Welcome! This week we're discussing Chapter 1 of Evangelical is Not Enough by Thomas Howard. I've recorded some personal thoughts and reflections/stories on Chapter 1 in the video below. Further down you'll find background information on the author and an outline of Chapter 1. Please feel free to join the discussion/ask questions in the comment box–even if you haven't read the book. This is the only week I'll be doing a video since we'll be covering more material in the next two weeks. Enjoy!
Dr. Thomas Howard was raised in an Evangelical home. His sister is the well-known author and missionary, Elisabeth Elliot. Dr. Howard taught English for 40 years at Gordon College and then St. John's Seminary. He wrote Evangelical is Not Enough in 1984.
Chapter 1 Summary:
Dr. Howard opens the book by tracing the evangelical influences of his childhood faith. These included the Scofield Reference Bible, Campus Crusade for Christ, The Navigators, Wycliffe Bible Translators and Billy Graham among others.
A Biblical Base: the evangelicals of Howard's youth stressed "the Bible alone as the touchstone for our doctrine, piety and order." This resonates with me because, like Howard, I was raised to study and read the Scripture for myself–and to believe the Bible as the inerrant Word of God. Like Howard, I am deeply grateful for the love of God's Word that was instilled in me at an early age.
The Atonement: evangelicals have a deep reverence for the substitutionary death of Christ on the cross and an understanding that our redemption was paid for by His own blood.
The Second Coming: liberal Christians seem to think that the human condition will gradually improve until finally, world peace is achieved. Orthodox Christians, like evangelicals, say that things will probably get worse and only Christ's second coming will bring an end to all wrongs.
Judgment, Witnessing and Missions, The Will of God: evangelicals believe in a literal Hell and thus are compelled by a certain holy urgency to share the good news of Christ with any and all they meet. Even as young children, evangelicals are taught how to share their faith and pray for God to show them His will for their lives.
Behavior, Conscience & Piety: the conservative evangelical lifestyle can sometimes be distinguished by an abstinence from things like: gambling, drinking, cussing. Howard calls this "cleanliness" and admires the noble intention of promoting holiness. Again, evangelicals engage in daily Bible reading and consider it the defining practice of their faith.
Even if you haven't read the book, please feel free to join the discussion or ask questions. Next week we discuss chapters 2-5 and the following week, chapters 6-10.