People have more than one reason (whether they know it or not) for changing their religious commitments. Conversion is usually a multilayered process. In this series, we have examined the (1) psychological, (2) theological, and (3) sociological dimensions of conversion.
Why do Protestants convert? The answer, as we’ve seen in our posts this fall, is complicated. It cannot be reduced to simple slogans or polemical talking points, and it calls for serious self-examination among Protestants
In understanding the draw of young evangelicals toward Rome, the proper place to start is where most conversions begin: in the soul.
Twenty-four years ago, at the opening of his classic work The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind, Mark Noll acidly remarked that “the scandal of the evangelical mind is that there is not much of an evangelical mind.” Since that time, there have been plenty of signs of hope and improvement.
“The Bible, I say, the Bible only is the religion of Protestants.” So wrote English Protestant apologist William Chillingworth in 1637, but the same words might just as well have been written in 1537 or 1937.
As we celebrate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, many Protestants, whether in the pews, the pulpit, or the academy, are apt to feel a bit uncertain about just how enthusiastically they can celebrate the Protestant doctrine of the church. After all, isn’t this doctrine the weakest link in Protestant theology, as modern-day Catholic apologists charge, and insecure Protestant theologians self-flagellatingly repeat? In The Davenant Institute’s newest publication, People of the Promise: A Mere Protestant Ecclesiology, our contributors argue, on the contrary, that the Reformers’ radical re-thinking of the definition of the church is one of the Reformation’s greatest treasures. Not only is “mere Protestant” ecclesiology firmly in concert with the multifaceted biblical witness, but it is also manifestly in accord with natural reason and the lived experience of Christians throughout the ages. This volume seeks to honor the Protestant heritage and encourage Protestant Christians today by remembering, reclaiming, and critically reflecting upon the relationship between the gospel promise and the community which it calls into being. Read more…
With Protestantism celebrating her 500th birthday this year, what should be a celebration has become for many instead an occasion for worried introspection. How much life does she really have left in her? Has Protestantism run its course? Does it really have the resources to cope with the challenges that modernity—and now postmodernity—are throwing at the church? After all, aren’t the individualism and secularism that we see all around us the product of the Reformation itself, with its determination to empower individual conscience and to roll back the reach of church authority? Many have made this argument.
And certainly a look around at the landscape of American evangelicalism in particular does not inspire much confidence. The “scandal of the evangelical mind” that Mark Noll wrote about 25 years ago is still there, despite real improvement: we are still reflexively anti-intellectual, much better at marketing than scholarship, and afflicted by a seemingly unshakeable addiction to personality cults and movements more interested in advancing their own brand than in asking and answering hard questions. Read more…