Friday, March 9, 2012

Christianity Without the Supernatural Revelation is Gnosticism

If theologians lose their confidence in the Bible as revelation and in most of the tenets of orthodox faith, but they want to stay as "believers", it seems to me that they end up with a kind of pantheistic gnosticism. The "God" they talk about is really a connection with Life - either as a kind of nature mysticism or a type of pantheistic paganism. They may still use the Biblical words and some traditional theological terms, but in essence they are pantheists with a Christian veneer. It reminds me of Benjamin Warfield's remark that the truth of the Bible is the bulmark of distinctive Christianity.

Sunday, March 4, 2012


The argument in the previous post was in fact a real argument made to clergy by denominational leaders regarding the practice of the Holy Communion - namely why Anglicans should not supplement their use of the common cup with wine in Holy Communion with an option of non-alcoholic juice in individual cups. This is a live issue in my part of the Anglican world, for some churches. This argument's structure strikes me as somewhat ironical, since the same argument outline can and is used by people to argue against other innovations proposed in the Anglican communion - the most controversial being acceptance of practicing homosexual relationships in the Anglican church. It is always interesting to me to see how people of different theological stances can become Biblical literalists when it suits them.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Can you recognise the argument?

Here is the structure of a theological argument about an issue at contention in my part of the Christian church. I will leave out the content and give only the structure. See if you can guess the actual issue.
Side A:
1. The Bible literally teaches or exemplifies the position.
2. The dominant and historic tradition of the Christian church until very recent times has followed a literal understanding and straightforward practice of the issue.
Side B:
3. But the inner principles of the Biblical texts do not necessarily require a literal application.
4. And modern scientific knowledge, unavailable to the first century NT writers, provides important guidance pointing to a change of practice.

What is the issue at play in this disagreement?