Erasmus, Tyndale, and Pre-Modernism

I found this quote interesting in John Piper’s biographical speech on William Tyndale, titled, Always Singing One Note. While exploring the contrast between Erasmus and Tyndale, Piper made an astute observation about some ‘emergent’ churches and postmodern writers. Here is the quote (the section in italics is Piper quoting from David Daniell’s book about Tyndale):

“Listen to this remarkable assessment from Daniell, and see if you do not hear a description of certain emergent church writers and New Perspective champions:

Not only is there no fully realized Christ or Devil in Erasmus’s book . . . : there is a touch of irony about it all, with a feeling of the writer cultivating a faintly superior ambiguity: as if to be dogmatic, for example about the full theology of the work of Christ, was to be rather distasteful, below the best, elite, humanist heights. . . . By contrast Tyndale . . . is ferociously single-minded; the matter in hand, the immediate access of the soul to God without intermediary, is far too important for hints of faintly ironic superiority. . . . Tyndale is as four-square as a carpenter’s tool. But in Erasmus’s account of the origins of his book there is a touch of the sort of layering of ironies found in the games with personae.

It is ironic and sad that today supposedly avant-garde Christian writers can strike this cool, evasive, imprecise, artistic, superficially reformist pose [like Erasmus] and call it “post-modern” and capture a generation of unwitting, historically naïve, emergent people who don’t know they are being duped by the same old verbal tactics used by the elitist humanist writers in past generations… It’s not post-modern. It’s pre-modern—because it is perpetual.”

Yah, what he said… πŸ™‚

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1 Response to “Erasmus, Tyndale, and Pre-Modernism”


  1. 1 WarAxe March 28, 2006 at 8:34 am

    Good excerpt.

    The “new perspective” writers remind me of something I read once about having kind of a spirituality with no power in it. πŸ˜‰


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