Friday, 27 June 2008

Either/Or - Both/And

A task for Christian theology is to chart a course between the extrinsicism of blind faith and the immanentism of Gnosticism. We have to be able to perceive the revelation of God in Christ as a genuine revelation without reducing it to some kind of inner experience alone. The left and right of the church seem unable to hold this outer and inner together. In fact, I find that both the liberal extreme and the conservative extreme like to be either/or and find it very difficult to hold to a both/and. (This might seem surprising given how liberals like to think of themselves as open and comprehensive.) Another example of this either/or would be divine transcendence. Liberal theology dismisses transcendence as the God who is cold and distant, and the conservatives, in their well intentioned efforts to maintain the gap between God and creation, compromise the intimacy of the God-world relationship. Transcendence, correctly understood, holds both difference and intimacy together. This is not a call to create a theology that has no discernment of what should be included in it. More for a new effort to discover the traditional faith of the church which both liberal theology and the conservatives misuse.

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