ical leaders? Just look at those
clowns in Question Period.
This rampant postmodern doubt
of everything and everyone leaves
only one remaining authority to
trust – ourselves.
We find a particular talk show
host to be compelling, a particular
media pundit to be impressive, this
professor to be knowledgeable, that
preacher to be inspired – so we
Our child’s school sends home a
form advising about an inoculation? Let’s see what I think about
that, and then trust my child’s
health to my own opinion, shaped
as it might be by my reading the
best of contemporary science, or
instead by listening to that former
Playboy model give her impassioned
opinion on my favourite talk show.
We have to vote in a federal
election? Will I do some research
on policies and candidates? Or
simply vote to support the leader I
somehow find most attractive?
Our church is embroiled in a
dispute over sex and sexuality?
Well, I try to attend to what comes
my way regarding the Bible’s teaching on these questions, but you
know how experts seem to disagree,
right? So doesn’t it just seem obvious that—?
What seems right to me is going to
(have to) be right for me. That’s
current Canadian thinking. And
Evangelicals are no different than
other Canadians in embracing this
new confidence in intuition, this
MEETING THE CHALLENGE
What then are Canadian Evangelicals to do to meet the complex
questions of our day with commensurate intellectual resources?
Yes, we need more Bible know-
ledge. Even though the Internet
stands ready to provide it at a key-
stroke, we have to know certain
information, and sometimes a lot
of it, to know what to look up. We
can locate Scripture verses using
electronic concordances according
to even single words, so long as we
know those key words and under-
stand what categories are relevant
to our search.
But Bible knowledge on its own
can’t help us much, of course, just
like any knowledge divorced from
proper concern, moral judgment,
relevant skill and willingness to act
We also need to know what is
actually the case in a given situation, what is worth the case and
how things can best be engaged in
In short, we need broader theo-
logical knowledge, the knowledge
that combines the Bible with the
best of what we know in other
spheres to come to a comprehen-
sive, coherent and clear interpret-
ation of the issue at hand.
That theological knowledge
then can be applied carefully to
guide us in obedient action.
Yet who has time for all that research and reflection? We are all,
even professors when it comes to
areas outside their expertise, in the
same situation of being overwhelmed.
How can we one day stand before
the Lord to say we did our best?
Let’s consider three possible interlocking initiatives toward pastors,
professors and laypeople.
1. RELIABLE PASTORS
First, we need our pastors to be
local experts. Since none of us can
think through most of the decisions
we have to make, we have to trust
someone who seems authoritative,
whether a car mechanic, counsellor or parent. And that’s perfectly
fine, so long as the people we trust
are truly expert.
Just as we generally put our trust
in our family doctors, while still
feeling free to look up medical information online and chat with our
friends about their hospital stays, so
we ought to have confidence that our
pastors are equally reliable experts.
EVANGELICALS ARE NO
DIFFERENT THAN OTHER
CANADIANS IN EMBRACING
THIS NEW CONFIDENCE
IN INTUITION, THIS NEO-