This is a well-written and intriguing book that ultimately fails to deliver on its promise to provide a way to renew the theological center. The book's proposals are based on well-worn phrases that caricature nineteenth- and twentieth-century evangelicalism. Grenz is still pushing the old fallacy we saw as far back as the 1970s in books like Theodore Dwight Bozeman's book on Scottish Common Sense and Baconianism. That fallacy is this: intellectual types like the Princetonians were the only ones who believed in the inerrancy of Scripture. Pietists in the Anabaptist and holiness and other anti-Calvinist movements did not buy this Enlightenment line until the Fundamentalist-Modernist controversy, when they felt intimidated by the liberals and higher critics into casting their lot with the Fundamentalists, thereby taking shelter in that movement.
The implication of this is that tired old dichotomy that evangelicalism can be divided into doctrinaire and pietist wings. But things are not that uncomplicated and neat. There is an apparently neglected body of research that shows all manner of pietists, Anabaptists, holiness, Arminians, Restorationists, Mormons, etc., etc., who held strong notions of propositional revelation and the inerrancy of the autographs before the the Princetonians had time to have an impact on the intellectual landscape of American Christianity. Grenz's data is very obviously based on secondary sources, and then they are the best known historical works, rather than scholarly articles or monographs that provide counterevidence to the thesis on which his book is based (intellectualism vs. pietism).
I realize that the wisdom he appeals to is quite conventional (e.g., Calvinist Joel Carpenter's assertion that inerrancy is not the kind of category that Wesleyans related to, etc.), yet if he had probed beneath the surface, even reading sermons, periodical articles, and other "non-theological" sources from uneducated pietists in early nineteenth-century American Christianity, he would have found that the dichotomy on which his book is based is a caricature, and he would have had to retool the way he explains the "Princetonian" and "Fundamentalist" reliance on "Enlightenment categories."
One more thing that I found disappointing from a scholar of Grenz's magnitude. In discussing the "Neo-Evangelical movement," he said that "some in the movement" held to the dictation theory of biblical inspiration, yet he didn't go on to cite any sources. This is just irresponsible.
I am sympathetic to some of the proposals Grenz made in the final chapter of his book, particularly about ecclesiology, and I do think we must reckon with postmodernism. Yet, I think we must get our account of just how modernism impacted evangelicalism beyond caricatures and easy dichotomies if we are to understand how to forge a viable evangelical theological witness in a postmodern context.