Re: RFEP and the Heartl of Christianity

From: George Murphy (
Date: Thu Sep 18 2003 - 10:06:40 EDT

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    Howard J. Van Till wrote:
    > From: <>
    > > Questions for Howard and the supporters of RFEP:
    > >
    > > I am still hoping for an explanation of how we are to understand basic
    > > Christian doctrines in light of the RFEP. It seems to eviscerate all the
    > > fundamental doctrines like Election, Virgin Birth, Prophecy, the
    > > Incarnation, Miracles of Christ and the Resurrection.
    > >
    > It's really quite simple. The RFEP is purposely stated in a way that, a)
    > limits its application to matters of the formational history of the
    > universe, and b) avoids a categorical denial of supernatural divine actions.
    > As such, it could be found theologically acceptable to a majority of persons
    > holding to traditional Christian doctrines. It could also be supplemented
    > with additional qualifications to comport with other theological systems,
    > including process theology, but process thought is not included within the
    > RFEP...............................

            I direct this not primarily to Howard (though of course he may comment, & we've
    gone around on this before) but to Richard & others with the types of concerns stated

            In my view the problem with RFEP is not its content but an attempt to state it
    as a doctrine independent of christology. Christology - & especially a theology of the
    crucified - is where we ought to begin. I think that the understanding of God which is
    developed on that basis makes possible an adequate formulation of something like RFEP
    while maintaining the "basic Christian doctrines."

            However, I would not include all the items Richard does as fundamental doctrines
    by which the church stands or falls. One does not need to see all prophecy as
    supernatural, not all the miracles stories of the NT record historical phenomena, &
    while I accept the virginal conception of Jesus it is _not_ a necessary condition for
    the Incarnation. To say that we should begin christologically is not to say that we
    should proceed uncritically.


    George L. Murphy

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