Re: RFEP and the Heartl of Christianity

From: Michael Roberts (
Date: Thu Sep 18 2003 - 14:30:16 EDT

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    Surely Christianity is based onm redemption in Christ, George is absolutelty
    right. More our focus off-centre as does Howard and others we inevitably
    downplay redemption and thus move in afirst a vaguely religious direction
    (pace the Peacocke approach) which underplays salvation, then unitarianism,
    to desim and ultimately to atheism.

    Sorry to be brief and blunt but I think this is what George is getting at

    ----- Original Message -----
    From: "George Murphy" <>
    To: "Howard J. Van Till" <>
    Cc: <>
    Sent: Thursday, September 18, 2003 3:06 PM
    Subject: Re: RFEP and the Heartl of Christianity

    > 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
    > > > 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
    > >
    > > As such, it could be found theologically acceptable to a majority of
    > > holding to traditional Christian doctrines. It could also be
    > > with additional qualifications to comport with other theological
    > > including process theology, but process thought is not included within
    > > RFEP...............................
    > I direct this not primarily to Howard (though of course he may comment, &
    > gone around on this before) but to Richard & others with the types of
    concerns stated
    > above.
    > 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
    > 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.
    > Shalom,
    > George
    > George L. Murphy

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