Who Said That?


We cannot overemphasize bringing men and women to new birth in Christ. Evangelism is essential, critically essential. But is it not obvious that growth in Christ is equally essential? Yet the American church has not treated it with an equivalent urgency. The American church runs on the euphoria and adrenaline of new birth—getting people into the church, into the kingdom, into causes, into crusades, into programs. We turn matters of growing up over to Sunday school teachers, specialists in Christian education, committees to revise curricula, retreat centers, and deeper life conferences, farming it out to parachurch groups for remedial assistance. I don’t find pastors and professors, for the most part, very interested in matters of formation in holiness. They have higher profile things to tend to.

Americans in general have little tolerance for a centering way of life that is submissive to the conditions in which growth takes place: quiet, obscure, patient, not subject to human control and management. The American church is uneasy in these conditions. Typically, in the name of “relevance,” it adapts itself to the prevailing American culture and is soon indistinguishable from that culture: talkative, noisy, busy, controlling, image-conscious.




This quote is from Eugene Peterson in Practice Resurrection.

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9 Responses to Who Said That?

  1. Paul says:

    Exclusive Psalmody?

  2. todd says:

    great quote

  3. RubeRad says:

    Hmmm, I want to guess Machen, but I think usage of “relevance” (with scare quotes) is a little too contemporary. I’ll just throw DGH into the ring.

    Paul, I don’t understand, are you making a guess of some Exclusive Psalmodist whose initials are E.P.?

  4. Paul says:


    It’s my R.S. Clark code, only the first letters of each word matter.

  5. RubeRad says:

    So are you guessing E. P. Sanders then?

  6. Zrim says:

    I updated the post with the answer.

    I’m pretty sure Paul wins.

  7. RubeRad says:


    I’m not sure what to make of Eugene Peterson. This is a great quote, and I think I’ve heard him on WHI or somewhere else, and he sounded fine, but then again, he translated (or rather wrote) The Message.

  8. Rick says:

    I have never read The Message, I’ve only seen it quoted here and there. Rick Warren seems to like it.

    As long as The Message is considered commentary and not translation, I don’t mind it.

    Someone recommended Peterson’s Reversed Thunder to me – saying that I’d be pleasantly surprised. I just might look into it.

  9. copperchips says:

    Peterson addresses the very root of the problem of the “emerging church” movement (a term often used by evangelicals…sorry reformers). In essence, Peterson identifies the “mile wide, inch deep” problem of churches like Willow Creek, allowing so much hype of getting people in the door of the church that they neglect establishing the newcomer in solid, biblical doctrine.
    My IFCA church makes it a point to de-emphasize the “sugary approach” to evangelism and focus more on meeting the deep, spiritual needs that only the Bible can meet.

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