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John Wilson

Stranger in a Strange Land

And last, and strangest, there had come into my mind a vague and vast impression that in some way all good was a remnant to be stored and held sacred out of some primordial ruin. Man had saved his good as Crusoe saved his goods; he had saved them from a wreck.

For this number, three items, any one of which would merit an entire column:

First, don't miss the March/April issue of Modern Reformation, which features a special section on the theme "Evangelicalismâ„¢ Who Owns It?" The entire section is worthy of attention, but I want to single out three pieces. Michael Horton's essay, "The Battles Over the Label 'Evangelical,'" which develops at greater length some of the points he made in the last issue of Books & Culture ["Who's Got the Center?", March/April], argues for "principled pluralism" as opposed to "minimalist and allegedly centrist" definitions of evangelicalism. "There are no copyright suits over who gets to use the label 'evangelical,'" Horton writes, "and conversely, free and open debates can emerge over what it means to be evangelical in faith and practice." An interview with Donald Dayton (under the rubric "Free Speech," in which Modern Reformation conducts "dialogue outside of our circles") nicely complements Horton's essay, offering what Dayton calls an "alternative historiography" of evangelicalism. And then there is Lewis Smedes's "Evangelicalism—A Fantasy," a brilliant little piece originally published in The Reformed Journal in 1980, though I read it for the first time in Modern Reformation. Smedes imagines an "evangelical College of Cardinals" convened at a Holiday Inn in Wheaton, Illinois

to discuss, in alphabetical order, this year's doubtful leaders. The discussion is somber, frank, and manifestly painful for everyone. Finally, as things must, it comes to a vote. Each ballot has one name at the top, and two squares—one labeled "Tolerated," the other "Not Tolerated." The ballots are collected and counted, and only the names of the nontolerated ...

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