Friday, August 07, 2009

Two of D. A. Carson's Forthcoming Books

Posted by Andy Naselli

D. A. Carson has at least six books scheduled to come out later this year or early next year. Here are two of them:

1. D. A. Carson. The Intolerance of Tolerance. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, forthcoming.
"Let us begin anew—remembering on both sides that civility is not a sign of weakness and sincerity is always subject to proof."
— John F. Kennedy

We live in a culture obsessed with the idea of "tolerance." Any viewpoint must be accepted—unless it rejects other viewpoints—and whoever is most earnest wins. This idea of tolerance must be thoughtfully challenged, argues D. A. Carson, both for the good of the church and for the good of the broader culture. Otherwise, poorly defined, tolerance drifts ironically toward true intolerance.

Carson examines how the definition of tolerance has changed. It now has less to do with recognizing the right of another to disagree with us, and more to do with not saying that others are wrong. It is impossible to deploy this new tolerance consistently, so that actual practice is often whimsical and arbitrary. Worse, the word "tolerance" has almost become an absolute good, and "intolerance" an absolute bad. Tolerance and intolerance have become merely rhetorical terms of approval and disapproval.

Despite many negatives about the new, often ethically silly definitions of tolerance, from a Christian perspective there have been gains as well. In fact, Carson says, the nature of the Christian revelation is such that some tension in our understanding and practice of tolerance is inevitable.

In this extremely readable volume, Carson uses anecdotes and quotes to illustrate his points and ends with practical advice on exemplifying and promoting the virtue of civil civic discourse.
Related MP3s:
  • The Intolerance of Tolerance (March 26, 2004):Part 1 | Part 2

2. D. A. Carson. Evangelicalism: What Is It and Is It Worth Keeping? Wheaton: Crossway, forthcoming.
What defines today's evangelicals? Are they people who fit an empirical, social-science profile? Have historical roots in the Reformation? Hold to certain theological priorities or fall within particular parameters? Is the term evangelical even useful anymore?

D. A. Carson responds to all of these questions and more in Evangelicalism. Carson defines and upacks the term, advocating a biblical/theological foundation that is built on the description of the gospel found in 1 Corinthians 15. First establishing that evangelicalism is Christological, biblical, historical, theological, apostolic, heraldic, and personal, he proceeds to demonstrate its continuing relevance and our need for its scripturally defined boundaries. Carson then critiques Mark Noll's book Is the Reformation Over? and draws examples from Catholic doctrine, Christian experience, and modern scholarship to illustrate that the issues at stake in the Reformation are not settled.

Carson's book will be welcomed by readers concerned about the future of evangelicalism and thinking about evangelicalism's place in today's religious forums.
Related MP3s:
Related Video: The Drifting of Evangelicalism