The Sin of Tribalism

The Sin of TribalismThere are many things Christians ought to resist among themselves. Not because salvation depends on that but because they are pernicious to a healthy relationship with God and others in the family of God. And because they give Christians and our God a bad name among those who watch us. Christians are aware of some of them but seemingly unaware of others that are rampant and destructive. Tribalism is one too many Christians fall prey to unawares.Tribalism, as I use the … [Read more...]

Another Great “Moderate Baptist” Leader on the Necessity of Doctrines

Another Great “Moderate Baptist” Leader on the Necessity of Doctrines Recently I quoted at length here a statement by moderate Baptist leader and Cooperative Baptist Fellowship founder Cecil Sherman who argued that “the faith once for all delivered” must be preserved and not tampered with or discarded.Another hero of many moderate Baptists (neither out-and-out liberal nor fundamentalist) is Edgar Young Mullins (1860-1928). E. Y. Mullins (as he is usually named) was arguably the m … [Read more...]

What I mean when I say someone is theologically “liberal”

Definitions of "liberal" in theology differ considerably--even among scholars of modern theology. Yale historical theologian (whose special area of scholarship was modern theology) Claude Welch defined it as "maximal acknowledgement of the claims of modernity." Union Theological Seminary theologian (and self-identified theological liberal) Gary Dorrien defines it as recognizing no authority outside the self. (Of course he means no ultimate authority.) Iliff School of Theology theologian Delwin … [Read more...]

A Word from a Founder to All My “Moderate Baptist” Friends

A Word from a Founder to All My “Moderate Baptist” FriendsThis post is intended primarily for Southerners among Baptists who consider themselves “Moderate.” For those of you outside that movement, I’ll explain briefly.Throughout the 1980s and until today many churches and individuals affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention (the largest Protestant denomination in the U.S.) felt excluded by the SBC’s leadership because of their embrace of egalitarian beliefs and their denial of “bib … [Read more...]

An Example of Unwarranted Theological Speculation: Divine Timelessness

An Example of Unwarranted Theological Speculation: Divine TimelessnessIn my immediately preceding post I argued that far too much Christian theology includes unwarranted speculation—especially about God. Under pressure from Greek ontology traditional, “classical theism” has generally agreed that the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (the Yahweh of the Bible) is somehow (i.e., differently expressed) “outside of time” such that temporal sequence, the passage of past into present into future (or f … [Read more...]

Theology and Speculation

Theology and SpeculationThe issue here is the legitimacy of speculation in theology. What is speculation? In this context, if not in all contexts, “speculation” is making truth claims without clear warrant—reasonable grounding in relevant data. In theology “relevant data” are revelation/Scripture, tradition, reason (logic) and experience. “Experience” is intersubjective experience, not private experience.Some years ago I came to the conclusion that much Christian theology, truth claims ma … [Read more...]

Calvinism and Evangelism

Calvinism and EvangelismOne of the misconceptions about Calvinism (here meaning belief in T.U.L.I.P. and the eternal decree deciding who will and who will not be saved) is that Calvinists cannot or will not do evangelism. Or, to put it more mildly, that Calvinism undermines evangelism.In all such cases we have to distinguish between two things: the descriptive and the prescriptive. Descriptively, American evangelical Calvinists do evangelism. Some of the greatest evangelists who have … [Read more...]