Christianity Today magazine (Feb. 8) looks at the new breed of evangelical theologians and finds that they are more ecumenical, more concerned about how theology affects life rather than theory, and are less tied to older views, such as biblical inerrancy.
Writer Tim Stafford profiles five evangelical theologians who are both modeling new ways of “doing theology” and biblical studies as well as having increasing impact in the wider academic world. These scholars are biblical scholars N.T.Wright of England, Duke University professor Richard Hays and theologians Ellen Charry of Princeton, Miroslav Volf of Yale, and Kevin Vanhoozer of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School.
Stafford writes that these scholars feel more at home in a pluralistic world than older evangelical scholars and no longer see the intellectual world “dominated by a liberal-conservative polarity, with liberalism holding all the intellectual forts and conservatives shooting arrows from the outside . . . Rather, they see open space. The demise of modernism has knocked down most of the forts.”
These scholars have problems with the standard evangelical theories of biblical authority, such as inerrancy and accept methods of historical criticism that are controversial in the evangelical community. Yet they also challenge liberal scholars’ ingrained skepticism about the claims of Christianity. Another commonality is that these new theologians view themselves as existing between the church and the academy as they focus on writing theology that is helpful to congregations and the laity.
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