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June 10, 2005

Open Source Theology -- The Update

This seems to be the week for revisiting old posts! No, I'm not going to repost anything this time (though I'm tempted, considering how many hits this topic gets at the old Pew), just a link to my original posting here.

A bit of an explanation -- my original post wasn't a critique on the idea of open source theology; in fact, I hadn't heard of the site until after I made the original post (and I noted it here). I'd actually never seen anything called "open source theology" and thought that the title sounded interesting. And I enjoyed carrying the software metaphor out throughout the piece. It's been included in a couple different places (including the King of the Blogs tournament) and has NEVER goten this much attention.

NOW, there are a couple comments over at the old place (both in the past week, to a post almost a year old!) -- one in particular deserves an answer.

How do you know which patches constitute an "authorized upgrade from the Manufacturer"? How do we know Reformation 1.5 was authorized? The church didn't seem to think so at the time, and now the church is in the same boat, criticizing any new work in theology because it doesn't fit well with the status quo.

How DO we determine whether ANYTHING we do theoogically is authorized, or consistent with the original design of the software?

The brothers immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea, and when they arrived they went into the Jewish synagogue. Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so. Many of them therefore believed, with not a few Greek women of high standing as well as men.
(Acts 17:10-12 ESV)

Examining the Scriptures daily ... that sounds like a plan to me! Anything we are told from the pulpit, or from a book, or a lecture, or wherever -- we compare that to the Bible. The Reformation 1.5 patch (and NOBODY has asked me why the .5!) was in response to several abuses by the Roman Church. Luther laid those abuses out pretty succinctly in his 95 Theses. There were theological probelms, and Luther was TRYING to get the "powers that be" to recognize them, and make the appropriate changes.

If a "new patch" or "upgrade" (to continue my favorite metaphor even further) contradicts the Bible, or what it teaches about the nature of God (the Open Theism .95 patch, for example), then we need to question it, regardless of who has signed the certificate. Clark Pinnock was once the darling of conservative, evangelical Baptists -- now his name is anathema in those same circles. The certificates with his name on them are suspect -- they have failed the "Berean test."

That's the bottom line. We need to test everything against the Bible. Where the Bible is silent, there is room for disagreement. Where the Bible is specific, there is no room for debate.

If you want to see the posts that STARTED this whole thing again (and read some GREAT stuff on the subject) start here. Then go here. THEN back to here.

Posted by Warren Kelly at June 10, 2005 02:30 PM | TrackBack
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