The Need for Theological Statesmanship

Let us not be swayed by who happens to champion which doctrinal position. Many new evangelicals are successful, personable, persuasive men. Many have high academic degrees. On the other hand, some stalwart defenders of the faith may have fewer degrees and, because of their refusal to compromise, may have less popular appeal in certain circles. But all this is irrelevant.

The question of importance is not: “Who are the leading proponents of New Evangelicalism, and who are the best known advocates of biblical orthodoxy?” We do not ask, “What is the majority opinion, and what the minority point of view?” We do not reflect, “Will I be more popular if I yield to the blandishments of the New Evangelicalism than if I am loyal to the Scriptures?” We do not reason, “Will I not be more successful in my Christian witness if I succumb to the compromises of the New Evangelicalism than if I obey the Word of God?”

The crucial questions instead are these: “What does the everlasting Word of the Lord have to say about any form of biblical compromise? And what does it explicitly state to be the believer’s solemn duty in the face of such compromise?”

Where the Word leads we follow, regardless of who agrees or disagrees, regardless of the numbers who compose the majority or minority point of view, and regardless of what popularity or unpopularity attends our efforts to be true and unswervingly loyal to the Word of God.

This is theological statesmanship.

Our assignment under God is to pray that we may have discernment to detect the perils of the New Evangelicalism, to recognize it as a pernicious aberration, and assiduously to avoid it (Rom. 16:17).

To the extent that the new evangelicals’ criticism of fundamentalism is valid, we must repent of our failures and determine to gird up the loins of our strength and to move out for God as never before.

We must learn to act principally, on the basis of sheer biblical principle, and to leave the results for time and eternity in the hands of God.

We must never tolerate heresy. We must contend for the faith (Jude 3) without being unkind or contentious. We must speak the truth in love, but we must continue to speak the truth! We must not minimize the distinction between biblical orthodoxy and error. We must not link up with the enemy. We must not do evil that good may come. We must not lower our theological or ethical standards.

The very fact that the new evangelicals are subjecting us to attack should drive us to our knees in humility, casting ourselves anew upon the mercy of God and yielding ourselves as never before to the blessed Holy Spirit of God. We should determine to proclaim with every ounce of our energy the pure, unadulterated, imperialistic, exclusive gospel to the ends of the earth.

— Excerpt from Dr. Woodbridge’s book The New Evangelicalism, available from the FEA.