One Movement, Many Streams

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Diverse streams flow into the evangelical movement, as seen by the lineup of speakers who gathered in Minneapolis this month for the Desiring God national conference. While John Piper may be known for his thinking, Rick Warren and Francis Chan are known more for their doing. A local church has many members who constitute one body, and the evangelical movement likewise includes various leaders, networks, and voices that offer different strengths. Each group has its weaknesses, too. Healthy self-critique is appropriate, even as we fight with all we have to defend biblical theology and the primacy of the gospel in all that we believe, say, and do.

I’m joined in this wide-ranging discussion by fellow writers Owen Strachan and Justin Taylor. We identify several of these evangelical streams and even describe some of the diversity within the Reformed movement. I explore the contribution of Reformed heroes Charles Hodge and B. B. Warfield, who gifted the church with a vital theological legacy. Sadly, the institution they served and loved was lost for biblical truth in the 20th century, and few descendants of their theological opponents heeded warnings against apostasy. I’m still not sure the lessons we should learn from this tumultuous era. But we who desire to see churches glorify God by obeying his Word have the opportunity to persuade our neighbors by both the power of biblical arguments as well as the example of our grace-empowered deeds.