A response to Christianity Today’s listing of the 50 most influential books on evangelicalism:
One interesting thing about this list is that the number 3 book, C. S. Lewis’s excellent Mere Christianity,
was not written by an evangelical. If Lewis were alive today, it’s safe
to conclude that he would find little in common with the typical
evangelical in the pew. Lewis endorsed (or at least positively
explored) theological concepts such as universalism, purgatory, and a
second chance to believe in Christ after death, concepts which might
result in expulsion from some of the evangelical churches that now
claim him as their own.
This reveals an irony of
the evangelical movement. Most evangelicals are fed a constant diet of
works by popularizers such as Tim LaHaye, Hal Lindsey, James Dobson, D.
James Kennedy, Bruce Wilkerson, Frank Peretti, Rick Warren, etc. It
saddens me to find the excellent works of people such as F. F. Bruce
and Mark Noll toward the end of the list, indicating their relative
lack of influence, while finding the works of popularizers like
McDowell near the head of the list.
If nothing else,
this list should be a wake-up call for a movement that has increasingly
become more concerned about gay marriage, evolution, and The Da Vinci Code
than figuring out how to better love their neighbors, care for widows
and orphans, and announce the reconciling work of Christ. Is it any
wonder that evangelicalism’s most pressing concern often seems to be
creating a comfortable subculture replete with a smorgasbord of
entertainment alternatives, all designed to accommodate the movement’s
wholesale embrace of consumer culture?
Robert Eugene DiPaolo (other responses here)
To that I say “Ouch” and “Amen.”