Who is today's premier worldview thinker?

Discussion in 'Philosophy' started by Tim, Nov 25, 2011.

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  1. Tim

    Tim Puritan Board Graduate

    I just watched a bit of a sermon Francis Schaeffer preached in 1982. He would have understood our times, were he here today.

    Who succeeded him? Is there one particular and prominent individual who is speaking out across denominational lines?

    Ravi Zacharias, perhaps?

    After first asking your pastor and/or elders, to whom would you turn in order to make sense of the world today?
  2. rbcbob

    rbcbob Puritan Board Graduate

    I dunno. Maybe Al Mohler?
  3. Weston Stoler

    Weston Stoler Puritan Board Sophomore

    I like what Piper has to say. Even when I disagree with him I can never deny his sincerity and thoughtfulness on the issue.
  4. Jared

    Jared Puritan Board Freshman

    For who is replacing Schaeffer I think probably Russell Moore.

    As far as who I would go to other than my pastor, it would be John Piper. I appreciate his commentary on world events more than almost anyone else I can think of.
  5. caoclan

    caoclan Puritan Board Freshman

    Not a chance it is John Piper! Does anyone remember his praise of Rick Warren??? Other issues eliminate him as well. Mohler, James White, Michael Horton are much better.
  6. Theoretical

    Theoretical Puritan Board Professor


    Based on the extent of his willingness to directly address political issues, Mohler surely is the most prominent figure.

    However, I've really grown to appreciate Dr. Moore for being more insightful, nuanced, and willing to address really thorny issues about the church and society. For a good example of willing to tackle an ethical nightmare, look here at his Christian Ethics final exam question from a few years ago, as well as his five responses to it:

    It involves a person who comes to church as the woman Joan but who is only a woman because she had a sex change years and years ago, and was born male and was named John.

    Moore to the Point – Christian Ethics: This Year’s Dilemma

    Moore to the Point – Joan or John? My Answer: Part One

    Moore to the Point – Joan or John? My Answer: Part Two

    Moore to the Point – Joan or John? My Answer: Part Three

    Moore to the Point – Joan or John? My Answer: Part Four

    Moore to the Point – Joan or John? My Answer: Part Five
  7. jwithnell

    jwithnell Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    As far as being well known and wanting to get a coherent Christian message across, I'd have to go with RC Sproul. I'm not crazy about his apologetic, but he reaches a wide audience. Mr. Piper does get hold of young people -- he has whatever it is to get and keep their attention. But I don't know how well known he is outside the church.

    The latter is critical for reasons I'll bring up on another thread.
  8. MarieP

    MarieP Puritan Board Senior

    I would have to go with Dr. Moore too. Though Dr. Mohler is a close runner up, and I would have said him before his radio show went off the air.

    Besides, Schaeffer probably would have chosen country music over opera :bouncy:

    But is Dr. Moore is Schaeffer, then Dr. Mohler is J. Gresham Machen
  9. Ask Mr. Religion

    Ask Mr. Religion Flatly Unflappable Staff Member

    On the basics of a Christian worldview, Ken Samples does a good job.

    A World of Difference: Putting Christian Truth-Claims to the Worldview Test
    Without A Doubt: Answering the 20 Toughest Faith Questions

  10. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Puritan Board Doctor

    I'll preface this with noting that Schaeffer was basically a singular figure who can't be divorced from his context and background.

    That being said, I would say Dr. Mohler. IMO he's certainly been more effective than the man who officially is to speak to those issues for Southern Baptists. I also have long thought that he has been able to somewhat deflect criticism of his Calvinism with his work in this area which tends to be highly respected by Southern Baptists of all parties.

    Mohler's protege Dr. Moore is up and coming for sure. One thing that I don't think a lot of people realize that he used to be a Democratic Party operative prior to entering the ministry and thus is somewhat to the "left" of his constituency on certain issues that don't relate to hot button social issues. But much of that perspective does fit with some of the younger people who focus on urban ministry and social justice issues as well as some who don't personally have that strong emphasis. Moore seemed to be the one pushing the immigration resolution at this year's Southern Baptist Convention that many saw as tantamount to calling for amnesty, at least in its original form. (This goes much beyond him, but I've also noticed a tendency among "New Calvinists" to saying this and that are "Gospel Issues" and generally using the term Gospel as an adjective so often that it's likely going to end up being devoid of meaning.) I do think that his emphasis on orphans is very helpful and needed. And the man has a way with words like few others. Who has better sermon titles?

    More importantly in my view, like a lot of "worldview" thinkers, Dr. Moore is sometimes iffy when it comes to ecumenism. (Think Colson, albeit to a lesser extent in this case.) At least twice I've seen him refer to certain Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox leaders as Christians without any qualification whatsoever. That's very dangerous in my opinion. And these statements come from a man who not only rejects open communion but rejects "alien immersion" as well. A strange sort of sectarianism indeed! I've been thinking of writing on this but haven't gotten around to it because I haven't set aside the time that the issue deserves.

