While 9Marks is not a mainstream evangelical byword, it is read by an influential segment of reformed people. The recent article published there by Mack Stiles threw me when I ran across it. In that article he expressed deep concern that InterVarsity was stepping over a line theologically that is moving them away from evangelicalism.
The blog Euangelion offers a balanced and thoughtful response that seems at first read to adequately address the issues Stiles raises.
My home territory is reformed theology, but I have always felt uneasy around the attempt on the part of many in that camp to make their understanding of the gospel – complete with election, predestination, double imputation and substitutionary atonement, etc., – the only possible version of the Good News. So that all other versions are in fact no gospel.
While this certainly is true with respect to the rationalistic, miracle denying, progressive versions of the gospel offered to us from the liberal camp, we must be very careful lest we shrink the gospel down so far that no one is preaching the gospel but the reformed.
Do I agree with Mack Stiles on the understanding of the gospel he believes and preaches? Essentially yes. But I can sign the Evangelicals and Catholics Together statements. Chuck Colsom and JI Packer signed it and they are full-fledged gospelers. I can read NT Wright and still believe he is within the camp, as much as I can believe the Puritan Richard Hooker was within the camp.
I am sure that Mack Stiles’ article received some applause from the circle of those who read 9 Marks. But it will fall on deaf ears on the larger Christian community, like RC Sproul’s attempt to take Chuck Colson to the woodshed.