Letters, We Get Letters

Dear Tony,

I’m currently reading through your book “The New Christians.” It is my first real introduction to the emerging movement from the perspective of an emergent.

Wow! It’s great!

A little of my background. I’m a Presbyterian raised lad, taught the ways of Calvin and co. My father is a Prezzy pastor a straight down the line conservative, though with a twist. I’ve completed an undergrad degree in philosophy and since changed to the Vineyard Church.

I’ll get straight to the point: what you’ve written about has put into words a lot of the stuff I’ve been thinking about over the past few years. So I guess I owe you a thanks.

Being the philosophy undergrad and all, I wanted to share with you an argument that I think buttresses your hermeneutic of humility (which I whole-heartedly agree with, having once been an arrogant young know-it-all type).

First, to your reasoning. You state in your book (I’m too lazy to reference it ) that many people in the theological landscape have changed their minds about theological issues such as slavery, so how, really, can we know that what we think about now is, in fact, God’s super-truth. True truth.  This is, I think, a powerful argument. Here’s mine.

I don’t think we even have to reference changes in theological beliefs over time to prove your point. I think we can simply look at the vast plethora of differing interpretations that exists now and stand in awe of the complexity of theology.

I compiled a list of “views” books, you know, like those Zondervan books that have four views on blah blah blah. My argument for a hermeneutic of humility would be:

If there are so many views argued so well, by godly, intelligent men, who all think they have the correct interpretation, doesn’t that imply a humility of sorts? And boy, do these guys argue well for their views! How the bleep, then, can one claim so dogmatically and with such over-arching certainty, that their view is the one!  Here’s my list:

As of 19 Jan, 2006

Zondervan

http://www.zondervan.com/books/search.asp?Criteria=counterpoints

Who Runs the Church? 4 Views on Church Government

How Jewish Is Christianity? 2 Views on the Messianic Movement

Remarriage after Divorce in Today’s Church. 3 Views

Are Miraculous Gifts for Today? 4 Views

Evaluating the Church Growth Movement. 5 Views

Exploring the Worship Spectrum. 6 Views

Five Views on Apologetics.

Five Views on Law and Gospel.

Five Views on Sanctification.

Four Views on Eternal Security.

Four Views on Hell.

Four Views on Salvation in a Pluralistic World.

Four Views on the Book of Revelation.

Show Them No Mercy. 4 Views on God and Canaanite Genocide

Three Views on Creation and Evolution.

Three Views on Eastern Orthodoxy and Evangelicalism.

Three Views on the Millennium and Beyond.

Three Views on the Rapture.

Two Views on Women in Ministry

Sub Total: 19 topics, 77 views (Incl. extra views by different publishers on same topics, below)

IVP

Four Views: Psychology and Christianity

* (4V Zondervan) Two Views Of Hell

In Search Of The Soul: Four Views Of The Mind-Body Problem

Four Views: God and Time

Four Views: Meaning Of The Millennium, The

Four Views: Science and Christianity

* (3V Zondervan) Four Views: Divorce And Remarriage

* (2V Zondervan) Four Views: Women In Ministry

Four Views: Divine Foreknowledge

Sub Total: 25 topics, 101 views

Kregel

Three Views On The Origins Of The Synoptic Gospels (Kregel)

Sub Total:  26 topics, 104 views

Thomas Nelson

* (4V Zondervan) Four Views: Revelation

Youth Specialities

Four Views Of Youth Ministry And The Church

Sub Total: 27 topics, 108 views

Paternoster Press

* (See IVP above) Four Views: Divine Foreknowledge

* (See IVP above) Four Views: God and Time

Broadman and Holman

* (4V Zondervan) Perspectives On Church Government: Five Views Of Church Polity

Perspectives On Spirit Baptism: Five Views

Sub Total: 28 topics, 113 views

Brazos Press

Christianity And The Postmodern Turn: Six Views

Sub Total: 29 topics, 119 views

That’s an incredible 119 views on just 29 topics! What’s a layman like me to do? Throw some dice, choose a view, and loudly proclaim it as the only interpretation, and my detractors be damned to hell?  I think you get my gist.

Anyway, I’m still trying to digest all the new thoughts in the emergent stuff, but I’ve already come to a few of your conclusions, even before I knew that emergent views existed.

Thanks for your book,

Jonathan

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  • David

    Tony, I love that you post this kind of thing and that it becomes like a continuation of your book. I heard an interview with you last night where you truly spoke eloquently of how truth cannot be stripped of its interaction and fingerprints of humanity. Amazing.

