Re: Response to Howard on Tillich & Bultmann

From: Michael Roberts (
Date: Thu May 22 2003 - 16:46:16 EDT

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    Howard has raised many issues, both theological and how one's faith

    At the risk of being personal I wonder whether the pressure he has received
    from fundamentalists has not helped. I do think that typical fundamentalist
    viciousness does push people away from an evangelical position, as the
    behaviour does not match faith claims.
    I first suffered it in 1971 when studying under Schaeffer at L'abri. As I
    had just finished a spell as a geologist in Africa and was going to seminary
    his son-in-law was insistent that Iread all the YEC stuff then available.
    Within a day I told him that TGF was dishonest nonsense or words to that
    effect. (In case lawyers are watching , this is what I said and may not be
    what I hold today.) After that I got the treatment being accused of going
    liberal etc etc etc. They definitely made me question all my good
    evangelical training!!
    In 1974 I was ordained to 2 successive narrow evangelical parishes and in
    the second the Vicar (chief minister = rector) decided I was not a Christian
    because I was not always telling people the day and time of my conversion. I
    was given a lot of help by a good liberal Rector from a nearby church. I
    went on to another church determined not to be an evangelical, though I was
    and am one doctrinally. Sometime later I got to know some evangelical
    clergy who did not have that vicious streak so I slowly began to identify
    myself as an evangelical again, though many would consider me rather wayward
    and even liberal!!
    Fortunately since 1980 I have been "my own boss" in middle of the road
    Anglican parishes - i.e. one without a strong evangelical past - so I dont
    have to worry about heresy hunts, even if my previous bishop in Wales
    thought I was fundamentalist. My present who is somewhat liberal was
    surprised when I said I was evangelical as things are relaxed around here.

    Now having followed the creationist debacle since 1971 I am appalled by the
    repulsive satanic attitude of certain creationists in trying to pillory
    scientific evangelicals as is shown by the attacks on Wonderley , Terry and
    Howard and they are not alone. The behaviour towards them has been
    unchristian in the extreme and is enough to put many people of the Christian

    I have to admit I prefer to be in the Anglican church with its Spongs than
    with a lost of Creationists who will excommunicate me if I suggest Adam had
    a navel (which of course he got because he was attached to his mother's

    I thought a more subjective approach was better at present rather than
    looking at the theology as our faith is a matter of head and heart.

    I hope Howard does not mind me replying like this, but it does illustrate
    the sheer damage that the bigotry associated with YEA does. My own
    conclusion is that this bigotry is integral to YEA and why
    Creation/evolution questions cause so much friction and hurt and division.
    On this last point "division" YEA must be considered a heresy, because that
    is what the word means.


    ----- Original Message -----
    From: "Howard J. Van Till" <>
    To: <>
    Sent: Thursday, May 22, 2003 6:32 PM
    Subject: Re: Response to Howard on Tillich & Bultmann

    > To all who have responded to this chain and the "prayer parallel" chain,
    > thanks for the interesting conversation so far. It gives each of us a
    > to sharpen our own positions. I may come back to it in days to come. For
    > moment, however, I have to prepare for a "search committee" meeting at
    > church, then a few days with guests & misc. events. Keep the conversation
    > going. I'll try to take a quick peek from time to time.
    > Howard Van Till

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