Liberal?

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Apr 12 2010 1:07 AM

ReneAtchley:
I would have far more trust and confidence in their analysis if I didn't understand it

Nicely done Big Smile

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

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spitzerpl | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Apr 12 2010 4:42 AM

Rosie Perera:
I think we all grow stronger in our faith the more we listen to other people's positions. If we can learn why we believe what we believe, and learn to defend it rationally when other positions are expressed, that can only be good for us.

I agree with this, however I do believe we need to understand the over-arching, thematic views someone takes as we read their writings. journeys are taken one step at a time and in understanding the ultimate place the author ends up we can understand where the "next step" we are reading about is leading to. It may be that he got the "next step" right but somewhere along the way went off onto a tangent.

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Rene Atchley | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Apr 12 2010 5:18 AM

Sometimes I think if we had a circle code of security or each work approved by an outside "safe" screener some of these questions would go away.   However, being a Christian community there would an endless discussion on the color scheme and problems with the make up of the "safe" reviewers board.  Perhaps the best thing to do is to look at each Logos product being examined  with the understand that one is using it at one's own risk...Logos can not be held liable for dangerous ideas or author's....Sad

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spitzerpl | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Apr 12 2010 5:34 AM

ReneAtchley:
being a Christian community there would an endless discussion on the color scheme and problems with the make up of the "safe" reviewers board. 

Anything short of a Big Blue "D" (Duke symbol) would not meet my wife's approval. Then again, maybe the Duke symbol is not the best one to use to give those looking for evangelical scholars confidence :-)

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Graham Owen | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Apr 12 2010 7:23 AM

Rosie Perera:
I've grown a lot since then. I would now say the same thing to others who are afraid of reading anything by liberals. My fear had been that I might be persuaded by them and move more towards their position (God forbid!). Well, well, well. If they have something persuasive to say, maybe I ought to listen to it

I think that a lot of people share the fear of being subverted by 'liberal theology' sadly most of them don't actually know what they mean by that. Its a bit like the ten commandments its easier to get an amen from the congregation by saying we believe in them than it is to get someone from the congregation to name them all! I know that saying we don't believe in 'liberal theology' will get a real big amen whem I'm preaching but very few people can articulate what it means.

I teach people that they have to know what they believe and that what they believe MUST be based on the Bible and ONLY the Bible. It is frightening how much the average Christian believes that is not actually in the text but comes from the Pericope Titles, Traditions, a famous (or not so fkanous) preacher's interpretaion and through what it does not say (inference). I have been accused of being a liberal for highlighting these types of error to others!

I agree with an earlier comment about the liberal approach to the Bible, I believe that the Bible is the inerrant Word of God and in saying that I accept the challenges that are associated with holding that position. I would also add that liberal theology typically denies the supernatural nature of God and seeks undermine God's supremacy by elevating the status of man. In my opinion it is the last of these, the elevation of man, that has had the biggest negative impact on evangelical theology in the 20 to 30 years.

God Bless

Graham

Pastor - NTCOG Basingstoke

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Al | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Apr 12 2010 9:51 AM
Graham Owen:

Liberal, like every other label, is relative and difficult to define other than perhaps at the extremes or as a stereo type. Also, assuming that your concern is theological, remember that a dictionary like AYBD will contain a lot of articles where the theological disposition of the writer will not actually make a lot of difference. Also with dictionaries its always worth checking in multiple different ones to see what they have to say and whether there is a consensus.Personally I have found that liberal does not necessarily equal bad and I try not to dismiss anything simply because the author holds a different theological position to mine.

 

And there would be those who would say that conservative does not necessarily equal bad. One of the best things I learned from my pastoral care professor in seminary is that all truth is perspectival.

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Apr 12 2010 12:30 PM

Graham Owen:
I would also add that liberal theology typically denies the supernatural nature of God

Again I view I've not run into. Can you give me some names. Thanks.

