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Book Review – Evangelicals Adrift

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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Great Writings in exchange for an online review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

About the author

Matthew E. Ferris lives in Wheaton Illinois and is active in ministry in his local church. In previous years, he has been involved in youth ministry, as well as music ministry in local churches. He and his wife have been married since 1987 and have 4 adult children.

11 thoughts on “Book Review – Evangelicals Adrift

  1. Adam

    The problem with Catholic doctrine is that it isn’t at all historical. They claim to have a connection with the church but really there is nothing there to prove it except for their own testimony and that testimony contradicts other voices like the patriarchs of the east. It’s easy to proclaim your version of history as truth when you wield the sword against anybody who dissents. How can we trust a version of history told by the ones who killed anyone who tried to say otherwise?

    • Adam I think this makes sense from a Protestant perspective. From an RC or EO perspective however, their interpretation of the facts and selection of quotes is also inspired to some degree. Therefore it is authoritative. The issue, at its core, is one of authority and as a result the two views are incompatible.

  2. Lenette

    Well as you well know I am just recently saved from the Catholic Church and this is what was told to me my whole life. Adam makes a good point. If the Church was the major political power that it was for such a long time they had the advantage of re-writing history as they please. But what I have learned form here and other places since being saved is that the biggest difference is who has authority. The Catholic Church tries hard to remove authority from scripture saying there has to be official interpretation which of course is their own. They make it seem like no one else can begin to understand so we need them to interpret. The funny thing is, I never knew there was so much agreement in Protestantism over doctrine. As it turns out, most doctrine is agreed upon and only small things are disputed. I was always misled to believe that there are as many interpretations in Protestantism as there are Protestants. But when scripture is your authority and almost all of it is agreed upon theres no more room for the Church to be the official interpreter. If I had to guess I would say that the number of things Protestant theologians don’t agree on isn’t any more than the number of things Catholic theologians don’t agree on. The difference is Protestantism has something to hang our hats on that doesn’t change with the whims of men.

    • Lenette I have enjoyed getting to know your background and watching you grow in grace over the past year. You make some good observations. There is internal disagreement in both traditions. The issue for RC and EO is the need to have an authoritative interpretation. I simply don’t see the need for that. I also agree that the authority of Scripture is a constant in our faith and it keeps unity of spirit despite a few differences in interpretation.

  3. Steve Dugas

    Ah but you forget that we are the ones who gave you the scriptures to begin with. So without the Church there would be no scripture for you to call authoritative. If the Church gave us the scripture then surely the Church is at the very least equal in authority to scripture.

    • Steve, thanks for your participation in the discussion. You know, I keep hearing this argument about the church being the one to give us scripture. I don’t understand the argument. Maybe you can clarify what you mean by “gave”. Do I understand you correctly to be saying that you believe the church gave rather than received scripture?

  4. Steve Dugas

    Well yeah. If it weren’t for the Church and her tradition you wouldn’t have anything of the sort to call your scripture. So you see you can’t have no tradition. It isn’t just scripture because even scripture needed tradition to exist. Scripture alone is impossible. That’s all I’m saying.

    • Thanks for clarifying Steve. The idea that we wouldn’t have scripture if we didn’t have tradition is an interesting view and quite different from what I understand the RC position to be. My understanding is that the Catholic church teaches that God (not tradition) is the author of scripture and that he handed the cannon down to the church. Your second point has me confused. Did anyone say that we only have scripture? I don’t believe that I nor anyone else commenting denies the existence of tradition. The book under review makes no such claim either!

  5. Steve Dugas

    You said as Protestants your only authority is scripture. I’m just saying that view cannot be sustained. Scripture has to be interpreted to mean anything and you can’t have every person in the world interpreting it their own way by their own authority. It has one meaning not 6 billion.

  6. Steve, sorry for the delayed response. I think there is a general misunderstanding of Sola scriptura. We don’t claim to have only one authority but rather, one inerrant and final authority. Obviously we have other sources of authority such as our creeds and confessions. However, they are subservient to scripture. If one finds something contrary to scripture in a confession, scripture would win out every time for a Protestant.

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