  • dave

    jonathan,

    as you frequent this blog more, you will realize you don’t have to insert “bleep” for whatever word you would choose to use. it enhances your point and makes for great debate in the comment section… ;)

  • http://sunflowerchalice.com revtony

    Indeed. What happens, let’s say when one of those theological assumption so dearly held that gets challenged is the idea that Jesus is God? If the idea is that the local community defines what it means to be Christian, then Unitarian Christians can’t be so automatically cast aside. Different yes, but how sure can anyone be that we are “wrong”. So, Tony, don’t strike Servetus, as you write in your Wheaton paper, that’s the same type of arrogance as this post is talking about (unless you actually think it’s a good idea to burn dissenters at the stake – but that seems to the way some of the Evangelical movement wants to treat you, ironic isn’t it?). For the record, I think your work is great, too.

  • Dan

    Humility is one thing.

    I notice there aren’t a lot of different views on the Trinity, the Deity of Christ, the Virgin Birth in the list. Given Tony’s claim at Wheaton that there is no such thing as Orthodoxy, that is curious.

    My point is this: Even the most conservative of Christians will generally acknowledge that there are things in scripture that aren’t clear. And very few of the topics fall into the category most would consider “essential”.

    The rub with emerging/emergent vs conservatives is not that there are things we should be humble about. The rub is that emergents seem to be willing to challenge not just individual doctrines that might be unclear, but the very concept that we can be confident of anything at all. They don’t criticize merely a particular set of views that conservatives have been too dogmatic about, but they challenge the very belief that anything at all can be held with conviction. Certainty about anything at all seems to be equated with arrogance and power.

    Does anyone in the EC camp understand why they are criticized? It’s the epistemology that is the problem.

  • http://www.courtneyperry.com courtney

    Jonathan’s letter is brilliant. Of course, as a female having high regard for female thinkers/writers/philosophers, the words “there are so many views argued so well, by godly, intelligent men” make me cringe a bit.

    I have trouble understanding responses like Dan’s. Why is it not okay to question everything? Why does this anger others? It seems to me that fear evokes anger in such cases. Why else would someone be criticized for being a free thinker? I don’t think emergents should worry about that kind of “criticism”.

    Honest questions do not negate love, wonder and truth. They enhance these qualities, as ego is nowhere to be found in honest, deep seeking. To question and go beyond rote dogma is a solidifying of faith and a deepening of personal, spiritual growth. I believe that is where humanity and creation can find true healing.

  • http://odiumtheologicum.blogspot.com/ Tony Arens

    Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?

    When I ask my daughter about Jesus and what she believes, her answers are so bold, so simple, so true. I suppose if she grows up and becomes a philosopher and I ask her the same questions, her response witll be “well dad, it’s very complex”.

    Why must EC philosophers make it all so complex? Maybe that’s why Jesus said “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”

    Do not hinder them… hmmm perhaps our “complex” philosophy can be a hinderance?

  • Theresa

    I loved that, Jonathan, thank you! You nailed it right on the head. Regarding Dan and Courtney’s comments, there is one very important thing missing in your discussion: We know we have an enemy, a real, live, intelligent jerk who has had centuries upon centuries in which to practice lying to the human race in order to steal, kill and destroy.

    So…, I think it is crucial to this emerging conversation that we all acknowlege his role in our lives, so as not to believe some of his well-crafted lies, such as that we can worship a false god and still get to the True God through it. Jesus made it clear that He is the only way, even if our open minds don’t like to hear it. And Satan knows Jesus is the only way – that is why he loves to convince us He’s not the only way. He hates us, and he hates Jesus. Just be on your guard. We really are in a battle. Each one of us.

    In love,
    Theresa

  • Colin

    Philosophers have always explored complexity; I would suppose that this is the thing that draws people to philosophy. The pursuit of a simple answer to a complex question is perhaps the very thing some are concerned we have become overly confident about.

    The bible itself lacks simplicity, so why should someone who claims to follow it have simple beliefs? I would posit that even your young daughters boldness and simplicity in her answers are on questions of a complicated and abstract matter that she will inevitably call into question in one form or another at some point. (I could be very wrong and only projecting myself here).

    We are to be as little children, turning from the things we already know to be taught again by a new schoolmaster, but we are nowhere called to retain the intellect of a child, only the spirit. Jesus did not say that we had ought to always be children but that when begin to strive toward him we will have to be like them. Paul uses contrasting imagery of milk and meat eaters to make a point that I would posit is opposite yours.

