Archives for May 2013

What Is Theology and Who Does It? Part 3 (Final)

What Is Theology and Who Does It? Part 3 (Final)This third installment of the series won’t make much sense without the first two, so please read Parts 1 and 2 before this. This part presupposes those.Throughout my career as a theologian, I have frequently encountered people who claim, directly or indirectly, that they “do theology” as well, if not better, than professional theologians. But, of course, rarely do they mean theology as I have described it in Parts 1 and 2 of this series. Som … [Read more...]

What Is Theology and Who Does It? Part 2

What Is Theology and Who Does It? Part 2             In Part 1 I described two broad types of antipathy toward scholarly, academic theology among American Christians (especially evangelicals). The first is anti-intellectualism (especially toward scholarly study of religion in general and Christianity in particular. The second is scholarly, academic belief that theology is a pseudo-science except as it is done by non-theologians (philosophers, sociologists, artists, etc.). Before proceeding to re … [Read more...]

What Is “Theology” and Who Does It? Part 1

What Is “Theology” and Who Does It? Part 1             It may sound like a simple question (or two simple questions), but it’s not. I’ve been a “professional theologian” (someone who gets paid for being one) for thirty-one years and before that I was preparing to be one for several years. The dream of being a theologian probably formed in my mind during seminary. I sensed that I would never understand my Christian faith as fully as I wanted to without being a theologian myself. And I desperately … [Read more...]

Shocking Sermon by Presiding Episcopal Bishop

To read it go to: shocking part is the fourth paragraph. (There may be other shocking parts, but that's the portion of the sermon I focus on here.)Apparently, according to the Presiding Bishop and Primate of the Episcopal Church, the Apostle Paul wrongly cast out of a slave girl her "gift of spiritual awareness"--an action that, according to the text (Acts 16) resulted in her … [Read more...]

Practical Implications of Satanic Realism

You probably won't get much out of this post without reading the two previous ones, so I urge you to do that before reading this one.Someone asked me, in response to my recent post about Satan, what practical difference Satanic realism (belief that Satan is not merely a symbol of human evil but a real being independent of any creature's mind or will or actions) makes.That's one reason I posted the next post--about the Episcopal bishop who, in her sermon, interpreted the "spirit of … [Read more...]

Where the Devil is Satan (in Contemporary Christianity)?

Where the Devil is Satan (in Contemporary Christianity)?             When I write about “contemporary Christianity,” for the most part, I’m addressing what I see as my own religious-cultural context—moderate, centrist, evangelically-oriented Protestantism in the U.S. I’m not usually (unless I say otherwise) addressing fundamentalist or liberal Protestantism or Roman Catholicism.             I hold in my hand a copy of the so-called Jefferson Bible (officially titled The Life and Morals of Jesus … [Read more...]

R.I.P. Dallas Willard (and Was He an Open Theist?)

R.I.P. Dallas Willard (and Was He an Open Theist?)             The evangelical Christian community has lost one of its best minds and most articulate writers—Professor Dallas Willard of the University of Southern California’s School of Philosophy (retired), associate of Richard Foster’s in the Renovaré movement, and author of numerous books in the philosophy of religion and spiritual theology. I only had the privilege of meeting him once—when we shared the platform at my final commencement cerem … [Read more...]