Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Top Evangelical Theological Events in 2009

Collin Hansen at Christianity Today has compiled a very interesting list of the Top Ten Theological Stories for the past year. It is an interesting selection and worth a read.

The standouts for me are the unexpected news of the phasing out of the NIV (a translation for which I have an intense dislike, frankly- how such an inaccurate translation managed to become the translation of choice for a very substantial majority of Evangelicals, a group that prides itself on its reverence for Scripture, has got to be one of the great mysteries of the universe) and the unexpected hostility towards the Manhatten Declaration (check out the comments on the article that Hansen links to and you may begin to realise just how far from Church unity we are in the West).

The Internet Monk, Michael Spencer, also gets a mention, as well he should. He has cancer at the moment, as a matter of fact, and needs prayers. His blog is well worth a visit, for those who don't know him. One of the canniest Evangelicals about these days. And one of the most Christian.


matthias said...

Sad about internet monk.I found his web site thought provoking,i will pray for his health and for his family.
His articles on the end of evangelicalism have assisted me to assess where i stand in relation to the church i currently attend.(Perhaps i should come over and be an Evangelical in the RCC and be called an aberration by liberal catholics,just as Schutz was labelled.)
Happy New year God Bless

GAB said...

You'd be most welcome. We could use more such "aberrations". :)

Matthias said...

Thank you GAB .My only problems -perhaps historical hangups- deal with the issue of the Inquisition and Papal infallibility.I do not see the Pope as AntiChrist as was once taught in the church i grew up in,i think the witness of Catholic Charismatic renewal has done a great deal to dislodge this belief.
Also having sung with Schutz at his church the Sunday December 20-and i did not do a KRUDD re taking the eucharist- i felt that i was most blessed and came away singing MAGNIFICAT which i and Schutz had sung whilst people went up to receive the Eucharist.i also like the fact that people could go up to the priest and he would say a prayer for them .

GAB said...

Fair enough. I think papal infallibility looks like a bigger deal than it actually is much of the time, and is too often confused with either inspiration or impeccability. For my own part, I was largely persuaded on the matter by incidents like Pope Liberius stopping short of signing the Second Formulary of Sirmium during the Arian controversy or the bizarre about-turn of Pope Vigilius in the sixth century. Stuff like that suggests to me that the Holy Spirit has had His hand on the bishops of Rome in a quite unique way and that the definition in 1870 was trying to describe something real.

As to the Inquisition, I get where you're coming from. Lots of bad stuff there (torture, anyone?). Some good stuff, less well-publicised, as well, but its a decidedly speckled history.

I must confess ignorance- and am actually intensely curious- what does 'do a KRUDD' mean? Is it a Melbournian expression, perhaps?

Matthias said...

krudd=Kevin Rudd when he visited the mary McKillop Chapel and there was some debate i believe about his receiving the Eucharist,seeing as he is an Anglican once a catholic .
Thanks for your comments re papal infallibility and the Inquisition.I hasten to add that the Cof E persecuted dissenters and catholics and the reformed and lutherans (as well as catholics) also persecuted the anaBaptists. The reformed actually drowned them as a way of making fun at the anaBaptists belief in adult immersion
I am glad that the NIV and the TNIV are being phased out.i personally like the ESV and the Jerusalem Bible ,and i was bequeathed by my mum her copy of monsignor knox's version of the New Testament although Schutz thinks the latter is more paraphrasing

GAB said...

Ah, the Krudd makes sense now! :D

I use mostly the RSV or NKJV myself. I don't mind the Jerusalem most of the time, especially with OT stuff (I love how it does the prophets- a delight to read publicly at Mass) but am not as sold on its treatment of Paul's epistles. Actually, (useless but interesting trivia) I believe the Jerusalem's Jonah was translated by J.R.R. Tolkien.

Huge respect for Knox but not as well acquainted with his NT as I might be. Hmmm, perhaps that could be a project for the New Year.

Kiran said...

If I may, Matthias, Papal Infallibility is perhaps best explained as largely a concrete negative protection from heresy in matters of faith and morals in certain very specifically defined cases.

The inquisition must be considered in the context of its times. And as such, the Roman inquisition was an improvement in legal procedure. People preferred to be tried by the inquisition than secular courts. The procedure was clearer, and the defendant actually had a chance of escaping conviction.

The Spanish Inquisition on the other hand was not a religious but a secular thing, whereby the inquisition was run by the Spaniards and used for control of the state, explicitly against Rome. So, the Spanish inquisition shows you what happens when the State is unrestrained by the Church.

I can't off the top of my head think of any good book on these matters. I myself struggled with the inquisition, but I was very moved by the example of Martin of Tours excommunicating the Emperor Theodosius for the massacre of Apollinarians. That Infallibility is not as large as presumed, and is much more a negative protection seems evident from Newman's writings, particularly The Letter to the Duke of Norfolk. I hope and pray you will be with us soon. God bless and happy new year!

matthias said...

Thank you both for enlightening me regarding Papal infallibility. I note that catholic charismatic renewal around the world is under the
rule of bishops and ultimately the Pope and this perhaps has lessened the risk of scandal that one often sees in Pentecostal churches. would the obscenity of Jimmy and Tammy Bakker have occurred if they were Catholic? I note that Eddie Russell of Flame ministries in perth -a Catholic pentecostal ministry- received permission from the former Archbishop for this work and it has been very successful
To you both a Happy New Year.

Matt said...

It seems to me that, increasingly as time goes by, many of the more conservative, sacramentally-inclined, protestants (particularly Anglicans) are of the view that in 2,000 years of history the Pope has never taught an erroneous doctrine, save one – the doctrine that the Pope cannot teach erroneous doctrine (i.e. Papal infallibility). In the life of the Church there have been so many heresies. It is extraordinary, is it not, that the Pope has always taken the right side? Read Matthew 16:18 with the benefit of that hindsight, and I think the nature of the charism being promised to Peter starts to become clear.

As for the evils of the “inquisition”, that’s mostly black legend and anti-Catholic propaganda. Occasionally there were some missteps, but then you have to expect that from an institution that has been in operation since the time of Tiberius – that is why, every Sunday, we pray “mea culpa”.

Anonymous said...

The Chinese wasn't me just for the info.

Kiran said...

Matt, the historian in me would make one modification and add the word dogmatically. Pope Honorius I was anathemized by name as a monothelite, which he probably was.

Liberius, I think, is not guilty of Semi-Arianism, but Catholics can hold the opposite. At any rate, he never taught it.

Even then two instances in 2000 years doesn't amount to much, really. But the idea is that he might be a heretic privately, but by divine guidance, he will not proclaim, ex cathedra, heresy.