A quick update

Hi, everyone. Remember me?

I’m not really abandoning the blog. But gosh if it doesn’t seem like I’ve said my piece on most of the topics I’ve discussed.

I have mostly used this blog as a way of working through major shifts in my theology; to give you an idea, here’s a roughly chronological if somewhat overlapping list of most of the major issues I’ve wrestled with (each followed by varying periods of campaigning for my conclusions) since the blog’s beginning:

  • Explaining my already completed move away from futurism toward preterism
  • Explaining my discomfort with CSBI-style inerrancy (which I already held suspect) toward a very mild sort of inerrancy called theological concordism, i.e. the belief that the Bible’s theological claims are all true even if its scientific and historical ones aren’t
  • Acknowledgement (and justification) of my embrace of modern science, including evolutionary theory, etc.
  • A budding conviction about the importance of the historical community of faith
  • Expositions about the meaning of biblical faith, characterized by a growing social consciousness
  • A modification of my bibliology to reject concordism in all its forms and accept the Bible as fully human with no divine guarantee of accuracy
  • A rejection of soteriological exclusivism (the belief that only those who know Jesus by name can be saved)
  • A growing discomfort with “full preterism” based on my developing historical-critical understanding of the Gospels
  • Apathy about the arguments over the Atonement models morphing suddenly into fierce opposition to penal substitution
  • A rising attraction to older forms of ecclesiology
  • Acceptance of Christian universalism

Now, while I certainly don’t want to imply that I’ve arrived, I do think I’ve come to a certain equilibrium where I get the impression I’m in the right vicinity on a lot of the bigger theological issues, and the refinement process isn’t volatile enough to power the kinds of whopping posts I’ve done in the past. But as I said, I’m not packing it in. It’s just likely that going forward this site will be composed less of what amounted to articles and be more of a journal or…well, a blog.

I say that sincerely enough, but I also know how wary I am of posting a quick burst of opinion that misleads by giving an incomplete picture: although I have often attempted short posts in the past, I find that I end up explaining things so that the post can stand alone, which inflates its size. So who knows…

And for anyone concerned about my faith, as I typically am when blogs like mine suddenly go dark, don’t worry: it’s just as strong as it was. So strong that I just don’t feel threatened or that I need to defend it all the time, which is another reason the site has slowed down.

A third reason I’ve been posting less is that I’ve found an outlet for my theologizing  in a remarkably eclectic Google+ Community I created called Theogeeks, intended for Christians or other interested parties not wanting to initiate Christianity vs. atheism/agnosticism, etc. debates. If you’d like to see what’s going on or have things you’d like to discuss I invite you to join.

Hope you all are well. Thanks for reading my update!

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  • Good to see you update again! 🙂 Where do you stand with regards to preterism now?

    • Thanks, Laura!

      Regarding preterism, I am no longer a “full preterist”, although I do believe that Jesus may have been one. 🙂 By this I mean that I think he quite possibly predicted an early messianic kingdom to come in the first century; at very least, his followers took that message away from whatever he did teach them. And I continue to value the preterist insight that we should not read the language too literalistically, but should expect apocalyptic imagery to be hyperbolic (the stars falling, etc.). It think some mainstream (secular) scholarship seems too reluctant on that point.

      In the end (ha!) I think we can put stock into the essentially preterist position that a non-earthly-but-on-earth Kingdom of God is what Jesus brought about. But I have gravitated away from the full preterist position that this is it, that God’s plan was fulfilled in the first century, and we just have to “walk in it”: I now, as originally, see a theological need for God to intervene to put things at rights, to wipe every eye’s tears, to defeat Death in ways that simply haven’t happened yet.

      That’s a thumbnail sketch. I’m not really a member of any eschatological club now. What about you?

      • To be honest, I have absolutely no idea! I had never even heard the term until a few months ago, and I’m still trying to determine where I stand. Certain things about preterism are appealing, but I can’t say I’m fully committed to it by any means, for the reasons you’ve mentioned. If you don’t feel that you’ve exhausted the topic, I’d love to hear more of your thoughts!

  • fullpartorsomewhereinbetween

    Steve, interesting post. I can especially relate to finding a tidbit of truth and sharing it prematurely. I came from a place, I will call fat-dumb-and-happy (if happy can mean oblivious), Stealing my the view from pastors, the 99.9999% (from my exhaustive study 🙂 who are cut from the same futurist cloth. Do they hold back information for us to decide, do they torture scripture to mean what they want it to mean? it seems to me the answers are obvious. I woke up one day and decided to at
    least try to know what I believe and thought it would be cool to be able to prove it. I am still trying, but don’t claim to have much, and I don’t care to prove anything. What drove me to challenge myself and commit social suicide along the way, (I would recommend anyone to thoughtfully consider the consequences) was this: over the recent several years, while reading words of the Master, certain words and phrases seemed to say – concerning the “time of the end” (not the end of the world) – He was going away, but was coming again to those of whom He was speaking. And, temporarily ignoring the nearly impossible to understand apocalyptic metaphors, it is to be found right there in plain text. These can be understood, but not easily. It was to them He was speaking and to them He was to return. I stopped ignoring this evidence. The writers of the NT taught the same truth (of course) and once I broke with tradition, statements of the nearness, time wise, of His
    coming is found everywhere and anytime the subject comes up. It can be ignored (or even twisted) but not denied. I have to admit I took the full pret. view because it was easy. To take this view, while not being able to fully explain all prophecy; while ignoring our human weaknesses, and thus believing ones knowledge to be more than what it is, is something that I could not continue to do. I know I am partial (pret.) now, but can’t explain “which parts”, if this makes any sense at all.
    So, right now for me, I am letting my dogma stay fluid. The desire to hold onto old truths and the refusal to accept change, is why we have dogma and can’t see past our preconceived and presupposed views. Could the reason be why some can never change is because their pride is
    holding them back? We all know what pride is to a holy God! Pride is a problem for us all. Steve, I think Jesus and maybe all those He personally chose were all apocalypticists (spelling?). They spoke of a soon coming desolation, and a soon to occur ending of the old and establishment of a new order of things. It seems to me that this did happened and they were right. When you think about it, Him being a The Prophet speaking in like manner of the prophets (of old), isn’t at all surprising; even the Baptist was one.