Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Disputatio: A Needed String to Theology's Bow?

Stephenson, John R. "Disputatio: A Needed String to Theology's Bow?"  All Theology Is Christology: Essays in Honor of David P. Scaer. Fort Wayne, IN: Concordia Theological Seminary Press.  2000.  277-289.

Put quite simply, in this brief article Stephenson points out the decline of theological rigor and disputation in recent years within Christianity.  While we seem willing to hammer out doctrinal stands within the boundaries of our own particular Christian community, when different groups of Christians get together they tend to articulate their points of view but then decide they can get along together regardless of the differences.  

Stephenson observes that it takes a particularly courageous theologian to hold the line on theological distinctives.   It is difficult but necessary to follow the pattern of our ancestors in Christ who would be specific about the disputes we have, would attack doctrines which were not biblical, and would strive for accuracy in biblical interpretation.  To do otherwise is to fall pray to some sort of wishy-washy theological mumbo-jumbo.  

Notice that we also see this watering down of discourse and disputation within political contexts.  Issues are less important than personalities.  Truth is less important than a cultural attitude.

Well, we wouldn't want to make anyone uncomfortable by observing that the ship is sinking, that we are in shark-infested waters hundreds of miles from land, that the water temperature will bring on hypothermia and death rather quickly, or that there are no lifeboats aboard.  Better mix up some margaritas instead.

Dave Spotts
blogging at http://capnsaltyslongvoyage.blogspot.com and http://alex-kirk.blogspot.com

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