benyola.net

A conversation with Richard Pratt

 

BENYOLA: And we don’t know most of the time. Euangelion, “the good report.”

PRATT: That’s right. When I was a child in the United States public school system, the covers that we put on our textbooks had on them the Lord’s Prayer and the Ten Commandments. Today, that is forbidden. So our children, by and large do not even know what the Lord’s Prayer is. They cannot tell you two of the Ten Commandments. When we have a culture that is that ignorant of biblical faith, then it’s even more incumbent upon us to be energized, to let them know what Jesus taught and what the good news of Jesus is.

BENYOLA: On the topic of enthusiasm and evangelism, the Reformed court has often been accused of being lackadaisical in our effort to spread the gospel. It’s a misconception that Calvinism is not concerned with evangelism. But how well-founded do you believe is this criticism? Are Reformed people deserving of being singled out, specifically — or is it more systemic of the entire Evangelical world?

PRATT: I would say that in the current context of the United States of America and other parts of the world for that matter people who embrace what we often call the Reformed faith are the least enthusiastic about evangelism and outreach. And that’s a terrible thing because that has not been true historically of our branch of the church.

The impetus behind what I’ve often called “The Machen Revival of Reformed Theology” in the twentieth century was to defend against liberalism, social gospel, disbelief in the Bible, rejection of the fundamentals. And that was so much a part of what Machen at Westminster Seminary in Philadelphia did in his day, that the spiritual children of Machen are still heavily committed to the intellectual dimensions of the Christian faith.

We are preoccupied with going as far as we can and as deeply as we can into sound teaching. But human beings are limited in the amount of energy they have, the amount of time they have, the amount of focus they can give to things. When you’re preoccupied with the intellectual side of Christian faith, the doctrinal side of Christian faith, refining doctrines and distinguishing ourselves from this group or that group, other things tend to fall by the wayside. One of the things that falls by the wayside is evangelism.

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