IVP - Addenda & Errata - IVP Academic 1: Evangelically Rooted, Critically Engaged

April 16, 2007

IVP Academic 1: Evangelically Rooted, Critically Engaged

In case you haven’t noticed, our IVP Academic tag line is “evangelically rooted, critically engaged.” At IVP Academic we are unabashedly rooted in evangelicalism. It’s our heritage, and we’re not ashamed to claim it. And in doing so we express our belief that evangelicalism represents a wide and global family of faith, a deeper and richer inheritance of theological perspectives, spiritual resources and social engagement than is sometimes appreciated. So it’s more than irritating when the media repeatedly and habitually runs to the televangelist du jour for the latest sound bite of evangelical opinion. But like any family, the evangelical family is a bit messy at times, with some strangely opinionated and outspoken aunts and uncles and not a few wayward sons and daughters.

So we can sympathize with those who are casting about for a different family or a change of name. But we think that New York Times columnist David Brooks had it right when he pointed to our model author, John Stott, as more properly representative of evangelicalism. Brooks characterized Stott as one known for “thoughtful allegiance” to Scripture and “a voice that is friendly, courteous and natural . . . humble and self-critical, but also confident, joyful and optimistic” (David Brooks, “Who Is John Stott.” New York Times, November 30, 2004, p. 23). We are proud of “Uncle John”!

Within our context of North American evangelicalism, we strive to be evangelical and ecumenical in both the historical and contemporary dimensions of ecumenicity. We aspire to a classically defined orthodoxy, and this leads us to resist publishing sectarian perspectives or engaging in ephemeral debates—or at least the ones we can identify as such.

This classically defined evangelical orthodoxy might be described as Great Tradition Christianity or, in Thomas C. Oden’s term, “consensual Christianity.” As classically-minded Protestant evangelicals, we believe that at its best the church’s tradition is the carefully honed, formulated and cherished consolidation of the Spirit’s progressive illumination of truth. So while retaining our prior commitment to Scripture’s authority, we are receptive of tradition and want to recover and appropriate the teaching of the church, the shape of its liturgy, the insights of its doctors and the spirituality of its saints.

We are not uncritical of the tradition, however. We believe that if we aspire to be true to it, we must also critically engage it. The tradition has had its blind spots, and where these become apparent, we need to confess our faults (errata) and mend our ways (addenda). Do we have this all worked out? No, we are very much “in process.” People will not always agree with where or how we do this. For example, we are among those who think the tradition has had shortcomings in the ways it has regarded women, and we are committed to doing our part to rectify that. This theme will surely surface as we blog along our way.

Perhaps the most prominent sign of our evangelical commitment to the Great Tradition is our Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture, a patristic commentary series that made its debut in 1998 and is now closing in on completion. We will no doubt be blogging on that, as well as some other exciting projects that are following on in this vein.

Posted by Dan Reid at April 16, 2007 4:19 PM Bookmark and Share


As an owner of the ACCS - or the ones that have been shipped to me so far anyway - let me be the first commenter on this new blog to thank you for this effort. It has been an invaluable resource in studying the Bible, opening my eyes to a whole host of voices on the scriptures that I never knew existed.

My wife was planning a Bible-study for her women's group the other day, and the passage was the Good Samaritan in Luke. She wasn't expecting much - it's kind of a passage we've read so many times that we've milked it for all its worth. Do good to those in need - be a neighbor - don't be like that awful Priest and Levite. But she pulls down the ACCS from the shelf to hear the ancient take on the parable, and it's totally different. We are to identify with the broken man - Jesus is the Samaritan, whose righteousness doesn't keep him from stooping down to heal our wounds when the law and the prophets had to stand aside.

What an amazing age we live in where such power, such ancient richness, is available to the average Christian. Thank you for your efforts.

Comment by: Wonders for Oyarsa at April 23, 2007 11:45 AM

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