    Both Dr. Mohler and Dr. Moore signed the Manhattan Declaration, along with some other Reformed and Reformed leaning luminaries. It was certainly a "World View" statement. The MD clearly recognized RC and EO as being Christian in an institutional sense. It stated that RC's, EO's and evangelicals were hereby joining hands as Christians to make that declaration. (I'm thinking it must have been discussed here at the time.) Colson, who was the main force behind it, stated that it was a theological statement and not merely political. (He was another former political operative, and an infamous one at that!)

    But significantly I think, Dr. Mohler has recently admitted in print that he now thinks he made a mistake in endorsing it and that the critics like MacArthur and Sproul were correct. (It's in the recently published "Four Views on the Evangelical Spectrum.") I don't know what Dr. Moore thinks about it currently. Hopefully he'll continue in the Mohler line and will rather than going the Colson ecumenical route.

    Isn't this kind of ecumenism where Kuyper's party and church eventually foundered as well?

    Would Schaeffer have signed the Manhattan Declaration? Would his idea of co-belligerency have gone that far? Even Jerry Falwell, who was spurred into action by Schaeffer, called his organization the Moral Majority and denied that there was anything explicitly Christian about it as an organization.

    If some aren't howling already over my characterization of Dr. Moore (who I have a great deal of respect for--but I think the strongest objectors couldn't join this board) I have to say that in terms of overall impact in the particular realm contemplated in the OP, Dr. Mohler's impact may prove to be greater than Machen's, IMO. That's not to say that Mohler is Machen's equal as a scholar or theologian. It's nowhere close. (My understanding is that Machen was considered an outstanding NT scholar, a fact that often gets forgotten amidst his role in the early 20th Century controversy.) But I'm referring to his influence on the evangelical scene as a whole. He's helped to transform a large denomination whereas Machen unfortunately was thrown out and created institutions that have been more on the margins, for better or worse. Some of this has to do with various circumstances, including time and place as well as polity.

    Edit: Marie, I do think I know what you mean if you're referring to Machen's "Christianity and Liberalism." Mohler is largely standing on the shoulders of giants like Machen and Schaeffer.

    If Moore is anything, he's the "new" Carl Henry, which I trust is fairly obvious to those who are familiar with both. In addition to the emphasis on social action (i.e. "Kingdom" work) he emphasizes ecclesiology whereas the New Evangelicals neglected it. That's good, but it seems to me that it just makes the ecumenical gestures even more glaring. Good fences make good neighbors, but when one makes unequivocal statements like the one's I noted above, how is that not breaking down part of the fence? As I see it, RC and EO are behind a wall, not a fence as one as you'd have with Presbyterians.

    But go ahead and dismiss me as a fundy or one of Machen's Warrior Children, even though I'm not Presby anymore. I won't fight the characterization too strongly. :D
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2011
  11. FedByRavens

    FedByRavens Puritan Board Freshman

    Tim conway.
  12. Weston Stoler

    Weston Stoler Puritan Board Sophomore

    Joel osteen.
  13. MarieP

    MarieP Puritan Board Senior

    Yes, that's what I meant. Also, Schaeffer studied under Machen. Like you, I do see that it's not an exact parallel.
  14. jwright82

    jwright82 Puritan Board Senior

    I like Horton for the very reason that he yes is eucumenical, Aliance of Confessing Evangelicals, but also unapologeticly (no pun intended) Vantillian in the fact that he defends the Reformed faith not some "bare theism" or "mere christianity". In his contribution to this book, Amazon.com: Beyond the Bounds: Open Theism and the Undermining of Biblical Christianity (9781581344622): John Piper, Justin Taylor, Paul Kjoss Helseth: Books, he writes a chapter comparing Open Theism's theological method with The Reformed Theological Method. And that is an eucumenical book.

    I wonder, without getting off topic, is it really all that important to have cross denominational worldview thinkers? I mean we have excellant eucumenical spirit on this website but we are all Reformed. Don't get me wrong I like Moore, Scaeffer, Mohler, and the rest of them but I have learned more about defending my worldview from strictly Reformed thinkers like Frame, Edger, Oliphint, and Bahnsen. Just food for thought.
  15. Bill The Baptist

    Bill The Baptist Puritan Board Senior

    We're looking for premier apologists, not apostates. And I'm sure you were kidding.
  16. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Puritan Board Doctor

    The ecumenism to which I refer is the type that resulted in Evangelicals and Catholics Together and the type that leads to Billy Graham type crusades that cooperate with liberals and Roman Catholics. The Manhattan Declaration was basically ECT in miniature. Most of the well known "worldview" leaders signed it, including those did not or would not have signed ECT.

    The Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals is something else entirely, although it's too ecumenical (i.e. pan-Protestant or cross confessional) for some who are reluctant to cooperate on any level with those who are not of like faith and order.

