Search This Blog

Monday, May 30, 2011

Discovering my spiritual heritage: Reforming Fundamentalism--Part II

When I received my copy of Reforming Fundamentalism, I began reading from the very beginning--the Preface, the Introduction, and then the body. Already, at the Preface, I was impressed with Marsden's candor and, frankly, insight:
Inevitably one's point of view will shape one's work. Since it is impossible to be objective, it is imperative to be fair. . . . I work from a particular Christian commitment that makes me generally sympathetic to what Fuller Seminary has been trying to do since its inception. At the same time, I have also tried to step aside from my sympathies. I think the primary justification for having historians these days is that they can provide critical perspectives, especially on traditions that they take seriously. Partisanship, then, although to some degree inevitable, is to be suppressed for the purposes of such historical understanding.

This approach will not entirely please those who see Christian history as adequately understood only as a battle in which it is perfectly clear who stands with the forces of light and who with the forces of darkness. I do not have any difficulty with the concept of the Christian life as a battle; I do not believe, however, that we can identify the forces of light and darkness so easily. My world is filled with ambiguities. Even with the light of Scripture we are very limited humans who see as through a glass darkly.
--p. xi
But it was as I began the Introduction that my heart leapt. I "couldn't believe" whose names I was reading as being associated with Fuller Seminary from the very beginning.

Introduction: Reforming Fundamentalism--Part I

I've mentioned this book a couple of times already: Reforming Fundamentalism by George M. Marsden. Sub-title of the book: Fuller Seminary and the New Evangelicalism.

Perhaps you are unfamiliar with Fuller Seminary. I know I was. Maybe I had heard the name, but I paid it no attention until Sarita and I moved to Pasadena, California, at the beginning of 1984. In 1984 and after, however, living in the same community where Fuller is located and, probably more importantly, working for Dr. Ralph Winter, a former professor of the seminary's School of World Mission, I couldn't escape hearing about the school and becoming aware of some of its strengths and weaknesses.

I came to understand that Fuller had undergone a major shift in its commitment to biblical inerrancy sometime prior to our arrival in Pasadena. And, for some reason, I also came to understand that Fuller considered itself--and still considers itself--an evangelical seminary.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Order from Chaos

This is definitely "out there" as far as this blog is concerned. But it's at least tangentially related by theme. (See Genesis 1--where God brings order from chaos.)

I post this, however, "just" because of my personal pleasure in the art of ambigrams or what I once called visual palindromes and similar curiosities.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Wonder at beauty . . .

My brother's co-worker Cecilia recently (two weeks ago) received the truly awesome gift of a new pancreas and kidney. Her recovery has been astonishingly smooth--far beyond expectation. And she is, as she says, "flying high" for the last few days . . . which led her to send a letter of thanks (to those who prayed for her) and praise (to God).

"Please, accept this video song as a little something from me to you," she wrote. "Take a moment to listen and perhaps you’ll get a glimpse of what all I experienced." And she included a link to the following video as presented on Andie's Isle. (Andie's version includes Brian Doerksen's lyrics shown line by line at the bottom of the video frame.)

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Why I'm inclined to believe (or at least want to PURSUE) an old-earth interpretation and disinclined to believe (or pursue) a young-earth interpretation

Oh, boy! "The other shoe."

I've written about why I'd prefer to believe--or at least pursue--a young-earth perspective. Now let me put the same question the other way around: Why bother with an old-earth interpretation of Scripture? And why prefer to stay away from a young-earth perspective?

Here are some of the things that come to mind in this regard.

I am inclined at least to pursue information about an old-earth perspective . . .
  • Because I have found that

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Why I'm inclined to believe (or at least want to PURSUE) a young-earth interpretation and disinclined to believe (or pursue) an old-earth interpretation

My conversation partner a couple of weeks ago asked something like, "John: Why are you spending so much time and energy on this issue? Neither the young-earthers or the old-earthers would ever claim it is central to salvation!"

He also said, "Are you letting this kind of study take the joy out of your life?"

Reality: This area has already taken a bunch of joy out of my life. As I admitted in a previous post, it led me at least to contemplate suicide for a few minutes, and then, not wanting to do that, social suicide--"disappearing" without a trace and without notice to family or friends. That was ten years ago. On the morning of 9/11/2001, actually. A couple of hours before the planes began flying into the buildings in New York City.

No. This path I've been on has been no fun. No joy. In fact, it has carried me through an extremely long and painful "Dark Night of the Soul."

But/and that is part of the reason I've been strongly inclined to believe (or at least to want to pursue) a young-earth interpretation of Scripture: Because