One of the gifts that Christian scholars can give to the believing community comes from their ability to see the whole picture. Or, to use an overused metaphor, they can survey the forest so the rest of us don’t get lost among the trees.
This is exactly what the scholars in Where Shall My Wond’ring Soul Begin? do for their readers, offering a wide-ranging survey of the stream of Christian faith known as evangelicalism. The papers which make up this book were written originally for a colloquium on “Understanding Evangelicalism” celebrating the founding of an en-dowed professorship in evangelical theological studies at Harvard Divinity School.
Mark Noll, Wheaton College professor and first incumbent of the McDonald chair writes “Evangelicalism at Its Best,” which is displayed, he argues, in its classic hymns. Philosophy professor Dallas Willard contributes “Christ-Centered Piety,”suggesting that evangelical thought and practice has been responsible for much individual and social transformation. William Abraham, professor at Southern Methodist University, says evangelicalism’s commitment to Scripture is the source of the movement’s strength. Richard Mouw, president of Fuller Theological Seminary, examines evangelicalism’s growing role in defining both personal ethics and social responsibility. Other papers touch on spirituality, tradition, and trinitarian theology.
“Evangelicalism is historic Christianity. Its beliefs correspond to the central doctrines of the Christian church down the ages,” Alister McGrath argues in his book Evangelicalism & the Future of Christianity. “In its vigorous defense of the biblical foundations, theological legitimacy and spiritual relevance of these doctrines, evangelicalism has shown itself to have every right to claim to be a modern standard-bearer of historic, orthodox Christianity.” For a survey of the movement, by committed members who are committed enough to be critical, consider reading Where Shall My Wond’ring Soul Begin?
SourceEvangelicalism & the Future of Christianity by Alister McGrath (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1995) p.94.
Where Shall My Wond’ring Soul Begin?: The Landscape of Evangelical Piety and Thought edited by Mark Noll and Ronald Thiemann (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2000) pp.96.