Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Raising the Issues

I have a lot of issues in my faith that I am sorting through right now. Lots of things that I once took for granted don't seem to line up anymore. I feel like I am standing atop a giant rock pounding it with a sledgehammer in order to find out what is permanent and what is merely dirt. This is, I think, a good place to be. I would hate to treat my faith delicately only to find that much of it washes away in the storm of life. I believe that Truth is solid, able to take any blow because of the simple fact that it is true. In an email correspondance on this subject with Harold Netland last fall, he counseled,
You need to rest confident that God can handle some scrutiny and his truth can withstand some pretty rigorous questioning. I doubt that you have qustions or issues that 2000 years of Christian intellectual history has not already dealt with in some form or another. So do not worry about raising the issues and wondering whether this will lead you down a path you don't want to walk. Believe me, it would be much worse to have these nagging questions and just suppress them because you are afraid of where they might lead. If the Christian faith is not the truth, I for one do not want to believe it and keep teaching it (seems that is Paul's point in 1 Cor 15).

Here is my list of hot topics:

  1. Non-Christians: Phonemonologically it seems that God interacts with people outside of the Christian tradition. How should we explain this theologically?
  2. Eternal damnation: Though rooted in the justice of God, this doctrine seems to totally subvert the logic of justice.
  3. Jesus' Resurrection: The historical evidence is just not as strong as some would like to make it out to be. It's not that I think the historical evidence is lacking, but it seems that I am searching for a different kind of evidence, perhaps theological.
  4. Jesus' Return: Every time I think about the second coming I feel like I have embraced a total science fiction plot. God just doesn't seem to work this way. It is the one part of my doctrine that feels more like Scientology than rationality.
  5. Scripture: I cannot find a theological mechanism that allows me to establish the Bible as God's eternal Word to all humanity. See my discussion a few days ago, as well as my proposed solution.

I have some ideas on number five that I will post in a few days, and I hope to explore the rest of the topics further over the next several weeks.

1 comment:

P-Style said...

RT, just linked here form your comments on jesuscreed.

I'd like to just offer a quick thought on each of your 5 points.

1. Yes this is the case - Abraham after all was just a random guys. I think the our euro-centric mindset has given us a superiority complex which isn't reflected in "scripture"

2. Aside from universalism, I think common concepts of Heaven adn Hell are misguided. I've read a good essay somewhere on the "mercy" of hell but cannot find it. But it deos go someway toward a more judaic comprehension of hell as seperation rather than a punishment in real fire and pain.

3. Indeed a tricky one. As Paul notes, if there aint no resurrection we believe in vain. Strong words.

4. Once again, the eternal life, return of Jesus seems plain rediculous to me. . . .

5. I rejected inerracy a while back. I haven't gone so far as to reject inspiration, but I think inerracey was a doctrinal mistake, the Bible is not God, and it seems to me that some folks have tried to make it just that.