I think I’ve come to a fairly stable landing on my theological journey. That’s not to say I won’t change, evolve, or grow at some point soon, but what this means is that I’ve come to a point where I feel comfortable making a statement about my beliefs on certain major theological topics. So for those of you who are curious about what I currently believe, here’s a list.
- Concerning Soteriological Constructs: I haven’t completely landed yet. A few years ago I held to monergism and the five points of TULIP as accepted by most Calvinists. Currently I hold to some form of synergism, but whether classical Arminian or Open Theist, I’m not sure yet. I’m traveling somewhere in between, but I think I’m heading towards Open Theism.
Thomas Oden, Roger Olson and Greg Boyd are my current influences here.
- Concerning Presentism: Maybe? I’ll probably land wherever my aforementioned journey lands.
- Concerning Denomination Affiliation: I grew up in an “Independent Baptist” Fundamentalist church and attended a fundamentalist university. After a brief exploration in Buddhism, I joined the non-denominational bandwagon for a while. During those years, I went from working for an “Andy Stanley” style non-denominational church for one year to working for a “Mark Driscoll” Acts-29-affiliated church for four years (to give you an idea of where I might’ve identified in those years). My years working for that A29-affiliated church drove me into—and eventually out of—my adherence to Calvinism. I currently exist within Hillsong NYC, so I probably affiliate with a very “progressive” Pentecostalism. If I were ever to plant my own church, I might lean towards building a progressive Anglican church.
- Concerning Scripture: I believe the Bible is authoritative simply because God asserts his authority through it. It possesses no authority itself apart from God.
N. T. Wright’s books Surprised by Scripture and Scripture and the Authority of God are my primary influences. I also turn to Peter Enns on this topic.
- Concerning Origins: I hold to a form of Evolutionary Creationism.
Francis Collins, Deb and Loren Haarsma, and N. T. Wright are my influences here.
- Concerning Hell: I’m still not sure where I land on this. I used to hold to eternal conscious torment, particularly in the aftermath of the “Love Wins” controversy (and upon reading Francis Chan’s Erasing Hell), but I feel very uncomfortable with that belief now. I probably lean towards a “conditional purgatorial” theory of some kind.
C. S. Lewis, N. T. Wright, and Rob Bell are currently informing me on this topic.
- Concerning Dispensational vs. Covenant Theology: Neither. I probably hold to a sort of “Christian fulfillment” theory. The resource I’m currently turning to is N. T. Wright’s Paul and the Faithfulness of God.
- Concerning Eschatology: I hold to a sort of “reconciliation” philosophy. God is reconciling this world to himself; he’s not planning on “rapturing” the Church away and then throwing the world into the trash bin. N. T. Wright is my primary influence here. Though Tim LaHaye definitely played a part. 😉
- Concerning Atonement Theory: I don’t hold to any singular one, though at one point I held exclusively to Penal Substitution Theory. I’ve heard it said that “Denying Penal Substitutionary Atonement is akin to denying the Gospel.” Clearly I think that statement is categorically false.My current theory takes most of its cues from the Christus Victor Theory, but there are other theories I like to cherry pick themes and ideas from. I believe that no singular theory is completely true, but no singular theory is completely false either. They all contribute something to understanding the atonement.
Greg Boyd and my blogging friend Ryan Miller have heavily influenced me in this category.
- Concerning Other Hot-Button Topics (aka “Gospel Issues” for John Piper): I’m egalitarian. I’ve seen too many gifted women in my life to limit their leadership to just teaching kids and teaching women. Some of the most powerful sermons I’ve heard in my lifetime were from women. Regarding homosexuality, I’ll simply say this: why does that topic receive more fire from Christians than greed, oppression, murder, slander, and violence?
So there you have it. That’s what I currently believe. As it has over the past several years, it will likely undergo some change over time. But like I said at the start of this post, I’m quite comfortable with posting this as a sort of “Statement of Faith” for my blog. Those of you who are non-Calvinist theology nerds will likely see that I’ve gone very far from my supralapsarian days. Those of you who are Calvinist theology nerds will likely call me a heretic. 😉
Austin Fischer posted today on the importance of beauty in theology. I think discussing that topic might be a worthy follow-up post to this one, so I might write about that in an upcoming post. But until then, stay savvy, friends!