Re: [asa] RE: (fall-away) TE and apologetics

From: John Walley <>
Date: Sun Sep 20 2009 - 20:38:43 EDT

Mark, I contend that the importance of the theological component of your RTB to TE journey was directly proportional to your investment in it beforehand. It was the same with going from YEC to RTB. The more you were bought in to all the arguments for the age of the earth, the more you had to unlearn before you could go forward. Inerrancy is the perfect theological example. I was never totally sold on that for lots of reasons but maily because it just never seemed to make any sense to me even though I tried hard to believe it to be a good Christian but just never really could. Also, I had only heard of the YEC party line but was never really bought into it so it was much easier for me to let it all go with no serious emotional toll on me. Likewise the same with theology. So I contend there is an advantage to not making an irrevocable commitment if you can't really be sure about it. It just never was that important to me or that essential. This again was providential revelation at least in my case. John ________________________________ From: Mark Whorton <> To:; John Burgeson (ASA member) <>; John Walley <>; "Dehler, Bernie" <> Cc: asa <> Sent: Sunday, September 20, 2009 7:51:42 PM Subject: Re: [asa] RE: (fall-away) TE and apologetics Pardon me for inserting myself in mid stream, but I completely agree with George.  In my evolution from YEC to progressive creation, I had to make the transition in the context of a biblical worldview.  I had to work out the relevant theological issues systematically.  Likewise as I was forced into TE by the strength of the evidence and the insufferable insistence of John Walley ;-), I had to have another paradigm evolution based on systematic theology.  What I am saying is this -- a Christian must integrate what they believe about the world with what they believe to be true about God and His nature.  For me this meant that as a Southern Baptist I had to jettison the doctrine of inerrancy as taught in our Sunday School classes in light of a better understanding of what is meant by the authority and inspiration of Scripture.  Pure and simple, that is theology.  It did not mean that "theology is incorrect" by any means.  It meant that I had to
 integrate the science and my understanding (slight but hopefully growing) understanding of God's self-revelation into an evolving systematic theology. Pardon me for being so focused on my story,  but I think it illustrates the evolution that must take place in a Christian who is actively seeking to learn and grow.  Hopefully by God's grace I am making slow progress in that direction. Mark  Whorton ________________________________ From: "" <> To: John Burgeson (ASA member) <>; John Walley <>; "Dehler, Bernie" <> Cc: asa <>; Sent: Sunday, September 20, 2009 12:06:11 AM Subject: Re: [asa] RE: (fall-away) TE and apologetics Of course I meant dismissal of theology in general, not of particular theologies.  & of course there are bad as well as good theologies.  But if theology is the practice of faith in search of understanding - or simply thinking about what one believes & its implications - then dismissal of theology in general is by definition anti-intellectual.  Since the Christian message involves claims about God's relationship with the real world, any theology that conflicts with what is known to be true about the world is defective, the seriousness of the conflict determining the degree of defect.  On that count any theology that insists that the world is young or that evolution hasn't occurred is defective.  In fact, what you've been doing in trying to make sense of your faith when you take evolution seriously is precisely theology.  It's important though to have some guidance in such an enterprise, & the theological tradition can help with that (though it's not infallible).  & part of the process is separating the wheat from the chaff. C.S. Lewis described a talk on theology he'd given to some men in the RAF, after which one man stood up and said that all that armchair stuff was all very well for intellectuals but that he'd known the presence of God when he was out in the desert at night without any of that formal theology.  (It's been awhile since I read this so I may not have the details right but that's the gist of it.)  Lewis replied that he had no doubt that the man had had such experiences.  But how far would they take a person?  It's a bit like what you need if you're going to sail the Atlantic from Europe to America, he said.  Of course nautical charts wouldn't give you any sense of what it would be like to be out on the ocean in a boat.  