    That's not to say however that no member of the Roman Catholic or Eastern Orthodox communions is not saved. The question is, are they saved because they're "good" Catholics or Orthodox, or in spite of their church's teaching? That's a distinction that too few evangelicals (including some Reformed elders that I've known) appear to be able to make these days. At other times, as in the example I noted in my initial response, too often there is a lack of clarity that is dangerous considering the constituency of young impressionable ministerial students who may not be that well grounded upon entering seminary.

    I also have serious reservations about C.S. Lewis type "Mere Christianity" in which all of the above communions are seen as "rooms" that are accessed by a common Christian "hallway." But some of the SBC worldview folks, including some Calvinistic ones, evidently embrace it.
  17. sdesocio

    sdesocio Puritan Board Freshman

    No votes for Peter Jones?
  18. jwright82

    jwright82 Puritan Board Senior

    Yeah it is a shame that that word has been highjacked by things like ECT.

    Yeah I agree. I am Reformed first and formost. I will cooporate and pray for other confessional traditions (SBC, LCMS, LCWS, Allience of Confessing Evangelicals, etc..) so long as that does not make me choose between my confessional tradition and theirs.

    I agree. I would say on one level that they are saved in spite of their church's official teachings.

    I do too. That is my concern with evangelicalism in general. What worldview am I defending? Is it the evangelical (not the Christianity Today liberal kind but a confessional version) one? What is that exactly? Or am I defending the Reformed Faith? That is what I wish to defend because I don't even know what a robust enough evangelical worldview is compared to the robust theology of the confessions represented on this website.

    I probably side with D. G. Hart here:
    Deconstructing Evangelicalism - ReformedForum.org.
  19. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Puritan Board Doctor

    An excellent point. He goes right to the top of the list, IMO.

    To broaden the horizons a bit, Jay Adams could perhaps be included as well. He emphasized the difference between the Biblical and therapeutic conceptions of man and his predicament. If I'm not mistaken, he considered his approach to be Van Tillianism applied to counseling.
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2011
  20. DMcFadden

    DMcFadden Puritan Board Doctor

    As Bill would say: "We're looking for premier apologists, not apostates. And I'm sure you were kidding." :rofl:

    When you say "worldview," that casts a pretty wide net. Philosophy? Apologetics? Cultural analysis? Popularizations? I'm not sure that the question is specific enough. Following Schaeffer suggests a popular worldview person like a Ravi, or David Noebel, both of whom have carried water for the cause. Mohler tries very hard to tackle the issues on a wide ranging basis, running the full range of cultural questions and addressing them with Biblically informed judgments.
  21. SolaScriptura

    SolaScriptura Puritanboard Softy

    I can't believe no one has listed me!
  22. kainos01

    kainos01 Puritan Board Junior

  23. Tim

    Tim Puritan Board Graduate

    Okay, how about a more specific question.

    Who is Schaeffer's successor?
  24. VictorBravo

    VictorBravo Administrator Staff Member

    Ben, I had the exact same thought, but never got around to posting it. . . .
  25. Zach

    Zach Puritan Board Junior

    Throwing around names, I do really enjoy listening to Ravi Zacharias and he certainly is influential across many denominational lines. I also have a huge amount of respect for Al Mohler. In terms of who is the successor to Schaeffer I'm not qualified to comment as I don't know much of his work. Slightly off topic, but I had someone recommend to me that I read Schaeffer. Do any of you have any recommendations of certain works of his?
  26. DMcFadden

    DMcFadden Puritan Board Doctor

    Al Mohler is more of a true scholar than Schaeffer, who billed himself as an evangelist. However, when one considers the remarkable range of topics he tackles, who does more of it than Mohler?
  27. JOwen

    JOwen Puritan Board Junior

    Carl Truman
  28. BobVigneault

    BobVigneault Bawberator

    I have to go with Al Mohler. He's the best in staying current with cultural commentary. Moore and Horton would definite finish the top tier.
  29. jwright82

    jwright82 Puritan Board Senior

    His book The God Who Is There is a really good book for his analysis of western society except his analysis of western philosophy. He incorectly acuses the philosopher Hegel of abandoning classical logic with its antithesis of true and false. If a is true than non-a is false. My dog Lady Bird is either a dog, a, or she is not a dog, non-a. Hegel simply saw that withen systems of thinking there was always an historical development taking place. So you would analysis two different thinkers withen a tradition, say Empiricism, and see what was true in one person's thinking and true in the other and synthesize them together into a new more rational perspective. This new worldview due to our finite nature would have its own problems and tensions to attempt to work out.

    And on and on this will go. So get the book for it's artistic and cultural analysis but take the philosophy part with a grain of salt. I also recomend without criticism his book Pollution and The Death of Man: A Christian View of Ecology. I'm not saying that I agree with everything he wrote there but it is still very thought provoking and something that all Christians should consider.
  30. CharlieJ

    CharlieJ Puritan Board Junior

    Easy. Nancy Pearcey. The Pearcey Report
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