The Plurality of Truth, Mortal Sin or Divine Blessing?

January 26, 2012 § 1 Comment

John Franke’s Manifold Witness, the Plurality of Truth is a bold attempt to recast Christian faith, Church and theology in a mold that is in accord with the best postmodernist deconstruction has to offer while remaining true to the exclusivist character of the Gospel of Christ. Franke argues against a monolithic understanding of truth and in favor of a multiplicity of views regarding truth. His arguments are anthropological (human knowing is always perspectival and incomplete), historical (there is no “one” tradition of the historical Christian faith), liberationist/deconstructivist (one theological construct tends to dominate and marginalize the voice of the Other), scriptural (the Bible evidences a plurality at every level), revelational (the trinitarian God reveals himself as plurality), cultural (the incarnation and the Bible are given in an embedded enculturated situation), missional (a plural witness is part of the missional character of the church and does justice to the mysterious object of our proclamation), and eschatological (our knowing will only be complete in the future). « Read the rest of this entry »

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Does a metaphorical Jesus follow from a metaphorical Adam?

January 23, 2012 § 2 Comments

Painting from Manafi al-Hayawan (The Useful An...

Someone recently asked me whether nothing stops us from seeing Jesus as a metaphor when we embrace a metaphorical understanding of Adam and Eve. This is a valid question. A typical case of the slippery slope. I have been there too and in certain ways will always remain at a place of ambiguity toward the true meaning of the text and the consequences resulting from the interpretative decisions we make. But it is not true that a metaphorical Adam results in a metaphorical Jesus.

Ever since the Enlightenment there have been many approaches to Jesus some of which indeed interpreted him more metaphorically than historically. German idealism took Jesus to be a decisive synthetical moment in the self-realization of the divine Idea through human finitude. Similarly, liberal theology has seen Jesus either as the exemplar of ultimate dependency on God or the moral example for humanity to follow. All these approaches detach the concept of Christ in varying degrees from the historical Jesus. « Read the rest of this entry »

Modernism, postmodernism and then what?

January 6, 2012 § 2 Comments

English: Statue of Immanuel Kant in Kaliningra...

Immanuel Kant

At the end of my essay ‘How The West Was Lost’ on the disappearance of Christianity from the West I propose a few recommendations for the way theology should move forward. Christian theology, I argue, has not been able to stem the tide of secularization and has not been able to adequately answer and change the post-Enlightenment worldview in which knowing is located in the autonomous human subject. This is not because theology has been done badly. In fact, the 19th and 20th centuries have seen a vast array of theological approaches to deal with the new situation. Rather, as belief systems, which theological constructs are (together with things like scientific paradigms, building skills, etc.) they are unable to counter the deeply ingrained assumptions inherent in modernism as a worldview. Worldviews dictate belief systems and use them for justification. Belief systems will rarely challenge worldviews, since the worldview’s assumption are established a priori. They are not up for debate. Though postmodernism critiques modernism, it still works from the basic assumption of knowing located in the human subject, However, instead of being positive about the outcome it is now rather pessimistic of the possibility of arriving at true knowledge. Christian thought, therefore, will need to move beyond postmodernity to provide an alternative to both modernity and postmodernity. This is short is what my essay is about. Though my essay does not address how we should be going about this, it ends with a few recommendation. I present them here as they are:

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Fresh Start

January 1, 2012 § Leave a comment

This blog has been around for a while. Then I locked it up for a period in which I did not feel like writing much. But since after all Apologia Christi is a great name for a blog, I should actually do something about it. And besides 2012 has just started.

However, when I consider the idea of giving an apology for Christ I realize that so much of what goes around in his name is quite contrary to Christ and does little to defend him or his message. This holds true for my own tradition, evangelicalism. The more time I spend there, the more I feel comfortable in the margin. The more I study theology the more I see serious flaws in evangelical theology working themselves out in the practice of evangelicals in the West. Now, it is tempting for me to think, that I am going to say how things are supposed to be or that I will show the way forward. I wish that were true, but I am human all too human. So I decide to remain an evangelical and make its margin my home. In these outskirts of the wider story that I am part of I can muse about ‘what ifs,’ think aloud as I’m going and send off some fire crackers here and there. « Read the rest of this entry »

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