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Thx. for the comment. You’d no doubt appreciate the ebook “Beyond Evangelical.”
I wish that I could be as articulate in expressing my understanding of evangelicalism as Roger because he does such an outstanding job. But being a professional historian and not theologically trained, I lack the ability to do so. I agree wholeheartedly with what he affirms and I say in that wonderful 60’s phrase–RIGHT ON!
“I could tell many stories of my unfortunate experiences with conservative evangelical theologians and biblical scholars who have gone out of their way to damage my reputation for no other reason than that they do not perceive me as with them in their attempt to exclude open theists, postfoundationalists, inclusivists, etc”
Dr. Olson, I enjoyed reading your responses to Frank Viola’s interview and agree with everything you said. May I follow up with a sincere question of my own for you? In the above interview response you have shown some sympathy to the “inclusivists.” As you know, there are many evangelicals who have come to believe the concept of ‘universal salvation,’ while at the same time abandoning the doctrine of eternal conscious torture (hell). MY QUESTION: Being an “inclusivist” would you go as far as to include those evangelical-type brethren who have embraced the universal redemption of all humanity and/or have rejected the traditional doctrine of hell?
I really enjoyed reading this…I read Michael Spencer’s “Mere Churchianity” and hovered around the Internet Monk for the past few years as a skeptic. Its still a loving community though I wish Michael were still with us.
Evangelical Christianity today is in a mess. It’s nothing but witch hunts with people out to decimiate each other. I look at both sides and feel sick, and I’m still angry that I was previously into reformed theology. Campus Crusade really sells neo-refomed theology. But as I’ve stepped away from faith and survey the spiritual landscape I’m amazed as to how many Christians don’t know what Christinaity is today.
Here in the Washington, D.C. area I pop up at differing churches to see if I can find one that is safe to ask difficult questions. A lot of evangelicals flip over hard questions of faith. In one non-denom church I visted the pastor was preaching that faith was about doctrine, doctrine, and doctrine. And how the outside world will know Christians by their doctrine. And I’m sitting there in the back wanting to shake my head and say, “No….Christians should be known by their love, it’s Muslims who are known by their doctrine…”
I think my time in the forest of agnosticsm is going to be a while….
Thanks for this. I find Olson’s point about “evangelical” being an ethos (more so than a movement, set of doctrines) to be especially intriguing.
Two of my favorite people talking together is really great to see! I was at ORU when Roger taught there, but unfortunately didn’t have any classes with him at the time. I’ve kept up with and rediscovered him through the years and found him to be a thoughtful and straight-talking man who has a lot of good things to say. Thank you Frank, for providing this further insight into him and from him. I appreciate both of you!
Frank, thank you so much for sharing this. I have enjoyed Olsen’s work and found it helpful in my theology classes in seminary in years past. I have experienced the concerns of very conservative Evangelicals, especially most recently in articulating a new theology and praxis of interreligious engagement. That series of writings, coupled with a positive (and balanced) review of Brian McLaren’s new book, have recently led to concerns that I might be liberal or postmodern. We might also keep in mind Jason Bivins’ thesis in Religion of Fear that Evangelicalism is obsessed with boundaries as a confrontational religious subculture. These dynamics contribute to the boundary maintenance conflicts we often see. I think Olsen’s offers a helpful way forward through this controversy for those with concerns on the Right and Left.
I really like Roger Olsen. Thanks for sharing his thoughts here.