Tuesday, August 30, 2005

What's been going on:

I had a fun time performing a wedding for a couple who took what they were doing seriously, but not themselves seriously. An excellent combination as it turns out; they were innovative without being irreverant. Highlights included:

Having a wedding reception in a tobacco barn. The stacks of dried leaves made for pungent decoration.

Watching people go ga-ga for what must be the gazillionth time over the "Chicken Dance Song". Praise the Lord, the Macarena failed to make an appearance.

Seeing the bridal party show up in NFL Jerseys.

Seeing at least one person freak out because a rather large bug crawled up her leg.

It was a fun time. What made it really awesome though was the fact that the couple was aunashamedly Christian without being pretentious or stuffy about the fact.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Neo-Orthodox Influence?

Back in the 20th Century there was a movement called Neo-Orthodoxy. It was spearheaded by such theologians as Karl Barth, Emil Brunner, and Rudolph Bultmann.

Beginning as a reaction against liberal Protestantism, one of its key tenets was that historical investigation was not to be relied upon for to provide verification for scriptural historical claims. Instead, Neo-Orthodoxy began with human experience for doing theology.

The reason I bring this up is that some elements of Roman Catholicism, and the so-called "Reformed Catholicism" seem very much, if unintentionally, influenced at this point.

In reading several conversations between Evangelicals and the RCs and "rCs", I have noted that the claim is made that the standard method of biblical interpretation, known as the Grammatical-Historical Method, is invalid as there is no sound epistemological foundation for it (epistemology deals with the question of how we know things). This, it seems to me, is not unlike the claim that the Neo-orthodox made.

Another similarity lies in that RCs and rCs seem to claim that the individual must reckon first with the epistemological issue and then build a theology. This beginning with the individual seems again to hearken to the Neo-Orthodox notion.

(On a side note, the emphasis on the individual is ironic since both RCs and rCs seem to decry the "every individual an interpretational island" idea.)

But if this seeming connection to Neo-Orthodoxy is true, then the thinking of the RCs and rCs would share the same weaknesses, such as it being essentially fideistic, as it insulates itself from any kind of verifiability or falsibility. That makes sense as neither RCs nor rCs have actually put forward a positive case for their position. Perhaps it is because, under the influence of Neo-orthodox-style thinking, they don't see the point of such evidence. It is also vulnerable because it makes a claim about history that is inconsistently applied (in that they accept the historicity of the resurrection on usual historical proof grounds without the issue of epistemology arising) and actually essentially skeptical, meaning it is at bottom negative, and can therefore make no real positive contribution to theological method or hermeneutics.

Now in saying this I am making no claim to being a master of Neo-Orthodox thought; these are at best impressions garnered from a few years of seminary and some random book reading from Neo-0rthodox authors. Please take this post for what it is; a suggestion, and perhaps a starting point for discussion, thought, and debate.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

A note about spam

I suppose it was only a matter of time. In our materially-driven society, selling is everything, and sales are tied very closely to advertising. This of course leads to junk mail of various types, especially "spam" in the e-world.

I have noted that sme enterprising people have started sending "junk comments." Until I can figure out how to delete or otherwuse filter comments. I am just turning off the comments feature. If anyone wants to make a commenbt, please contact me using email. A link exists somehere on the page for that purpose.

Can you not hear the "sigh" in this...

The wonder of unity

What is unity in a church?

Some think that it measn every person believeing the same things. I can see value to that. A lot of arguments would be avoided if we all agreed on all theological matters. In fact a lot of arguments are avoided by the level of agreement we already have.

Still, doctrinal agreement isn't everything. I have been in churches where there was as close to 100% doctrinal agreement as I have ever seen, but there wasn't much unity. In fact they fought often like cats and dogs over personality and control issues. So it seems to me that unity without an actual love for one another is impossible.

That kind of love though is from above, and only from above. Only God can give us a love that allows us to disagree with others over important issues and still worship, pray, and work with them.

That kind of love is vry evidet in my church. That's why we have no fear in facing potentially divisive issues. We know that even if there is not unanimity, there will always be a loving consensus.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Hammer Time

I am a stickler for theology, so I tend to be pretty particular on the conclusions that other people reach, as well as the way they reach them. (Yes, I am also that way about my own conclusions and methods, but we don't get into trouble discussing ourselves nearly as often as we do when discussing other people.)

For example, in my conference we are discussing the possibility of eliminating all restrictions to women in ministry leadership (currently only the office of senior pastor is denied to women). The method used to arrive at a consensus, which has been used very well in the recent past, has failed us in this instance. That's because the process has foucssed on what has clearly become the wrong question. The conclusions that people are reaching are by and large being influenced by a new hermeneutic, one whose validity ought really be discussed on its own, independantly of the women in ministry issue. But there doesn't seem to be a desire to really discuss the hermeneutic; it seems that the "need" to answer the question of women in ministry is too pressing.

That distresses me. It seems to me that the value and validity of the hermeneutic must be discussed first, or else we risk arrriving at the right decision for the wrong reasons. Those who are more concerned with the immediate question of women in ministry might not be upset about that, but some of us who take a longer view to things realise that the wrong reasons won't always lead to the right answers, so its better to get your reasons right first. Jesus taught as much with the parable of the two builders.

Then there is the issue of women as elders in our church. Thankfully there is enough wisdom in the elders to realize that we do need to have a sound process for determining what direction the church takes. We still ahve to figure out what the process should look like, but at least ther seems to be more of a commitment to the process than the outcome. IMO, if we fail in that we fail as elders, for we will have begun to lead by pragmatism.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Yes, I am back

Strange to say that, since I have not actually gone anywhere, really. I did move to my newly purchasedhome though, which is the cause of my absence. It took a few days to get the computer up and running, and then Bell didn't transfer my number from the old address to the new one.

Anyway, I thought I'd put a link to some news which ought to be of interest to t believers and non-believers alike on the qquestion of whether the Bible,specifically the gospels, are reliable historical guides.


Wednesday, August 03, 2005

There is no longer any doubt in my mind

That I am confortable with theological tensions. Check this out:

You scored as Evangelical Holiness/Wesleyan. You are an evangelical in the Wesleyan tradition. You believe that God's grace enables you to choose to believe in him, even though you yourself are totally depraved. The gift of the Holy Spirit gives you assurance of your salvation, and he also enables you to live the life of obedience to which God has called us. You are influenced heavly by John Wesley and the Methodists.

Evangelical Holiness/Wesleyan


Reformed Evangelical


Neo orthodox








Classical Liberal


Roman Catholic


Modern Liberal


What's your theological worldview?
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