Taking his cue from Carl Henry’s 1947 The Uneasy Conscience of Modern Fundamentalism, Evangelical scholar J. Daryl Charles sets out in The Unformed Conscience of Evangelicalism to inject a moral corrective into the life of Evangelicalism. The author’s passion makes clear that he regards the current situation no less desperate than the lack of social concern Evangelicals faced in the 1940s. Where Henry worried about fundamentalism being reduced to a “tolerated cult status,” Charles warns that Evangelicals are in danger of devolving into a “large sect” that is irrelevant to the purposes of God and the needs of culture. A number of factors have contributed to the decline of Evangelical ethics.
Our late modern culture has become increasingly sensitive to the dangers of abusive structures and institutions that foster self-interest, domination, exploitation, and other forms of violence. Atonement theologies have followed this trend with an increasingly apprehensive stance toward traditional notions of covenant curse, divine justice and wrath, and penal substitution.