I guess blogging is as good a place to be introspective and anecdotal as anywhere else, right? I’ve decidedly chosen to “think out loud” here at ThinkTheology.org for a number of years now, so this isn’t really all that new. I’ve written in the past about why I think the “gospel-centered” movements should abandon complementarianism as their default, about why I think William Webb’s redemptive movement hermeneutical model is applicable to complementarians, and discussed why I appreciated “compassionate” complementarianism. Even when I was describing myself as a “soft complementarian,” I was enjoying what egalitarians were saying about trajectory hermeneutics. I even reported my two days of being an “egalitarian” husband and father (day 1 and day 6) in addition to my acknowledgement that our presuppositions play a huge role in how we approach this subject. As these links attest, I’ve done my share of constructive criticism toward complementarianism as well as talked about poor arguments made by egalitarians. As you can tell, I’ve been interested in the subject of women in ministry for a long time. Eight years ago I was a convinced complementarian. Five years ago I was a soft complementarian. For the past two years I’ve been “undecided.” Currently I’d describe myself in the following way: [Read more…]
I finally picked up a copy of Thiselton’s book on the Holy Spirit, The Holy Spirit: In Biblical Teaching, through the Centuries, and Today. Interestingly, Thiselton lists the Molt as one of the major theologians of this century. The more I read the Molt, the more I agree (though he can be quite difficult at times to comprehend!). What I find interesting is the development in his writings over the span of his life. Fascinating stuff because he seems to become more Christian as he continues (and also more conservative sounding!).
This week I was interested to read more of his thoughts on being a true theologian in Experiences in Theology: Ways and Forms of Christian Theology. He suggests that a true theologian has both suffered of God and delights in God. Sounds awfully Edwardsian (or Piperish?), which I really like!
The Molt’s first characteristic of a true theologian is related to basically living life and gaining helpful theological perspective from experiencing life’s pain, similar, in his mind, to Christ’s experience of the cross. The Molt points us to Luther’s famous statement that,
“By living, no—more—by dying and being damned to hell doth a man become a theologian, not by knowing, reading, or speculation.”
Luther of course wasn’t saying study or books wasn’t weren’t important. No, the Molt was simply saying that,
“… reading, reflection and the understanding of Scripture have to be accompanied by this personal wrestling with God, so that theology becomes not just a scholarly study which teaches, but also a wisdom which makes wise out of the experience of God. Experience comes first and then the theology; first the passion—then the action.”
Yes, the Molt is getting into existential theology, which has both positive and negative implications. And this “suffering” is only one aspect… the other that he talks about is delighting in God! This, of course, is where I see some Edwardsian prose:
“… we may say that the beauty of theology lies in its doxology, and delight in God is expressed through joy over existence in nearness to him. According to the New Testament, the gospel of Christ is filled with God’s joy, for that gospel is the message about the raising of the crucified Christ from death, God-forsakenness and hell, into the eternally living life of God and of ‘the world to come’. That is God’s counter-history to the world’s history of disaster. Easter joy is the doxological utterance of Christian belief in God.”
Easter joy… something I believe Christians should be aware of 365 days a year!
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There’s a lot of discussion still going on after all of the dust has been settling from the Strange Fire conference. It seems as if a majority of the feedback has been negative, with the primary criticism being how MacArthur and the conference misrepresented a great deal of “charismatics” and basically judged all of them as being identical. I’m not going to rehash what I previously wrote on the subject (here and here). I have something else in mind here.
I already wrote a long post on Strange Fire, so this will be a little shorter. Tim Challies has posted Tom Pennington’s case for Cessationism. It probably has the most substance for Continuationists to consider out of all that has been shared thus far at MacArthur’s anti-charismatic rally. Pennington suggests there are four chief arguments for the charismatic position and then offers seven arguments for the cessationist position. Let’s “briefly” analyze these… [Read more…]
So the firestorm from the Strange Fire Conference has been steadily building throughout the past few weeks and is now in full swing. When word got out that the conference was going to take place and that John MacArthur was releasing a book of the same name, Dr. Michael Brown appealed to MacArthur to embrace God’s true fire and then addressed R.C. Sproul (a speaker at the conference) before issuing a challenge to the charismatic world (which MennoKnight took as a volley at the Cessationist crowd, though I thought it was addressed more towards Charismatics). In turn, a host of videos were released by John MacArthur (found here) that, in a sense, responded to some of the concerns and questions that Brown made. Furthermore, Fred Butler responded to Brown on behalf of MacArthur and then Brown responded to Butler. Are you keeping track of all of this?