    Regardless, your daughter may still become a philosopher one day.

  • http://odiumtheologicum.blogspot.com/ Tony Arens

    Courtney -
    A couple of thoughts: Don’t you think Satan likes it when we question everything? – especially when we’re in the room this others that may be seeking the truth? I think we need to be careful. Satan’s temptation in the garden was provoked with a question that encompassed EVERYTHING!!. Did Jesus question everything regarding His Father? Of course not – Jesus knows Truth and is Truth. If we are to be like Him, we are to boldly go out into the Word with confidence and TRUTH! If we need to question everything, then maybe we’ve been overserved with a leaping helping of philosophy.
    Colin, the milk/meat imagery teaches about righteousness and distringuishing good from evil – it’s training based on the Word that is Truth. It’s bold and deliberate. How do you integrate it with questioning truth based on the philisophical?

    “Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.”

  • http://emergingpensees.com Mike Clawson

    For those who say we shouldn’t question some things, I wonder, is your faith in your own beliefs so shaky that you fear having them examined? If you believe them to actually be true then what do you have to fear from honest questioning? Don’t you think your beliefs can hold up to thorough examination? If the are TRUE (as you put it) then wouldn’t honest questioning simply reinforce and support your belief in them? Shouldn’t you be encouraging people to question them, knowing that since they’re TRUE, the questioners will necessarily end up at your one right answer?

  • nathan

    THAT was a great letter.

    Dan,

    RE: epistemology, etc. etc.

    Are you kidding?
    First, the issue of epistemology was laid on the table by many within the emerging church!

    The difference is that we don’t make epistemology the basis for the charge of heresy, which apparently some conservatives do.

    Second, the whole “emergent doesn’t believe we can know anything” is no longer a “misunderstanding”.

    It’s a lie. Yep, I said it.

    When people level a charge, the charge gets answered to the contrary and people still repeat the charge as truth, that’s called lying.

    Nobody in the EC has promulgated a hard post-modern stance, if anything they have disavowed it–even the voices you probably disagree with most.

    Just because certain arm-chair researchers who claim to be conversant with or fighting a war against the EC say something is true doesn’t it make it so.

    Some of you people who critique the EC complain about people “not listening” to you, but from where I stand all I see is the critics not listening.

    All I see is the need to dominate what is different…the same old story that deserves the rebuke that the EC represents…not by mere complaining as some would say, but by the fact that we have gone our own way for the sake of our integrity and the Kingdom.

  • Dan

    Nathan, maybe it is only hyperbole, but when I hear Tony say “there are no orthodox theologians” or that “The Vincentian Canon of universality, antiquity, and consensus is met head on by the postmodern canon of radical locality, the biases of history, and dissensus.” I do not think referring to emergent as embracing hard post-modernism can be classified as a lie. I went through Tony’s paper presented at Wheaton very carefully, for example. I assume if he means a soft, humble, careful and precise questioning of certain modernist notions while affirming settled doctrines with clarity, he is perfectly capable of using words that can communicate such humility, care and precision. He chooses to be provocative instead, as does Brian McLaren and Doug Pagitt.

    Instead Tony tosses out this one “We Protestants thank God that others were not silenced, voices like Luther, Zwingli, Calvin, and Servetus.” Servetus denied the Trinity and Tony lamented the “silencing” of his voice by those with more “theological muscle”, suggesting that it was not truth that won the day or a consensus among Protestants and Catholics, but mere, raw power. He also lamented the refusal of Anglican bishops to share communion with those who have denied essential doctrines of the faith, as if standing for basic Trinitarian Orthodoxy is closed minded. I am not leveling false accusations. I am usually quite careful about not reading into statements things that are not there. The leaders of the EC movement have made many, many provocative statements that undercut the stability of vital doctrines and more importantly, undercut the possibility of stability itself.

    And no one is being called a heretic for their epistemology per se, it is just that the epistemology that is prevalent, hard or soft, throws virtually every doctrine into a state of perpetual flux, so that even foundational doctrines that have been held by the vast majority of believers for 16 centuries are suddenly open to complete review. It obviously sells lots of books, but I don’t think it is particularly helpful to the faith.

  • nathan

    Dan,

    Thank you for your response.

    I hear what you are saying. I would have to disagree with you. (Surprise, surprise.)

    To acknowledge the biases of history, or the shift toward radical locality, etc. is not hard position. To acknowledge the insights of post-modern critiques just doesn’t add up to the EC throwing out the truth, etc.

