Re: [asa] Moderate Theology

From: Iain Strachan <igd.strachan@gmail.com>
Date: Sat Oct 13 2007 - 04:15:36 EDT

Dick,

I think your label "conservative" is a mis-nomer. Maybe things are
different here in the United Kingdom than in the USA, but when I was at
University ('77-'81), I was in the Christian Union, which was always
considered "Conservative" and indeed there were many bitter battles with
"liberal" Christians, such as progressive theologians like John A.T. "Honest
to God" Robinson, who happened to be the Dean of my college chapel. I did
not partake in these battles, but yet I would still have considered myself
to be a "Conservative Christian". However, I had no problem with evolution
and I can't recall anyone I knew in the Christian Union that pushed for a
literalist interpretation of the early chapters of Genesis.

I would have said that my views on early Genesis at the time were closer to
what you call "liberal" theology. Not much has changed today. A close
friend of mine and colleague who was a lay preacher at my church
(Conservative, Evangelical, with charismatic tendencies), told me that in
his training as a lay preacher, he was taught that Genesis was "mythology".
He also pointed out that "mythology" is a bad way to describe it nowadays
because in modern usage, the term "myth" has very negative connotations (e.g.
how many websites do you see that say "Top 10 myths about xxxxx busted". A
better description would be that of Origen's writing about 200 AD who said:

"I do not think anyone will doubt that these are figurative expressions
which indicate certain mysteries through a semblance of history".

I think I would subscribe to that, and yet would consider myself (and many
people in my church of the same view) as "conservative evangelicals". What
you describe is a strictly "Creationist" view (generally of the Young Earth
variety), and what I would say, here in the pagan UK, is that YEC is NOT the
same as Conservative.

I'm also intrigued as to why under "moderate theology" you state that the
KJV is the preferred translation. Could you elaborate on why?

Iain

On 10/13/07, Dick Fischer <dickfischer@verizon.net> wrote:
>
> Michael Zimmerman who is responsible for the Clergy Letter Project (
> www.evolutionsunday.org) will be in our area 21-24 October. I hope to get
> a chance to meet with him and discuss possibly getting some traction for a
> "Moderate Theology." Since my book, *Historical Genesis*, is not out yet
> all I can say at this point is please assume there is ample justification to
> consider Genesis 2-11 as a historical account of the origination of the
> Adamites and Semites. Here then is brief summary of some of the highlights
> of conservative, liberal, and moderate theology, side by side. Please
> scrutinize this tentative list and comment affirmatively or negatively as
> the Spirit leads you. Naturally I'm biased and can see the specks in your
> eyes unperturbed by the log in mine, but I am earnestly soliciting your
> objections, corrections, and comments.
>
>
>
> Moderate Theology
>
>
>
> Predominantly, Christians use one of two methods of apology, conservative
> and liberal, and Christians tend to be polarized between these opposite
> extremes. The following summaries are generalizations only, and are not
> intended to represent every shade of Christian belief. Moderate Theology
> attempts to borrow from the two polar extremes keeping the good points from
> each and discarding unworkable methods of accommodation. Bible, science,
> and history are all given the utmost respect and consideration with a view
> that in the end all truth should be reconcilable.
>
>
>
> Some Characteristics of a Conservative Theology
>
>
>
> 1. Genesis 1-11 is interpreted as the factual history of the
> creation of all mankind.
>
> 2. A "literal" interpretation of Genesis 1-11 is advocated, but
> flawed by inconsistent exegesis.
>
> 3. The Bible alone is seen as sufficient for all understanding,
> history is ignored, and science subverted.
>
> 4. The Bible is usually seen as inerrant either as translated or in
> the original manuscripts.
>
> 5. The "days" of creation in Genesis 1 are interpreted as 24-hour
> periods with Adam's creation on the sixth day.
>
> 6. No physical death occurred in the animal world until Adam
> committed Original Sin.
>
> 7. No genetic links are allowed between species, all animals and
> especially man were brought into being through individual acts of special
> creation
>
> 8. Adam is considered the progenitor of the entire human race and
> lived approximately 6,000 years ago.
>
> 9. The fossil record was distributed by a global flood that
> destroyed all animal and human life with the exception of Noah, his
> immediate family, and a boatload of animals.
>
> 10. All the world's languages commenced at the tower of Babel.
>
>
>
> Some Characteristics of Liberal Theology
>
>
>
> 1. Genesis 1-11 is interpreted as a theological presentation of
> human creation.
> 2. Adam represents the first human being who may have lived over
> 100,000 years ago, or perhaps he didn't live at all.
> 3. Genesis 1-11 may be understood as allegory, poetry, mythology, or
> tradition.
> 4. Genesis 1-11 has theological value, but is considered factually
> flawed.
> 5. A relationship with Christ guides our understanding as the Holy
> Spirit reveals what is important.
> 6. Biblical interpretation is a matter of faith, though influenced
> by the revelations of science.
> 7. The Bible is considered to be authoritative and divinely
> inspired, though not inerrant.
> 8. The "days" of creation in Genesis 1 usually are considered as
> "day-age" and may be realigned.
> 9. The Genesis flood may have been a local inundation perhaps
> borrowed from Sumerian epic tales.
> 10. Modern science generally is taken at full face value, and Bible
> and science are reconciled by subordinating Scripture.
>
>
>
>
>
> Some Characteristics of Moderate Theology
>
>
>
> 1. Genesis 1-11 is considered the factual history of the Semites,
> not the entire human race.
> 2. A literal interpretation of Genesis 1-11 is advocated coupled
> with sound, consistent exegesis, and mindful of archaic Hebrew language
> peculiarities.
> 3. Scripture considered inerrant in the autographs, but suffers from
> errors in transmission, translation, and interpretation.
> 4. KJV is preferred translation, though needs revision in light of
> historical evidence.
> 5. The "days" of creation are seen as days of God's time, not man's
> time.
> 6. Adam is considered to be the federal head of the human race, the
> biological head of the Semitic race, and the first to receive God's
> covenant.
> 7. Faith alone has proved insufficient for understanding.
> 8. Scripture can be clarified by Scripture, and Bible interpreters
> need to consider revelations of modern science and ancient history.
> 9. Impartial, unbiased data and evidence should guide us in
> formulating theories of understanding, both theological and scientific.
> 10. Scientific theories are best left to credentialed scientists.
> Modern science poses no threat to Genesis 1-11, correctly interpreted in
> accord with the history of the ancient Near East.
>
>
>
> Quick Contrast
>
>
>
> View of Scripture
>
> 1. Conservative: High View, inerrancy upheld.
>
> 2. Liberal: Genesis not considered historically accurate.
>
> 3. Moderate: High View, inerrancy upheld.
>
>
>
> History of the Ancient Near East
>
> 1. Conservative: Ignored.
>
> 2. Liberal: Ignored
>
> 3. Moderate: Given weight in interpretation of Scripture.
>
>
>
> Science
>
> 1. Conservative: Subverted to biblical interpretation.
>
> 2. Liberal: Given full consideration.
>
> 3. Moderate: Given full consideration.
>
>
>
> Please feel free to flail away.
>
>
>
> Thanks!
>
>
>
> Dick Fischer
>
> Dick Fischer, Genesis Proclaimed Association
>
> Finding Harmony in Bible, Science, and History
>
> www.genesisproclaimed.org
>
>
>
>
>

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Received on Sat Oct 13 04:17:06 2007

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