Thanks for the helpful clarification.
At 06:22 PM 12/19/1997 -0500, George Murphy wrote:
> What I have denied - or at least warned of the serious dangers
>of - is _independent_ natural theology, an attempt to learn about God
>independently of God's revelation to Israel which culminates in Christ.
> I don't deny that arguments for theism can (through the
>work of the Holy Spirit) bring people to a state in which they are
>willing to consider specifically Christian claims. But they can - &
>very often have - resulted in people thinking that "belief in God" is
>what is essential, & that Christ, cross, church, &c are secondary:
>"After all, we all believe in the same God, don't we?" This kind of
>thing has left its mark on the whole of western theology: The
>distinctively Christian understanding of God as Trinity is just a pious
>trailer to the supposedly "reasonable" belief in the unity of God, & the
>Incarnation is seen as a problem rather than an answer.
> Thus even if an independent natural theology can be defended in
>theory, it is very risky. Instead of doing apologetics that way, & try
>to get People to believe in the "Supreme Being" before they believe in
>Christ, why not ask them to consider the possibility that ultimate
>reality is seen in the one willing to be crucified to save the world?
>George L. Murphy