    I hear your concerns, but I just don’t see it happening where you say it is happening.

    Could it be that the lament about Servetus is not over the rejection of his theology, but over the fact that Christians believed the form of that rejection should be that he “ought to die” for his abberant views?

    With respect to his murder, it doesn’t matter that he was wrong about the Trinity. He was still murdered. That’s dirty business and it sullies the “triumph of truth”.

    Postmodernity merely foregrounds those issues. So that we might be a bit more circumspect the next time a disagreement comes along where the baser human instincts might kick in and we start burning people. The fact is: It happened. Human power mongering co-opted religion. It’s wrong. It deserves critique, lament and people to “provoke” us to think about it so that we might not do it again.

    Was the refusal of the Bishops based on a denial of the Trinity or the issue of homosexuality? If it really was about the Trinity don’t you think that would be tearing up our communion even more? I could be wrong, but I’ve heard nothing of this.

    I respect the freedom of conscience, so I am torn, but as I understood it the refusal was driven by the homosexual question. Please let me know when that was elevated to a matter of essential doctrine.

    As far as having a problem with being provocative…I don’t know what to say. People need to take responsibility for their beliefs, their walk, their journey. If provocative comments force people out of their religious stupor to grasp their faith–even in vigorous disagreement with those statements–then all the better, say I.

    I don’t understand why “provocation” is a problem and “stability” need to be a priority for people.

    Don’t we affirm the creeds? Is that not good enough anymore? We’ll have to let the Fathers know.

    Re: Epistemology. You may not see it as a “heresy” issue, but that is exactly how it is being cast by the most vocal of folk. I think it was Tony who recognized this and said somewhere on this blog that for the first time in church history disagreements over “epistemology” are figuring in people’s assessment of the genuineness of any given person’s orthodoxy.

    That’s crazy.

    I’ve never gotten the sense that essential doctrines are being questioned…except when I’m being told by a critic that they are.

    I thought I’ve been in “the room” when certain convos were going on…I’ve been at conferences…etc. etc. I’ve read the books…

    I don’t see the sweeping away of central Christian theological identity happening.

    That’s why this is always so strange to me.

  • Theresa

    Nathan, do you attend Solomon’s Porch, or have any other regular attendance at an Emergent Church service? I wish I could go to Tony’s or Rob Bell’s, but cannot. You said:

    “I’ve never gotten the sense that essential doctrines are being questioned…except when I’m being told by a critic that they are….”

    So I thought maybe you would know what is being preached, discussed, etc. in their meetings?

  • Jonathan

    Hi guys n gals,

    Jonathan here. Lots of interesting responses. Thanks for the compliments too :-)

    Courtney, sorry, didn’t mean to make you cringe. :-) That’s just my leftover patriarchal linguistic habituations shining through my pixelated pen there.

    I usually like to contribute to these kinda things via positive lurking, so I’ll take a seat and watch… (until I drink a beer. Then I might get chatty)

  • Nathan

    Theresa:

    No. I’m not a member of Solomon’s Porch. I used to lead a gathering elsewhere that would be described as an “emerging church”.

  • http://www.courtneyperry.com courtney

    No worries, Jonathan. I could tell there was no underlying motive. ; ) Thanks again for your letter.

    As for those who mentioned Satan in regards to my response, I’d have to say that that I don’t believe in “the devil” as a real, singular figure. I think that believing in Satan as a guy, for lack of a better word, and constantly talking about how he is plotting against us breeds unnecessary fear and hinders personal/spiritual growth. I think that Satan is simply a biblical character representing evil that humans can’t fathom. That’s an entirely different subject, though. No, of course I don’t speak for all emergent-minded folk. Maybe I don’t even speak for more than 2, but that’s the beauty of the Emergent conversation.

  • Dana Ames

    Theresa #15,
    Solomon’s Porch has a live broadcast, access here:
    http://www.ustream.tv/channel/solomonsporch

  • http://listento.jaketolbert.com JakeT

    And how, Jonathan…and how.

    I’ve been thinking that for a while–it’s nice to see somebody else articulate it intelligently (I’ve been afraid for a while that somebody would push me on the issue and I’d mumble unintelligibly for a couple minutes and leave the room deeply ashamed, hehehe).

    Thanks.

