Re: [asa] on "baconianism" & American evangelicals

From: David Opderbeck <>
Date: Wed Mar 07 2007 - 21:34:45 EST

*Hodge is not the last word in either evangelical or Reformed theology. Ted
noted the common sense tradition he had with the Bible.*
This is true, and Mark Noll's "Scandal of the Evangelical Mind" was an
important part relatively recently of setting an agenda away from a
too-heavy reliance on common sense realism. Books & Culture, which was one
response to Noll's book, is in many ways a good start here too.

There are rumblings in a variety of areas in and around evangelicalism --
from folks like McGrath and Wright towards the center and Stan Grenz towards
the left on religious epistemology, to Peter Enns in a classicly Calvinist
and others like Donald Bloesch in a more Barthian mode on scripture, to some
of the more thoughtful emerging folks on ecclesiology, to the radical
orthodoxy movement on theological ethics -- away from the ossification of
the common sense tradition.

My sense is that there's a significant amount of intellectual capital in and
around evangelicalism that isn't so deeply committed to the common sense
tradition anymore. However, there also of course many who remain deeply
commited to it (e.g., folks like Geisler and many in the Biola school), and
many of those command lots of money and power at a popular level (e.g.,
folks like John MacArthur). I'm choosing to be a little optimistic, in that
I think the intellectual center of evangelicalism will continue to move
towards a more balanced position over the next decade or so.


On 3/7/07, Rich Blinne <> wrote:
> On 3/7/07, George Murphy <> wrote:
> >
> > Rich -
> >
> > Thanks for your suggestion on getting around the Outlook formatting.
> > I'm still puzzled on how to work *with* it. But now something more
> > substantive on your comments below.
> >
> > Scripture is to be the basis for evangelical theology but it is not just
> > bare "facts" or "raw data." As witness to God's revelation it already
> > contains theological reflection on the historical phenomena which constitute
> > that revelation. Moreover, it contains theological reflection from
> > different viewpoints or, to put it in a way that may be troubling for some
> > Christians, it contains different theologies, such as pro- & anti- monarchy
> > sources in I Samuel or Matthew & Paul. Theologians should not try to
> > "harmonize" these different theological viewpoints in simplistic ways (
> > e.g., by forcing Matthew into a Pauline mold) but should try to
> > understand how both can be seen as
> >
> >
> Hodge is not the last word in either evangelical or Reformed theology. Ted
> noted the common sense tradition he had with the Bible. I still sense a
> subtle moving away in his approach to systematics, however. Later
> systemeticians were doing a spiral approach and looking into more local
> harmonizations. N.T. Wright has, for example, done some good work in
> trying to place Paul more in their original context of Second Temple Judaism
> rather than a global harmonization. My sense is that theology -- what was
> once the queen of the sciences -- is developing on a parallel path as
> scientific methodology, moving from naive baconian, common sense, realism to
> a more iterative and theoretical approach. Speaking of which, John Gerstner
> in Wrongly Dividing the Word of Truth noted the common sense school approach
> to apologetics in Dispensational thought. Thus, paleo-evangelical thought
> appears to be remaining baconian while neo-evangelical thought is moving on
> from there, albeit at probably a slower pace than overall scientific
> community.
> Yes, I know I caught you in mid-thought, but even incomplete this was
> worthy of a response.

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Received on Wed Mar 7 21:34:54 2007

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