Sunday, January 1, 2017

Theologies of Change: Wittenberg Door 2.0

I have a question. Several questions. Actually, I'm not entirely sure what the exact question is but I do know the direction of what I'm seeing.

First, I submit this link that says maybe our traditional idea of God's Sovereignty is outdated, if not flat out wrong. In particular, perhaps God is not in control of everything that happens.

God is Not in Control

Second, here is an article about Bart Campolo (son of THAT Campolo) who now no longer identifies as Christian.

Bart Campolo No Longer Believes

Here's what I'm thinking: Is it possible that we have been wrong on God's Sovereignty in the same way we were wrong on so many other issues? In situations such as slavery, evolution, the earth revolving around the sun / being round, or countless other things, we damaged ourselves greatly in reaching people because they viewed our ideas as backward and uneducated. Is that a necessary roadblock to keep throwing out there? If we adopt a theology that says God is not always in control of everything but is completely Sovereign in Love, does that damage the definition of God? Or take Campolo, for example: he had trouble believing in the idea of hell and eternal damnation, so he adopted a Universalism of sorts a long time ago.   The idea of an eternal hell, created by a loving God, for the eternal punishment of people who didn't believe, is all sorts of problematic for everyone's senses. Is that another area where we need to re-examine what exactly it is we believe?

The point here is that in this era where we have (hopefully) a better sense of thinking through all this stuff, oftentimes our theology creates more moral problems than it resolves. I can certainly see many inconsistencies in our theology that unbelievers are pointing out as reasons to reject the faith outright ... and many of those inconsistencies are not ethically defensible on our part. Many positions can be resolved by simply changing our interpretation of some texts, and that would make us be more consistent morally/ethically in our presentation. Perhaps it is that inconsistency that people are seeing, what Bart Campolo recognized, and that is =a= reason (not just =the= reason) some reject the Message.

I'm not in any way saying we should change our theology to fit the "world." I'm not suggesting we soften our positions. I'm saying that perhaps we need another nail on the church door at Wittenberg. The post-modernity doesn't reach everywhere at the same time but it is coming whether we like it or not. Maybe it's time we address legitimate questions about our theology. Are we being resolved in our commitment to truth, or are we being bull-headedly stubborn in refusing to recognize our own inconsistencies?


Bruce T. Gourley said...

I suggest that we need to recognize that God is far more mysterious than we tend to think (thinking that largely reflects and confirms our own biases, I might add).

The Bible frames God in many different ways; why settle on any one (again, our biases)?

Creeds were largely political documents of their era designed to discriminate. Why do so many want to believe that a few Christians writing under political pressures some 1500 years or so ago, penning documents designed to discriminate against and persecute dissenters, know more about God than we do today?

And why in the world do so many Christians today believe in hell, a pagan mythological construct that was added to the Bible within the past 500 years or so?

That Baptist Ain't Right said...

I admit I'm working through all this right now, having been challenged a few years ago with things that my theology just didn't make any room. Thanks for the input.