Monday, September 18, 2006

Inquiring Minds Want to Know

I was perusing the program for the upcoming Evangelical Theological Society (ETS) meeting and was delighted to see that in addition to his forthcoming paper at the Rutherford House, our own Chris Ross will be presenting a paper entitled "Promoting Evangelical Faith through New Media: Lessons from the English Reformation."

Chris, any chance for a preview of your work?

1 comment:

H.C. Ross said...

Hey, John! Thanks for noticing. I'm still waiting to receive my program from ETS.

Here's the abstract I submitted:

"The reign of Elizabeth I (1558-1603) provided English Protestants with the liberty they needed to propagate the new faith on a large scale. Yet, when it came to producing spiritual guidebooks for the growing lay market, Protestants were shamefully outdone by Roman Catholics. Outlawed texts like The First Booke of the Christian Exercise, by the Jesuit Robert Persons, achieved notable fame among the English people because they were more accessible than the theological treatises and Bible commentaries Protestants were publishing. It was not until the last decade of the sixteenth century that Protestants began to write religious manuals that followed the pattern used by their Catholic rivals. A more shrewd approach to the medium of print enabled Protestant ministers to reach a much wider audience with their message, and a myriad of classics like Lewis Bayly’s The Practice of Pietie, William Gurnall’s Christian in Complete Armour and John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress followed. Today a similar set of circumstances exists, with the advent of the Internet and related technologies. In order to shepherd the church faithfully in this millennium, evangelical leaders need to exploit these new media, while avoiding the two extremes of technological preoccupation and luddite passivity."

The upshot is that profound, eternal truths must be communicated in a form laypeople can digest, otherwise they can't transform lives. Evangelicals need not look with contempt or suspicion on new forms of communication (web sites, news groups, forums, podcasts, and ... blogs), but should eagerly find ways to use these for God's glory.

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