Historical Isolation

“If a man is redeemed by Christ, then he is a member of [the] one Church – a Church founded in God’s decree before time existed, and by the grace of God manifested in history as long as sinful heirs of Adam have lived.

Enter the modern rootless evangelical, who, with a bemused detachment, is able to tell you only that the church he attends was founded in the late fifties by a gifted biblical expositor, an honors graduate of Bison Breath Bible College. Historically isolated from other periods of the Church, this church member’s faith is very much anchored to the present moment and his own present needs and concerns. For many modern evangelicals, this historical provincialism is perfectly acceptable to them; they enjoy life in the provinces. They have not been taught to appreciate the importance of history, and so, for them, it falls easily to the ground.

But for others, such ecclesiastical rootlessness is intolerable – and rightly intolerable. In search of roots, and not wanting to belong to any denomination that apparently has no more of a historical pedigree than the average cult, they begin to look around.”

        Douglas Wilson, Mother Kirk, p.27

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4 responses to “Historical Isolation

  1. Usher: Deak, this is brilliant. The best put down of denominationalism I’ve ever read.

    Deacon: As sweet as fresh roadkill on hot asphalt!

  2. And Doug scratches his head when his students convert to Roman Catholicism and Orthodoxy.

    I’m reminded of that line from Elliot:

    “That is not what I meant at all.
    That is not it, at all.”

  3. JPP,
    Wilson goes on in that chapter to say this:

    “So in the providence of God the steady stream of rootless American evangelicals converting to eastern Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism is not entirely a bad thing. The exodus does serve one valuable function: it reveals the theological bankruptcy of contemporary evangelicalism. The sooner mainstream evangelicalism abandons the generic and vanilla faith it has drifted into, the closer we will be to a second Reformation – which is desperately needed.

    “Of course this should not be taken as anything like approval of any form of sacerdotalism. But if a man is going to base his worship around ceremonies and traditions of human devising, then it makes far better sense, humanly speaking, to opt for traditions that were invented in the fourth century, as opposed to those traditions which were invented in Dallas in the early seventies. But of course that is a false dilemma.”

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