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The church's witness to the world falters in an age of doctrinal uncertainty, emerging experiments of life forms and behavior norms, and consequent cultural pressures. Against the disturbing influences that result, two questions demand response as the church's relation to conflicting intellectual fashions is brought under scrutiny. First, on the level of belief foundations, what is to be understood as the deposit of truth that has been entrusted to the church in the gospel it has historically been set to declare? Second, on the level of actual testimony and procedure, to what extent is the doctrinal foundations it professes reflected in the statements the church inserts into the competing complex of explanatory systems. What, it is to be asked, is the place, office, function, and authority of the church in the cultural nexus into which the divine mandate that defines the church has placed it?
In Belief and Evangelism Douglas Vickers addresses insightfully many of the relationships that result from the bearing of those questions on the integrity of the church in its professed belief and evangelism. Numerous questions that arise from those relationships demand expanded consideration in a full-orbed statement of the gospel.