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

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Alan Macgregor | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Apr 12 2010 1:13 PM

At Glasgow University, while training for the ministry, from 1988-91 I had the privilege of working closely as a mature (40+) undergraduate in a small faculty of Divinity with several fine scholars whose theological persuasion was far from mine but from whom I learned a great deal – John Riches, John Barclay and Ernest (Paddy) Best in New Testament and Robert Davidson, Alistair Hunter and Robert Carroll in Old Testament.

It was the late, great Bob Carroll (SCM Commentary on Jeremiah), a self-confessed atheist who taught me Aramaic texts in a class of one! (there was no place to hide!) I loved it, though it was hard work – Daniel, Ezra and Genesis Apocryphon in two terms)! He used to say in exegeting the Aramaic texts in Daniel, "Don't let your theological presuppositions get in the way! What does the text say?"

Bob Davidson was brilliant on Wisdom literature, esp. Psalms and Qoheleth.

John Barclay on Paul. Wow!

John Riches (one of the co-translators of Bultmann's Commentary on John) on John's Gospel.

Paddy Best on Mark (his life's work).

These fellows opened my eyes and taught me how to handle the biblical texts in the original languages, but they never tried to change my convictions, even though they didn't share them.

I am so grateful to have known and learned from these fellows … and I'm still a Calvinist 5-Pointer! SDG.

John Kight:
 I just got the Anchor Bible Dictionary. I was wondering if anyone who owns it would be kind enough to point me in the direction of the more liberal articles? I want to know what to look out for! Thanks againGeeked

So, John (OP), don't be afraid of reading people whose theology differs from yours. They can still inform your mind, as long as the Lord has your heart!

Every blessing

Alan

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Ken Shawver | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Apr 12 2010 1:37 PM

Rosie Perera:
I remember when I first heard a friend of mine in seminary say "I've actually learned a lot from liberals" and I was appalled. I've grown a lot since then. I would now say the same thing to others who are afraid of reading anything by liberals. My fear had been that I might be persuaded by them and move more towards their position (God forbid!). Well, well, well. If they have something persuasive to say, maybe I ought to listen to it. And if I'm so weak in my own theology that I could be persuaded away from it merely by listening to someone else talk about their position, then maybe I'm hanging onto my beliefs by a very thin thread indeed. I think we all grow stronger in our faith the more we listen to other people's positions. If we can learn why we believe what we believe, and learn to defend it rationally when other positions are expressed, that can only be good for us. And if we find that the foundations upon which our beliefs were based are erroneous or shaky, then maybe it's best to rethink them. And by a strong faith I'm not talking about a tenacious clinging to something despite evidence or arguments to the contrary. I'm talking about a calm, well-examined faith that holds up to scrutiny and isn't afraid of open questions.

Rosie, well stated. If all we listen to is those with identical positions and steer away from other's opinions we can grow compacent and not be able to defend our beliefs. Also, by listening to others may open us up to allow the Holy Spirit to stir something up in our spirit to makes us take a hard look at something we hold dear. Just maybe, we might be taught something from the Holy Spirit to show us something we held as accurate wasn't and we need to dig deepr into the Father's Word and get to His truth.

 

In Christ,

Ken

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Alain Maashe | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Apr 12 2010 1:41 PM

MJ. Smith:

Graham Owen:
I would also add that liberal theology typically denies the supernatural nature of God

Again I view I've not run into. Can you give me some names. Thanks.

Where to start? So many scholars, so little time

The majority of the entries in series like  the Anchor Yale Bible Commentary, Hermeneia, Old Testament library and so on...adopt an anti-supernaturalistic stance (a cornerstone of higher criticism (as understood by "liberals") that is still the majority approach when dealing with historical questions and the supernatural in the Bible). The willingness of evangelical to accept miracles and revelation is one of the main reason why the above school of thought is reticent to call what they do "scholarship" or even interact with them in issues involving historicity and the supernatural (ah! the things that bibliographies will reveal).

