Re: [asa] Nativity story- genealogy issue?

From: Michael Roberts <>
Date: Tue Dec 08 2009 - 13:59:27 EST

I would go along with Ted. I attended seminary (theological college over here) when most of my courses were through Durham University. Though we had no FORMAL teaching on these things they came up both in college and university. I ought to say that the College - St Johns was evangelical but more liberal than places like Trinity Deerfield or Westminster and the university theology staff varied from fairly conservative to quite liberal. Consequently I was exposed to almost every viewpoint available and more conservative through the UCCF theological students fellowship.

I am afraid I looked up Bernies seminary on the web and thought it was over restricted and narrow in what it taught - making Wheaton and Messiah look very liberal indeed:)

I have to say that even Wheaton can be restrictive as all students come from very evangelical backgrounds hence I can see why Bart Ehrmann went the way he has. My NT teachers varied from conservative - Cranfield to CK Barrett and a strong liberal JC Fenton, who never seemed to believe in very much at all. Then there was a culture in the college which gave us more conservative stuff.

However in two churches I served as an assistant minister I found the conservative views of the minister oppressive as questions were not allowed, and I have a habit of asking questions of the wrong sort. (No wonder I have just discovered there is a creationist Bishop in the Church of England - who wrote words of commendation for Should Christians embrace Evolution? - an awful British creationist book)

To sum up if a Christian is kept on too tight a lead by their church or seminary they are going to suffer severe spiritual damage. Some will lose their faith, others become bigots and so on.

Give me a church or seminary which is fuzzy at the edges


PS for Ted Jonah and Bartley has come up on a Christian forum and I have told them of your paper
  ----- Original Message -----
  From: Ted Davis
  To: ; Bernie Dehler
  Sent: Tuesday, December 08, 2009 6:31 PM
  Subject: RE: [asa] Nativity story- genealogy issue?


  I'm nonplussed that you didn't encounter anything about "bible difficulties" in seminary. Just nonplussed. I've never attended seminary myself, but my father did (two of them) and many of my friends are seminary alums. I know that this type of thing is in fact discussed in many seminaries; whether it happens in Bible classes (I assume that is the logical place) I can't say without asking my friends.

  There's tons of literature about this type of thing, from many different theological perspectives.

  I really have to wonder, Bernie, whether your seminary education set you up for your future disenchantment with Christianity, by teaching you a very narrow view of things and by not introducing you to some examples of "difficulties" in the Bible. Without knowing more about the specifics of your education, obviously, I can't go further than to wonder. Some time ago, we discussed a similar thing relative to "creationism" and your seminary background. This might be another example of something similar. A seminary that fails to introduce students to "difficulties" and that fails to convey to students that the truth is a lot bigger than the "creationist" box is, IMO, setting up its students for big problems later on--not to mention that the congregations served by those students might also get badly shortchanged. You've already mentioned, Bernie, that churches don't talk about this stuff, either. That is probably true for quite a few churches, but not for those that I'm interested in being part of.


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Received on Tue Dec 8 14:00:13 2009

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