Monday, September 8, 2008

Living in Laodicea

Here are excerpts from Colin Hansen's Christianity Today Online review of the book, "Jesus Made in America"

"...if evangelicals today still regard Jesus Christ as true God from true God, fully God and fully man, they don't dwell on it. Their music, trinkets, DVDs, and movies market a Jesus who will hold you tight, model generosity, and tell you how to vote. So argues Stephen J. Nichols, research professor of Christianity and culture at Lancaster Bible College and author of Jesus Made in America: A Cultural History from the Puritans to the Passion of the Christ.

"'Today's American evangelicals may be quick to speak of their love for Jesus, even wearing their devotion on their sleeve, literally in the case of WWJD bracelets,' Nichols writes. 'But they may not be so quick to articulate an orthodox view of the object of their devotion. Their devotion is commendable, but the lack of a rigorous theology behind it means that a generation of contemporary evangelicals is living off of borrowed capital.'

"When Nichols reaches our current era, he explains how evangelicals have fallen captive to American culture. He admires the evident devotion to Jesus in much contemporary Christian music. But he shows how lyrics 'safe for the whole family' begin with sub-Christian notions of romantic love and neglect the biblical record, not to mention the rich descriptions in the Nicene and Chalcedonian Creeds.

"'Like a good boyfriend, Jesus shows up at the right moment, says the right thing and knows how to hug,' Nichols writes after surveying popular Christian radio hits. Perhaps we should not be surprised, Nichols observes with some indignation. After all, entries for Sandi Patty and Stryper in an encyclopedia of evangelicalism run longer than entries for John Perkins and John Stott."

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