 

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Apr 12 2010 2:23 PM

Alain Maashe:
The majority of the entries in series like  the Anchor Yale Bible Commentary, Hermeneia, Old Testament library and so on...adopt an anti-supernaturalistic stance (a cornerstone of higher criticism (as understood by "liberals") that is still the majority approach when dealing with historical questions and the supernatural in the Bible). The willingness of evangelical to accept miracles and revelation is one of the main reason why the above school of thought is reticent to call what they do "scholarship" or even interact with them in issues involving historicity and the supernatural (ah! the things that bibliographies will reveal).

Thanks for attempting an answer Alain, but  I fear you've left me even more confused. To me, "the majority" of the entries in the AYBC would include nothing relating the (anti-)supernatural nature of God. And certainly miracles and revelation are not unique to evangelicals. So thanks for trying but I hope Graham Owen answers with more concrete examples.

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

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Alain Maashe | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Apr 12 2010 3:04 PM

MJ. Smith:

Alain Maashe:
The majority of the entries in series like  the Anchor Yale Bible Commentary, Hermeneia, Old Testament library and so on...adopt an anti-supernaturalistic stance (a cornerstone of higher criticism (as understood by "liberals") that is still the majority approach when dealing with historical questions and the supernatural in the Bible). The willingness of evangelical to accept miracles and revelation is one of the main reason why the above school of thought is reticent to call what they do "scholarship" or even interact with them in issues involving historicity and the supernatural (ah! the things that bibliographies will reveal).

Thanks for attempting an answer Alain, but  I fear you've left me even more confused. To me, "the majority" of the entries in the AYBC would include nothing relating the (anti-)supernatural nature of God. And certainly miracles and revelation are not unique to evangelicals. So thanks for trying but I hope Graham Owen answers with more concrete examples.

MJ

You will notice that I did not use Graham exact wording

Unless I am mistaken, Graham was referring (despite the ambiguous language) to an anti-supernaturalistic bias (which is not so much a denial that God is supernatural (although it often implies His non-existence), but a denial that He intervenes in the universe through miracles. instead such stance would try to find a naturalistic and "rational" explanation to miraculous events reported in the Bible). "the majority" of the entries in the AYBC take such naturalistic stance.

it is also possible that Graham's mention of "the (anti-)supernatural nature of God" refers to the reason behind a denial of the supernatural in the Bible: If one denies the existence of a personal God (God being merely a concept or idea used to explain life), the result is the same, the supernatural and revelation that are supposedly coming from God are also denied and the Bible is merely a human product .

My point was not to claim that evangelicals are the only one that believe in miracles, instead, I used a group I know very well as an example illustrating my point.

Alain

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Alain Maashe | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Apr 12 2010 3:11 PM

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I have the impression that two parallel conversations are going on at the same time and this might confuse more than help.

What follows is written from an Evangelical viewpoint (which is usually the context is which issues pertaining to "liberals" are raised)

No one is denying that is it good and healthy to be exposed to various theological systems (Calvinism, Arminianism, cessationism, continualism, dispensational theology, covenant theology, and so on). The caveat is that the systems must be within the framework of biblical orthodoxy. I understand that defining “biblical orthodoxy” might be tricky at times however, there are doctrines that clearly fall within that framework : the deity of Christ and His status as the Messiah and savior, salvation by grace, the inspiration and authority of the Bible, the possibility of revelation and the miraculous.  Paul and other biblical writers clearly addressed some of those issues and merely assumed the factuality of the rest.  

