Friday, February 19, 2016

From Certainty to Discovery - Jeff C. Clarke

My theological journey has less to do with changes made to specific theological categories, though many such changes have occurred, and more to do with the in which I engage in the theological task. 

In the past, my approach to theology and biblical studies could have been characterized as a strict, letter-of-the-law type attitude, that was determined to create the perfect, airtight theological system by seeking to ensure that every ‘t’ was crossed and every ‘i’ dotted.

As a result, I became very rigid in the way I approached theology and left little room for viewpoints that seemed, in my view, to color outside the lines. I was quick to judge theological ideas that did not fit neatly into my system and came to define people as either ‘in’ or ‘out.’

My theological posture was very rigid and often aggressive. I came to view Christian experience as suspect, holding out little possibility that it could add anything beneficial to my well-defined belief systems. I was all too eager to throw around words like heresy and heretic the moment I encountered what I thought was unorthodox theology.

In his book, Reformed and Always Reforming, Roger Olson briefly outlined the relationship between theological conservatives and fundamentalists as having:
a tendency toward harsh, polemical rhetoric and angry denunciations or ad hominem arguments when writing about fellow evangelicals with whom they disagree.
Sadly, this was true of me.

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