Friday, November 03, 2006

More from Vos Bio

Following on from my review of Letters of Geerhardus Vos , here are some more quotes from the biographical sketch. As I noted in the review, one of the best parts of the sketch is when Dennison addresses Vos’ dissatisfaction with cultural conservativism masquerading as Christianity. The last portion of the second quote is particularly sharp. By “Conservative Christianity” Dennison does not mean Christianity which is faithful to historic doctrine but a Christianity which parades its conservatism while operating according to the ways of the world. It certainly is a good warning.

“…it was the tepid, indeed vacuous, preaching that distressed him more. The gospel was crowded out from the pulpit and Sunday school in the interest of cultural relevance and contemporary moralizing.” (59, in footnote 164)

“The world he inhabited from 1881 to 1932 had been attenuated and acculturated by a ‘gospel’ that Christ and Paul and the New Testament world would not comprehend – the gospel of the self-consciousness of modern man: man, only man, nothing but man! Posturing, preening, manipulating, dominating, moneymaking, power brokering: these are the mantras that drive the influence of peddlers of contemporary Protestant orthodoxy. Such worldliness was incomprehensible to Vos; hence, he has remained incomprehensible to them. And perhaps Geerhardus Vos came to realize that what was stamped on the hearts, souls and behavior of these gurus was but another variety of that age-old depravity – tyranny. Conservative Christianity is provincial – pedantic, morose, dull – even soporific; it is Christian conservatism with very little brain, let alone heart. And perhaps that is why the brighter adolescents of that tradition grow up to become liberals. Liberalism is, at least, engaging.” (83)

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