While is it good to encourage all believers to wrestle with the former issues, it is irresponsible to ask new believers or those immature in their faith to study works that seek to undermine the latter expressions of “Biblical orthodoxy”. I would not encourage new convert to read Bart Ehrman, authors from the Copenhagen school, and other writers whose chief goals is to undermine “biblical orthodoxy” and its foundations.  They should not begin by reading those works precisely because they do not have the necessary spiritual discernment to handle them. I am in no way arguing that Christians should under no circumstances read such books, I am arguing that those immature in their faith have little if anything to gain in reading them and a lot to lose if they read those works. Paul himself was of the inspired opinion that not all teaching was profitable, even asking to silence some “deceivers” (Titus 1:11). He was pretty clear about what to do concerning teachings that “oppose the truth” (against I am not referring to secondary issues but to issues foundational to the faith). Why we might not agree on the details, the biblical testimony shows that such issues exist.

I understand that everything is not black and white and that many often fight for their own “truth” and secondary issues, however, abuse of a principle should not preclude usage.

My own library has books from the entire theological spectrum, they are all valuable to me, but they are useful for different things (I do not seek to grow my faith from works bent on attacking it, their usefulness lies elsewhere as indicated in a previous post). I would not recommend some of the books to a new convert and I often need to take a spiritual “shower” after reading some of the book because they do not further “the administration of God which is by faith. (1Ti 1:4)” even if they are useful for something else. some works should be left to the discerning reader

 Spiritual maturity is not the ability to read everything out there and believe one would remain unaffected (the principle is the same for physical food: you eat junk, your body produces junk, from unhealthy fat to heart attacks), instead spiritual maturity is the ability discern good from evil and seek the things that make one grow in the knowledge of Christ as presented in the scriptures (Heb 5:12-14).

Alain

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Matthew C Jones | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Apr 12 2010 3:20 PM

ReneAtchley:
Perhaps the best thing to do is to look at each Logos product being examined  with the understand that one is using it at one's own risk...Logos can not be held liable for dangerous ideas or author's....Sad

Quite right! I have a several things in my library I would not subject young Christians to reading. My children do not access my Mormon, JW, Vedic, or Buddhist literature.There may come a day when they need to study these for legitimate reasons but for now I only provide them with the skills to study and reason.

There is no way Logos can officially endorse every viewpoint it publishes. Too many are contradictory.

As Alan Macgregor just said above, "...don't be afraid of reading people whose theology differs from yours. They can still inform your mind, as long as the Lord has your heart!"

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Graham Owen | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Apr 12 2010 3:24 PM

MJ. Smith:
I hope Graham Owen answers with more concrete examples.

Its late so here's a starter from a Logos resource...

modernism 1. Ideology arising out of the Enlightenment, often allied with liberalism, that hold that all forms of knowledge, including theology, must accept the laws of scientific validity and certitude, conform to the standards of reason, be intellectually coherent, and relate to human experience. 2. Movement within the Roman Catholic Church aimed at revising Catholic theology to conform to the standards and practices of modern culture, especially at establishing the compatibility of intellectual inquiry and faith. It arose independently in various countries as a reaction against dogmatics and Scholasticism, and flourished from the late nineteenth century to the early twentieth century. It declined after it was formally condemned by Pius X in 1907.

The three leading ideas of modernism were: 1. Critical view of the inerrancy of the Bible and adoption of considerable scepticism over its miraculous elements. The Bible was to be understood as the partial unfolding of divine plan in history. 2. Subordination of doctrine to practice. Christianity was interpreted as a moral scheme rather than as a creed or theological system. 3. Indifference toward history and skepticism toward Christian origins. Spirituality and salvation had less to do with the finished work of Jesus Christ than with the moral development of mankind.

Among the leaders of the modernist movement were Alfred F. Loisy, Maurice Blondel, E. I. Mignot, L. Laberthonniere, and Edouard Le Roy in France; Romolo Murri and A. Fogazzaro in Italy; and F. von Hugel and G. Tyrrell in England. It was finally condemned as the “synthesis of all heresies,” by St. Pius X in 1907 by the decree “Lamentabili” and the encyclical “Pascendi.” In 1910 all clerics were required to take an anti-modernist oath at their ordination. In Protestant churches, modernism has persisted throughout the twentieth century, leading to the reconstruction of the Christian faith as a system of ethics and adoption of a higher critical posture toward the Bible.

