy.

David posted this as a comment under "Christianity Today: In numbers too big to ignore," and I thought it should to be here, on the main page.

* * *

I started reading CT in the 70s and continued to read it through the 80s and 90s. But I let my subscription lapse. Though I have access to it in my college library, I rarely read it. No point, really; everything is very predictable, especially as long as those who are in charge remain in charge.

There is a definite trend in the articles, the authors of the articles, the editorial positions taken, etc. I'm waiting for some sharp young historian of American evangelicalism to do his dissertation analyzing CT from its inception up to the present day. What would he find?

Articles: There used to be serious articles on core doctrines of the faith: progressive revelation, inerrancy, the Trinity, original sin, justification, sanctification, the Day of Judgment, hell, etc., all of them written by learned pastors and theologians.

Today, we're taken on a journey as the free lance author recounts her confusion on some topic (like fashion or global warming or endangered species) and how she decided to investigate this topic and went to a conference put on by evangelicals on her topic.

She tells us how her plane was delayed and she had trouble checking in to the conference hotel, and missed her first session, but how it was okay, cause she ran into the seminar leader in the restaurant and ate lunch with him and how he was nice and funny and normal even though a great man.

Then she details all the difficulties in coming to any firm conclusions on this topic and tells us how nuance and humility are really important and necessary, but we can be sure of this, and then out comes some platitude worthy of a 7th grader in Sunday school.

Editors: The progression of editors tells the same story. Theologians and pastors and missionaries to journalists and Christian businessmen. Carl Henry and Nelson Bell and Jim Boice to David Neff and Philip Yancey.

The latter's theological affirmations have become even less and less orthodox and more and more minimalist over the years and yet he is praised for his courage and sensitivity and winsome writing style. Where's the risk in saying just what the world is saying?

Authors: Check out the number articles written by women during each decade.

Editorial Positions: You'll see a gradual liberalizing trend and, though it's not a straight line, the trend is clear.

My guess is you would see a marked similarity between the positions taken by CT today (and in the recent past) with what the Christian Century (the magazine of mainline Protestantism) was saying in the 40s and 50s. And CT was begun to be the evangelical answer to CC.

Book Reviews: CT used to have whole issues devoted to significant books published in the last year. The range of books covered was astounding. They don't do those issues any more. No one would read them and they wouldn't be cost effective. Evangelicals don't read books, I guess, except for Rick Warren and Bruce Wilkinson and Gilbert Bilezikian, though GB is really deep.

CT is a good barometer of the health of the evangelical church and the patient is sick.

All this to say that Tim and Kamilla aren't wrong in their lack of breathless anticipation concerning this new blog. Read some of the entries and you'll see what I mean.