But feelings wouldn't get you from Portsmouth to New York and a nautical chart could. Shalom, George ---- John Walley <> wrote: > > Any dismissal of theology amounts to an endorsement of an anti-intellectual "spirituality." George, my only response to this is that from my laymen's perspective, I look around and see that the theology that I have been exposed to, at least in the evangelical church, amounts to primarily YEC and maybe PC, with a sprinkling of ID thrown in, but all united in bashing evolution and science. I don't have a lot of confidence in the usefulness of of at least that theology seeing what a bang up job it did for them and the resulting stellar influence they have on intellectuals in our culture. I had to divorce myself from all of it to find truth on my own in TE through my own studies and here on the ASA list, with little help from theology. If that is anti-intellectual "spirituality" then I am guilty as charged. But in contrast, my friend Richard Howe and his brother, both PhD seminary professors and one fluent in Hebrew, both well read and educated in theology and quite proud of their particular brand of it and at the top of the heap in evangelicalism, but militant YECs to the core, are they the fruits of studying theology and the exemplar representatives of it you are referring to? I don't think so. I don't think theology is the secret formula to truth or a pre or post requisite, I think it is "spiritual" discernment which is in turn the result of revelation. That is what Peter had and all the first century Christians. Anti-intellectual, maybe, but I contend it has served me better than theology has compared to most of the people I have met. John ----- Original Message ---- From: "" <> To: John Burgeson (ASA member) <>; John Walley <>; "Dehler, Bernie" <> Cc: asa <> Sent: Friday, September 18, 2009 10:20:59 PM Subject: Re: [asa] RE: (fall-away) TE and apologetics Granted that our theologies are at best imperfect & may even be "impertinent."  But theology is essentilally an attempt to understand what we believe and its implications.  We are, after all, to love God with all our mind as well as heart, soul & strength.  Any dismissal of theology amounts to an endorsement of an anti-intellectual "spirituality." Shalom, George  ---- John Walley <> wrote: > Wow. I really like the SDG and JofA and quotes below. I agree that is what our faith has to be based on, our own personal experiential revelation. Everything else is sinking sand. That is the example Jesus gave us in the NT as well. When Jesus challenged Peter, he confirmed his response by saying that "flesh and blood has not revealed this to you". So I contend it has to be today as well. This is consistent with Burgy's comment below. I am intentionally and blissfully ignorant of most of the infinite man-made theologies referenced below, and I don't think I am missing much. It is much more important to be like Peter (and JofA) and recognize God's revelation when you experience it. > > I also agree the secret is not to get hung up on #5. > > John > > >   > > > ----- Original Message ---- > From: John Burgeson (ASA member) <> > To: "Dehler, Bernie" <> > Cc: asa <> > Sent: Friday, September 18, 2009 4:25:41 PM > Subject: Re: [asa] RE: (fall-away) TE and apologetics > > If I understand you, Bernie, you went through these steps: > > 1 The Bible is inerrant. > 2  Some of the scientific atatements in the Bible are incorrect. > 3 Some of the biblical statements about history are incorrect > 4 Therefore the Bible is not inerrant. > 5 Therefore the theology (as you understand it) in the Bible must also > be incorrect. > 6 Therefore it is not possible(intellectually) to be a Christian. > > Do I have it about right? > > I went through points 1-4 myself, some years ago. I did not hang up on > #5 because I had studied enough that I recognized that "theologies" > are man-made, not God-made, and that there are almost an infinite > number of theologies that one can construct from the Bible. > > Theology, to me, is terribly interesting, but not terribly important. > One of the most incisive comment I have encountered about this issue > was penned by Nathanial Hawthorne. . "So long as an unlettered soul > can attain > to saving grace there would seem to be no deadly error in holding > theological libraries to be accumulations of, for the most part, > stupendous impertinence. -- Hawthorne (Preface to Twice-told Tales) > > Another quotation: > > I do not place my faith in writings, nor in creeds, nor in the > statements of scholars and philosophers, but in the living and present > Christ, infinitely beyond any human expression. Soli Deo Gloria > (author unknown) > > "God" is just our name for the devine infinite. It does not define Him. > > Joan of Arc, when asked by the bishops "Do you not believe that what > you call your voice from God is really nothing more than your > imagination?" To this she replied, "Of course it is my imagination. > How else does God speak to us?" > > Cheers > > Burgy > > > -- > Burgy > > > > To unsubscribe, send a message to with > "unsubscribe asa" (no quotes) as the body of the message. > > > >      > > > To unsubscribe, send a message to with > "unsubscribe asa" (no quotes) as the body of the message. To unsubscribe, send a message to with "unsubscribe asa" (no quotes) as the body of the message.

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Received on Sun Sep 20 20:39:28 2009

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