More PCRT 2007
Sure enough, he really had not. In the seminar, he noted four trends that are undermining Scripture and its authority.
1) An alarming rise in Biblical illiteracy
2) A cultural plasticity
3) A theological plasticity
4) A growing cultural and philosophical antagonism to Christianity in general and "evangelicals" in particular
Of these, I would say that he emphasized the first, in no small part by putting it first. This puts a significant portion of the blame for what is happening relating to the Scriptures on the shoulders of the church. The more I have thought about it, the more I believe this is a very important point. Many have lamented the fact that Biblical exegesis is a rare jewel in our churches. We are instead ministering moral lessons, sometimes based on a Bible verse or passage. But, Dr. Carson noted, people are not being taught the Scriptures. He gave some rather startling examples of this increase in Biblical illiteracy. If the church does not take the Bible seriously, how can we expect that those outside the church will?
Of course, they will not. This is compounded by the cultural plasticity that makes it difficult to speak out on issues on which the Bible speaks. The old tolerance said, "I may detest what you have to say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it." The new tolerance says, "You don't have the right to say anyone is wrong." Therefore, for Christians to say certain behaviors are sin is no longer accepted. As a personal sidenote here (which Dr. Carson may or may not agree with; I simply do not remember him addressing this), in the past we have tended to go to far as Christians and shunned the lost who did not live as we live. The Apostle Paul says in 1 Corinthians 5:9-13 that we cannot escape associating with those outside. Jesus' model is that we should associate with them, but without participating in their sin. But I digress.
Add to these a theological plasticity, which is stressing the boundaries of what it means to be an evangelical. One key example Dr. Carson gave here was the New Perspective school (I think he also mentioned the "Open" view of God's foreknowledge). He noted that the New Perspective paints a compelling picture of the Bible's main story, but it does so leaving out some critical elements, primarily God's just wrath against sin.
During the final point about the growing antagonism, Dr. Carson stated that in many cases the dislike of self-professed evangelicals was deeper than the old dislike of "fundamentalists."
I would highly recommend this session for those who are able to purchase either the MP3 or other version from the Alliance website (once it is available). I would also recommend the others, but if you can only get one, this is it. If you could get just one more, while Dr. Carson's other sessions were good, as were Dr. Duncan's and Dr. Ryken's, I would recommend Dr. Dever's session on "The Mighty Word."
Now back to your regularly scheduled programming.