Tuesday, September 04, 2007

mutual defenestration means self-annihilation

Boy, do I like this guy. I'm so glad to be in the same denomination with him.

"A minority of voices ask whether we in the Presbyterian Church of America (my denomination) ought to look more closely at whether our preaching adequately reflects the corporate nature of the apostle Paul's vision — they suggest even that our view of the unity of the covenant implies that perhaps it's worth considering whether our children belong with us at the Table (as Hebrew children did at Passover).

The answer: a study paper (passed — I note with chagrin — overwhelmingly) not on the biblical merits of the positions considered, but on whether they pass confessional standards (as interpreted by a tendentiously and carelessly written paper). When the point of the positions was never whether the standards were wrong, but whether more needed to be said than the standards say.

Suggest that we might do a better job representing Paul's view that the Body and Bride are elect as a whole, and get accused of denying that Paul teaches individual election.

Suggest that more could be said about the way Jew and Gentile oneness in the gospel demonstrates the righteousness of God than the Westminster Standards say, and get accused of denying justification by faith.

Suggest that all parties ought to be a part of this conversation, and receive a fluffy, but smugly cute repartee about the folly of inviting the accused to join the jury — have the derisiveness compounded by a disingenuous faux-rebuke of the "righteous applause" with which the vacuous remark is sycophantically met.

Battle as relentlessly and courageously as the Church of England's N.T. Wright does to champion the view that Paul's theology is animated by a comprehensive and integrated story of promise and fulfillment — scoring points against both the postmodern deconstruction of the biblical meta-narrative and the dispensational fracturing of the singular story of "the Israel of God" into dichotomous stories of "Israel" versus the "church" — and what do you get from your potential allies in the conservative reformed world? How about getting dismissed as importing an alien biblical theology into the established categories of systematic theology, as being vague about the atonement, and as compromising biblical authority? While we build careers at our potential friends' expense, the hostile armies and navies amass. Nice work.

Write courageously, as does Duke University's Richard Hays, into a most liberal Methodist environment about Paul's seeing in homosexuality the red light on the cultural dashboard, champion Paul's theological method as building upon Old Testament themes and texts and Jesus' ministry as being the embodiment of Israel's story, and get accused of Nestorianism because you believe that complementary to Paul's teaching that we are to believe "into Jesus" we are also supposed to have a faith that was like that of the incarnate Jesus? Puhleeze!"

(HT: Reggie Kidd)

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