Having read him over the three decades or so, have never taken him very seriously. He is an American evangelical, a Wheatonian. That, preliminarily, is righlty prejudicial to him. Too old, too Reformed, and too Anglican to pay him much mind. Back to the classics.
It's true that Yancey will not be remembered for his significant contributions to theology. But unfortunately evangelicals love the sort of stuff that Yancey writes. I'm not saying that he has not written anything helpful. But there has been a very noticable drift in his writing over the years which betrays, among other things, the influence of open theism. Now this. It would be wonderful if he appeared before the gcn event and plead for their repentence. But somehow I don't think that will happen.
This shows once again the tragic lack of accountibility within evangelicalism. It's just a big amorphous theological blob. Some of us who have followed Yancey's writing over the years have noticed certain shifts occuring. If he truly embraces open theism (which more recent writings seem to indicate) then I wish he would say so. If he is now prepared to bless the idea of homosexual behaviour among Christians (as gcn does) then he ought to say so.As a pastor, one of my responsibilities is to keep watch over God's people. That includes rebuking those who are in error. Philip Yancey has a tremendous readership. Many within my congregation read his books. Unfortunately not every reader is discerning. How else can Joel Osteen sell so many books? Anyway, when a well known evangelical errs then local church pastors MUST point it out to those who unknowingly buy their books.Speaking of pastors and elders Paul writes, "He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it.” And yet when a pastor does just what he is commanded the whinning begins. I am amazed at the sqeemishness of contemporary evangelicals. Not at all what Martin Luther had in mind when we coined the term.
I've found his works helpful in the past, but have not read him lately. Sin is Sin Phil. Jesus paid too great a price. We pay a price for our nature. Why celebrate it?
I am not so sure that the problem is with the lack of accountability. I think at this point in church history the issue is even more basic than that. It is the terms of accountability. Who defines it? Even if we narrowly define it as evangelicals (which is problematic, but for the sake of argument let's do that) we can't even agree on terms of accountability. I think postmodern thinking has even fractured much of evangelical thought and standards...so people like Yancey can speak at GCN.How big can we let our umbrella be? Rhetorical question obviously because I find that no matter how I answer that question someone will argue that it is too big...or too small.
The evangelical umbrella is more like a circus tent.
I would think it best the church respond to some of Philip's recent writings and perhaps his speech(s) from this event after their release. My suspicions of his stumbling faithfulness to truth, as God has given it, seems pretty clear from his latest article in Relevant Magazine entitled "What Good is God?"A couple quotes:- Jesus rarely offered theological "proofs"; he simply went around transforming lives.- According to the Old Testament, God did take an active and forceful role in the past, yet it failed to produce lasting faith among the Israelites...we have no sure answer and only fleeting glimpses of God's ultimate plan."Sadly, his theology is on the move.
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