“Our task isn’t to be liked, our task is to love and to love those we don’t like.”
“Before you preach live with the text and let the Holy Spirit speak to you before you think about how it will speak to others. If it doesn’t speak to you, then it is not going to speak well to others.”
“To make love a noun instead of a verb is a tragedy.”
Anyway, that’s a few tidbits. Like I said, I have a lot of respect for Gordon Fee and appreciate greatly the wisdom that comes from age.
Wednesday afternoon I went and listened to Roger Olson from Truett Seminary in Texas speak about his new book, “How to be Evangelical Without Being Conservative”. I appreciated what Olson had to say and connect with much of it. He defined “evangelical” as being Christ-centered, Bible believing, conversion required, Post WWII movement which I think is a fair assessment. Many conservatives try to put boundaries around Evangelicalism but a “movement” cannot have boundaries, it is a centered-set, only an institution or organization can have boundaries so to try to force boundaries as many do on what makes up an Evangelical is counter-productive to say the least.
Right now Conservative Evangelicals are ever-drifting towards fundamentalism, trying to harden the categories and “defend” their interpretation of the faith which they correlate to what Jude spoke of as the faith once for all delivered to the saints.
Post-conservative Evangelicalism, Olson says is about four things:
- Conservative Evangelicalism has far too much of a tendency to privilege the past (as if every question in theology has been answered in the first 8 centuries.)
- CE is tied too much to the left/right spectrum and making the distinction. As in, if you’re not conservative, you’re liberal which isn’t true.
- There is a lack of constructive and innovative thinking in theology. Olson says what he is interested in is experimentation in theology (not unfettered experimentation as his critics accuse him of), but rather experimentation using Scripture as the “norming norm”. If Martin Luther would not have questioned or experimented where would we be now? Why should we not continue to reform?
- CE’s involvement in the so called “Culture Wars” is discouraging. Using warlike language and making secularists to be the enemy is missing the point.
He goes on to describe “Post-conservative Evangelicalism” in positive terms by saying it is:
- Being biblical without orthodoxy (which he describes as not buying into a system of theology but rather letting them be learning tools).
- Building character without moralism.
- Celebrating America without nationalism.
- Seeking truth without certainty.
- Taking the Bible seriously without taking it literally.
- Being non-religious without being secular.
- Transforming without taking over culture.
- Redistributing wealth without socialism.
- Relativizing without rejecting theology.
- Updating without trivializing worship.
- Accepting without affirming flawed people.
- Practicing equality without sacrificing difference.
This is exciting stuff and I can’t wait to read the book to dive more in depth. Many of these things are not new but it gives a good summary of what “Post-Conservatives” look like. After reading through his categories I want to know where to sign up!