Reading about Pinnock and Grenz and finding it most illuminating

As you know this blog is not a member of the Wayne Grudem fanclub, in fact it took a great deal of resistance on my part to avoid signing this blog up for membership of the facebook page lamenting his contribution to women's discipleship programmes. I am not sure if that group still exists.

Anyway, I have not come across much academic wrangling with Grudem. I've read Bilezikian and Giles Fraser but I think, if I have time I would like to explore in greater detail the thinking of Grenz and Pinnock.

Roger E Olson explains:

There is very little dissonance between Grenz's basic approach to theology and Pinnock's. Together they serve as postconservative evangelicalism's twin theological giants. Both embody the narrative approach that demotes rational propositions and systems to second place in favor of the biblical narrative. Both insist that God communicates himself to humans via stories that transform more than inform, and that doctrine, though necessary and valuable, is open to revision as more light breaks forth from the Spirit speaking through the Bible. While they both pay lip service to the inerrancy of the Bible, neither one elevates that concept to the status of a litmus test of evangelical fidelity. Both regard Scripture as authoritative, theology's norming norm, while admitting that it could function that way even if it contains minor errors that do not affect the main story line.

Wayne Grudem's Systematics has a huge following, which I think is the result of humanity's desperation to know so certainly what is ultimately unknowable.

And Olson again:

As we have seen, postconnservative evangelical thinkers desire to move away from a focus on propositions in revelation and in theology to a more dynamic understanding of revelation that makes use of narrative or dramatic action (e.g., speech acts). They do not discard or neglect propositions, which they regard as part of the larger picture of revelation and theology. But they believe evangelical theology will be better off-that is, more biblical and contextually relevant-by shifting the center of understanding away from communication of information to action that draws persons into participation with God in transforming action. Revelation, then, aims at something more than knowledge and understanding. It goes beyond authoritative information to absorbing story and dramatic action. Theology goes beyond repetition and translation of past information to ongoing participation in the action of revelation. The anchor for all of this is God revealing himself in and through the canon of Scripture understood not as a set of propositions to be systematized but as a narrative or drama that sets in motion a performative process that continues through the church until the consummation.

I think that this kind of thinking has huge implications for the Church's decision-making process over women bishops and I haven't thought through all of its implications as yet, only that I suspect that operating within this kind of framework, the Church would find less and less reasons for delaying the consecration of women.

I positively whooped today and was a bit surprised at myself as a consequence, when I heard on the radio 4 news that news was looking more positive on the women bishops front. I obviously care more about this issue than I had realsied and I wonder if I am moving to a place where I seek less the protection of those for whom the move to consecrate women would be a stumbling block to their ecclesiological security. I have more thinking to do about why I might be shifting in my thinking and I am sure it does perhaps have something to do with my exposure to a different kind of theology and the very personal testimonies of some of those involved in the process.


Mike Koke said...

I like the late Stanley Grenz as well and his book "Theology and the Community of God" is fairly comprehensive. Since you are interested in women bishops, Grenz also wrote a book "Women in the Church: A Biblical Theology Women in Ministry" in which he supports the egalitarian position.

Rachel Marszalek said...

Thank you Mike for the recommendation. At some point I need to start working out what my masters thesis topic might be and rather than challenging myself with an area I know little about, I suspect, as I look at my blog and work out its dominant topics, it will be about this kind of theology in some way and the lives of women.

I'll get the book.


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