The Future of Protestantism Video

I am very pleased to pass this along to you for your careful consideration and attention.  There have been a few followup pieces as well to the discussion, which I encourage you to look at as well.  I’m sure there will be more to come, which we will direct you to by way of Mere-O Notes (subscribe).

First, I am very grateful that First Things and the Davenant Trust joined up to sponsor it.  I had some role in organizing the event, but it frankly wouldn’t have happened at all without my friend (and occasional Mere-O contributor) Brad Littlejohn of Davenant pulling together some of the key figures and getting Davenant’s backing.

Second, have I mentioned lately how awesome Torrey Honors is?  The office staff (Laurel!) and students were invaluable for making everything go smoothly.  And Torrey got behind the idea from the moment I pitched it to them.  Yes, I’m currently doing some consulting work for them. Full disclosure. But I only get really excited about the things I would do for free anyway, and these sorts of smart-but-accessible dialogues are among them.  I’m just grateful that Torrey and Biola gave us the resources we needed to pull it off.

Third, I am thankful for Carl Trueman, Fred Sanders, and Peter Escalante’s willingness to have the discussion.  But I cannot say enough about the graciousness of Peter Leithart, whose travel schedule was totally disrupted by airline failures, the tornadoes in Birmingham, and then weather in Chicago.  It was not a little stressful for us, which means I can’t imagine how taxing it must have been on him.  

Fourth, that just makes me realize how much of the ‘success’ of these sorts of things depends upon friends.  In the midst of making back-up plans to back-up plans in case Dr. Leithart didn’t make it, the brilliant Betsy Childs helped me connect with Beeson Divinity School to set up conferencing possibilities.  We didn’t end up needing them, thank goodness, but was it comforting knowing we had other options?  Yes, yes it was.  And I can’t even start listing the bloggers and friends online who helped me spread the word, as I have other work to do and need to get on with it.  But thank you to all of them, too.

On that note, too, follow Jake Meador.  I let him take over my Twitter account during the event, as I wasn’t sure how awake I was going to be, and he did a fantastic job.  I only hope he remembers us when he comes into his authorial kingdom, as he is a really sharp fellow who is doing great work.

Finally, I will note that I plan to leave the follow up discussion to others.  There are a variety of reasons for my decision, not least of which is a rather onerous academic term ahead of me and the burden of 25,000 words to turn out before mid-June.  But I am hopeful that the discussion will be one aimed at learning, at charity, and at deepening the unity which Christ exhorts his church to pursue.

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  • Bobby

    Fred Sanders made reference to Bruce McCormack’s prediction that there will be no obvious institutional bearers of the Reformation by mid-Century. While I enjoyed Tuesday night’s discussion, I’m not sure that anyone convinced me that McCormack isn’t right. Peter Leithart probably came the closest to providing a cogent answer: We who are the obvious institutional bearers of the Reformation (Lutherans and Presbyterians) have few good options. Our only hope is to align more closely with Rome, i.e., Reformational Catholicism. In contrast, Trueman seems to be pitching Reformational Congregationalism. And Fred Sanders just wants us to go a step beyond Trueman and just join up with the local band of evangelicals.

    I can’t really go with Sanders: I consider evangelicals to be something more akin to the Mormons or Jehovah’s Witnesses than to proper Protestants. And it’s hard to see how Trueman’s model doesn’t eventually devolve into a crass evangelicalism. So, I’ll go with Leithart…and with McCormick. I’d even settle for calling it Barthian Catholicism.