Picking up the neo-liberal bait

I am delighted that even in this holiday season when I was fully anticipating somewhat of a lull in blogging the bait is being taken up at least by some. I believe that the recent tragedy has made these issues all the more important. Some of the people who I call neo-liberal probably have a very different explanation for why God allowed the disaster than classical evangelicals would.

Parableman has come forwards to identify himself as possibly a neo-liberal and says

“As far as I can tell, Adrian has fixed upon the term ‘Neo-Liberal’ in order to draw a parallel between the ‘Neo-Liberals’ and the liberal church. The two features of the liberal church that he is focused on is 1) the liberal church’s focus on acceptance by the rest of the world, and 2) a low regard for the Bible. The first is made evident by his claim that the goal of Neo-Liberals is to ‘make the church somehow more acceptable to today’s culture’. The second is made clear when he says ‘I don’t have the luxury of chucking out portions of the bible like [Neo-Liberals do] as I do believe it is the word of God’.”

I suspect that parableman may not have had a chance to read my subsequent explanation of what I mean by neo-liberalism before he posted. I am definining neo-liberalism as “the intentional adaptation of Christianity to post-modernity.” I am not a defender of modernity despite what some would say. For it is not the evangelicals who are guillty of intentionally adapting Christianity to modernity- that was the role of the liberals.

Parableman seems to think I believe that all neo-liberals deny the bible. In fact, I wish it was that simple. Most of todays advocates for signficant change to our theological systems would not deny up front that the bible was inerrant. Parableman does a great job, however, of showing how Pinnock often seems to imply he does not hold the bible to be without error and commented on Pinnock as follows “he’s extremely uncareful in stating his views and that he frequently says things that by implication deny inerrancy”. It is this lack of precision in stating views which troubles me most

My focus is not solely on what people say about the bible, but rather on how they frame their theology. I have not accused everyone of throwing out the bible. I do believe that there are no doubt some who genuinely believe that the bible teaches a different set of theological beliefs than those I was raised with. In fact, the main goal of my posting on this subject has been to try and draw out some people from the other side prepared to seriously engage with the bible (and not human reason only) on these issues. I have yet to hear a single good biblical argument for these positions, possibly because of my own theological isolationism.

Also, it seems there has been a misunderstanding- I didn’t expect to have to exegete my own post on Nahum 1, but parableman is inaccurate in his explanation of my quote above. I was not accusing neo-liberals of cutting out bits of the bible, but stating that as a bible-believing Christian I do not have the luxury of chucking out bits of the bible like Nahum 1 that are uncomfortable. In other words the word “this” should not be replaced by the word “neo-liberal” but rather by the words “Nahum One”!

So, the challenges remain. Who is willing to rise to the old ones and a few new ones thrown if for good measure? If you own a blog, do take one of these up on your blog linking back here and I in tern will reply (let me know you have done so as I may not realise it!) So answers on a blog please to the following questions-

-Why do neo-liberals think we are wrong on the wrath of God and what do they make of Nahum 1 ?(assuming they are not in the camp which would even in jest suggest that this is not scripture)

-how can someone claim to be reformed but not believe in reformed doctrine?

-Was Jesus being a modernist when he emphasised truth?

-Is it really possible to argue that the vast majority of evangelical theologicans teach a theory that amounts to “cosmic child abuse” and still claim the name evangelical? What are the biblical grounds (rather than human reason grounds) for questioning penal substitution?

-Should evangelicalism include a broad church of views or should it define itself more clearly to exclude the people I call neo-liberals?

-Do theological systems hang together so that if you tug at one loose string you don’t like the whole lot falls apart?

-Does evangelicalism=christianity. In other words, is it possible to be a true Christian and deny certain truths generally held by evangelicals? If so, which ones?

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