In New Testament studies, modernism expressed itself in a quest for a historical Jesus and in efforts to demythologize Jesus Christ. The leaders of Protestant modernism were F. D. E. Schleiermacher and A. Ritschl in Germany, R. J. Campbell in England, and H. E. Fosdick in the United States. It was embodied in the Broad Church movement in England and New England theology in the United States. 

Kurian, G. T. (2001). Nelson's new Christian dictionary : The authoritative resource on the Christian world. Nashville, Tenn.: Thomas Nelson Pubs.

God Bless

Graham

Pastor - NTCOG Basingstoke

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Apr 12 2010 3:43 PM

Matthew C Jones:
My children do not access my Mormon, JW, Vedic, or Buddhist literature

Ah, now I know where I went wrong. In the summer following my first year of high-school, I was sent off to a two week Junior Engineers and Scientists Summer Instute. From the bookstore of the Christian College campus on which it was held, I came back with 2 Confucian and 1 Taoist Penguin paperbacks. Do you remember when they were 50 or 75 cents apieceWink I think I already had Buddhist texts but not Vedic texts in my library. That explains it all - why priests say my theology is so conservative it is positively Medieval.Big Smile

Note: my father and his father were strictly independent Church of Christ.

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Apr 12 2010 3:47 PM

Graham Owen:

Its late so here's a starter from a Logos resource...

 

modernism

Thanks. I now understand what you were referring to - it was terminology that had tripped me up.

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

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Jim Dunne | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Apr 12 2010 4:48 PM

Matthew C Jones:

ReneAtchley:
Perhaps the best thing to do is to look at each Logos product being examined  with the understand that one is using it at one's own risk...Logos can not be held liable for dangerous ideas or author's....Sad

Quite right! I have a several things in my library I would not subject young Christians to reading. My children do not access my Mormon, JW, Vedic, or Buddhist literature.There may come a day when they need to study these for legitimate reasons but for now I only provide them with the skills to study and reason.

There is no way Logos can officially endorse every viewpoint it publishes. Too many are contradictory.

As Alan Macgregor just said above, "...don't be afraid of reading people whose theology differs from yours. They can still inform your mind, as long as the Lord has your heart!"

 

Matt,

This is excellent.  My hackles start to rise whenever I hear (read) anyone suggesting that we should attempt to interfere with anyone reading anything - but your analysis puts this issue in an easily acceptable (for me) context.  It's much the same reasoning that libraries use when theyissue juvenile library cards to young readers - they're not saying "no you can't read that" - it's more like they're saying "no, you're not ready to read that YET."

Thanks,

Jim D.

 

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Matthew C Jones | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Apr 12 2010 6:03 PM

MJ. Smith:
Note: my father and his father were strictly independent Church of Christ.

Biggest mistake I ever made was letting my 16 yr old start attending the local Jr. College. Just because she is intellectually gifted does not mean she was prepared for spiritual challenges.Now I do a lot more praying .

Many think we owe an equal consideration to all divergent views. We should weigh the content of the views and reject those that don't hold up under scrutiny. I have had to adjust some of my own views in life but I will never accept off-the-wall stuff if it can't pass the muster test. I don't care if the progenitor is minority, highly educated, or of different cultural background. That's why I like the Bereans; Don't even trust Apostles until you check the Word! Hmm 

 

btw: My father is Independent Christian Church

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Apr 12 2010 6:22 PM

Matthew C Jones:
Biggest mistake I ever made was letting my 16 yr old start attending the local Jr. College.

One of the most important things my Father taught me from an early age was how to argue - much to Mother's dismay. Smile However, it taught me how to reason and find errors in reasoning - something my teacher for 4th-6th grades did not appreciate Sad What it truly taught me was to listen - to understand a different point of view so that I judge and respond to what is actually believed rather than what others think is believed.

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

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