“The wasteland is growing; woe to those who harbor wastelands within”
[**In no way is this a full acount of Oden’s theological methodology. Moreover, please forgive the lack of footnotes…I have not figured out how to import those into a blog post.]
Jewish theologian Abraham Heschel states that “our concern is not how to worship in the catacombs but how to remain human in the skyscrapers.” Indeed, the setting for 21st century Christian living is different in ways unimaginable to those in the early church. However, Thomas C. Oden, theologian and long-time professor at Drew University, has spent the last few decades of his career promoting the idea (in different language) that one knows how to live (worship, think, and theologize) precisely by looking to the early church. Once a theological nomad of the landscape of contemporary theology, Oden has anchored himself into the rich traditions of the church and is on a mission to educate Evangelicals, and Christians more generally, in the ways of the consensus ecclesia catholicae. In particular, Oden has developed a particular method (or received, he might say!), called Paleo-Orthodoxy, which when combined with his Wesleyan posture and his commitment to Scripture creates a theological tour de force. In following, an attempt will be made to elucidate and evaluate his theological method. Specifically, attention will be directed towards how Oden’s biographical Sitz im Leben influenced his theological method(s) and their attendant epistemological assumptions.
From A Movement Theologian to an Ancient Theologian
To fully cover Oden’s influences one would need much more space than a few pages. This is because in the early part of his career, Oden was a “movement theologian,” one that moved with the cultural waves of faddism into whichever ideology Read the rest of this entry »
If “reformists” insist on keeping the boundaries of heresy open, however, then they must be resisted with charity. The fantasy that God is ignorant of the future is a heresy that must be rejected on scriptural grounds (“I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come”; Isa. 46:10a; cf. Job 28; Ps. 90; Rom. 8:29; Eph. 1), as it has been in the history of the exegesis of relevant passages. This issue was thoroughly discussed by patristic exegetes as early as Origen’s Against Celsus. Keeping the boundaries of faith undefined is a demonic temptation that evangelicals within the mainline have learned all too well and have been burned by all too painfully. (Thomas Oden, “The Real Reformers and the Traditionalists,” Christianity Today, Feb. 9, 1998, p. 46. emphasis added)
For those of us who are honest enough to admit that we have wondered if there will be sex in heaven, well now we don’t have to wonder anymore. Well, maybe I am being too generous. However, Peter Kreeft, professor of Philosophy at Boston College, has written an academic article dealing with a usually non-academic issue…SEX. I find his article intriguing and well thought out. To download this article go here.
My philosophy professor from college, Dr. Steven B. Cowan, has a new book coming out with James Spiegl of Taylor U. It is a christian intro to philosophy textbook entitled The Love of Wisdom. If the content in the book is anything like Dr. Cowan’s lectures, then I am sure that it will be a very helpful and engaging work.