  • http://odiumtheologicum.blogspot.com/ Tony Arens

    Courtney -
    If there really is a supernatural entity who was created as an angel and later decided to rebel against God and raise holy havoc with His most endeared creation, he would enjoy the fact that you don’t believe in him – just as a thief enjoys the thought that he can’t be seen in the shadows.

    If Jesus, a human being who was also supernatually God in the flesh died on the cross and was supernaturally raised from the dead (how radical), than why not a supernatural entity of evil (just as radical)? I know it’s hard to believe in something that you don’t like. If there is a supernatural entity that is good, then why not the opposite? Throughout His creation, we see this balance between the two – certainly in the physical world, and most predictably in the spiritual realm.

    My spiritual growth is certainly not hindered by this believe – on the contrary, it reminds me that I must, every day, put on the full armor of God which is His Word of Truth. Just as I grow in my faith as I look upon Him, I also grow in faith as I run to Him out of fear of the evil one.

    As you say, it’s an entirely different subject – however a subject that can change everything.

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  • Theresa

    Dana Ames:
    Thank you for the link! You rock!

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  • Theresa

    Courtney,
    Hi! You wrote:

    No, of course I don’t speak for all emergent-minded folk. Maybe I don’t even speak for more than 2, but that’s the beauty of the Emergent conversation.

    I was just wondering, who are the two who don’t believe in Satan?
    Thanks

  • http://www.wordsfromtheway.com/between-the-trees Jake Meador

    I might be a little late on the discussion, but I wanted to say one quick thing in regard to the “unquestionables.” I’ll just be honest and say I am one of those annoying young calvinists who are trying to prove that God still speaks through the mouthes of asses. (We’re very good at the ass part, but I’m often skeptical about the God speaking part!) In all seriousness though, I might be Reformed but I’m also a huge fan of Rob Bell, Brian McLaren, and Don Miller and hope to pick up Tony’s book at some point this summer. I’ve benefited tremendously from many of these guys and I happily consider all of you to be brothers and sisters.

    I think there’s a breakdown between the emergent and resurgence crowds when we talk about “orthodoxy” or “essentials” or whatever other term you want to use and I think Steve Brown conveyed the concern pretty well in his interview with Tony on his radio show.

    I’m not suggesting that there are certain things that are off-limits for conversations. I am saying there are certain things essential to the Christian faith for it to remain Christian.

    If I’m in a marriage relationship, there are certain things essential to maintaining that relationship. You need a commitment to putting the good of your partner ahead of your own self-centered good. You need a commitment to honest, transparent communication. You need, I think, a commitment to having a monogamous relationship with the person.

    Those things are essential and, in a sense, not up for debate. Does that mean we can’t talk about them at all? Certainly not. We can discuss why they’re needed and try to explore what they look like in specific situations. And of course, communication habits that work in one marriage may be different than what works for another. But communication is always necessary, even if it looks very different from marriage to marriage.

    What I’m trying to say is that the essentials are a lot broader than certain people would like to think, but there are still essentials. So is an affirmation of the 20th century idea of “inerrancy” essential? I don’t think so. But is the idea of the authority and sufficiency of scripture essential? I think it is. Likewise, are the five points of Calvinism necessary to understanding how God accomplishes his work of redemption and renewal in the world? I don’t think so, though I personally find them helpful. But I do think the idea of salvation by grace is essential.

    If you question those things, that’s fine, but historically speaking, you’re outside the bounds of orthodox Christianity. It’d be like someone who believes in capitalism claiming they’re a socialist. The socialists who tell him, “No, you’re not a socialist,” aren’t trying to be arrogant jerks, they’re just saying, “What you believe is incompatible with the definition of socialism.”

    Is that helpful? Or am I missing what ya’ll are saying?

    Thanks for posting the letter Tony, it raises an important point. Also, thanks for your interview with Steve Brown, I really enjoyed it.

  • Russ

    I come from an anti-creedal tradition that emerged from the Reformed, mainly Presbyterian, churches about 200 years ago. So, we’ve been working out the consequences of extending the priesthood of all believers to include the right of private judgment in study of the Scriptures for some time, now.

    On one side, exerting the right of private judgment has seen some undermine the authority of Scripture, denial of the Trinity, denial of miracle including the deity of Christ, and so on. On the other side, exercising private judgment has seen some take, for example, the Reformed regulative principle to the nth degree: not only no musical instruments in worship, but one cup at communion, no Sunday school classes or church kitchens, no parachurch org’s, et al.

    That said, it has also led to a thicker understanding of baptism and the Lord’s Supper, as well as the ministry of the priesthood of all believers.

