In this book, John Caldwell gives a brief analysis of what has gone wrong with the church and the world. David Robertson writes in the foreword, ‘There is very little in this wee book that is new. You can find more detailed analysis of current cultural trends, contemporary church issues, historical developments and in-depth theology elsewhere’ (p.11).
That is true and, indeed, many of the book’s issues are regularly covered by evangelical newspapers and journals. Although the word ‘radical’ appears throughout the book, it is little more than a restatement of traditional evangelical Christian views.
Caldwell deals with the Fall and God’s solution, the cross. He analyses the thinking of our secular, humanistic culture, examining new attitudes to morality and sexuality. He sees that the world has, in many areas, infiltrated the church and caused her to be the less-than-radical counter-culture it was created to be.
This is fine as far as it goes, but, as early as the introduction it is clear that Caldwell’s thinking flows from his Presbyterian views. Although he continually stresses the importance of the Bible and sola Scriptura, it is obvious that the Westminster Confession is the filter through which he understands the Bible.
For not a few readers, there has been a ‘radical church’ since the Reformation — first called ‘Anabaptist’ and now largely represented by Baptist — that does not believe in the connection between church and state, nor in paedobaptism. It is a pity the author did not include this alternative perspective in dealing with this subject.
Trevor A. Baker