    BTW, the insistence that any expression of certainty/certitude is a consequence of the Enlightenment makes me smile. There are some who will argue that the emergence of the right of private judgment is also a product of Enlightenment and the Modernist world view! We can none of us – Reformed, Emergent, Tridentine Catholic, or whatever — unmilk the cow this side of the Enlightenment. We are not pre-Modern.

    That said, in discussions with self-confessed pomo’s over the past fifteen years who make similar analyses, I point out that some of what pomo’s *blame* on the Enlightenment or Modernity has its roots in Christian thought — philosophy and theology. Some would narrow that a bit, and point out that several of these find their roots in Latin (Western) Christianity. I could find a lot of this in the north African patristics, in the desert fathers, and, even, in the early eastern fathers.

    But distinctions between East and West can be drawn. For example, Western and Eastern Christianity landed in different places in respect of the dual authority of the church and state. The West opted for dual authority culminating in the separation of church and state. The East opted for caesaro-papism in which the emperor was — at least in some sense — head of both church and state, or both state and church were united in the person of the emperor. This peristed into Russian orthodoxy and empire. Philip Jenkins has a book forthcoming on the theological roots of Islam in Nestorian Christianity, an eastern tradition.

    The pains to which Emergents go to express epistemological humility also make me smile. Has it not been ever thus? That is, the tradition of inquiry, especially in the Latin Christian West, was predicated on epistemological humility in two directions. First, that human intellectual powers are fallible. Secondly, that God the Creator-Sustainer-Redeemer is not. Therefore, those who are fallible are well-advised to listen when God speaks and when He reveals Himself in Christ.

    Two more directions . . . God has spoken. What He has said and revealed in Christ holds implications for everyone and every thing. However, He has not spoken in detail about everything. That suggests an ongoing need for Christian inquiry.

    And yet two more directions . . . While God is not bounded by space or by time, human beings are. Therefore, our predecessor brothers and sisters in Christian inquiry — bounded by space and time — could not anticipate some of the problems-solutions which we must take up in our inquiry. BUT . . . we, too, are bounded by space and time, and it is just possible that our predecessors in Christian inquiry may already have been faced with problems similar to what we now face, but which our immediate precursors did not. It’s just possible we have something to learn from “our elders.” Just. :-)

    I teach a seminar that covers some 1500 years of Christian political thought, and the exclamation I hear repeatedly from students (and we are all students of those who have gone before) is, “Oh! I didn’t know ‘that’ came from ‘there’!”

    Oh, BTW, the right of private judgment gathers speed from William of Occam (ca 1288 – ca 1347) and his arguing epistemological authority be vested not in the church offices but in the offices of theologian and philosopher and the university . . . Some might argue that the Greeks — Plato and Aristotle — were foundationalists . . . and other ancient Greeks were anti-foundationalists! “Damn the ancients! They’ve stolen all our best ideas!”

    Epistemological humility is no great feat or cause for celebration. It’s merely a starting point for serious inquiry, struggling toward a measure of epistemological certainty — not merely psychological certitude — about anything.

    Russ

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  • Jean

    Diversity does indeed indicate humility. No one has had to write the book “Is Humility a Virtue? Three Views.” If older reformed guys and and others charged with preaching without humility were satisfactory to everyone, they wouldn’t have any opinions at all and would be extremely unhelpful (and I have found John MacArthur, Al Mohler and Tim Keller very helpful and indeed in my opinion humble). Please brothers, let’s retain humility but not be afraid to do the hard work of reading and comparing and then contribute to the body of Christ by having and proclaiming our opinions (when this does contribute).These are big and important questions, and we need to say more then “I dunno” about them.

    My reading of “Five Views on Apologetics.” filled me with clarity and motivation to minister that was much less there before. This was because I completely sided with one view and not any of the other four. So, as a hard core presuppositionalist I have been able to minister much more then if I’d read “five reasons to not be sure about apologetic methods” I would love to talk to an unbeliever with someone that doesn’t share my view, but if I didn’t have MY view I wouldn’t want to speak at all and at best would still have been the clumsy and unsure conversationalist letting opportunities slip by. I pray for progress in both humility and confidence. Approach conversations with opinions when you have them, with honesty when you don’t, and with humility always. Give help and direction for those that need it (ahem, direction usually presupposes opinions).

    Well that’s my opinion.

  • Carmen

    I am reading Four views, Pyschology & Christianity. I like to know if anyone likes any of the views, and why? Or doesn’t like any of the views and why?


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