According to some Christian outlooks we were made for another world. Perhaps, rather, we were made for this world to recreate, reclaim, redeem, and renew unto God's future aspiration by the power of His Spirit. - R.E. Slater
Secularization theory has been massively falsified. We don't live in an age of secularity. We live in an age of explosive, pervasive religiosity... an age of religious pluralism. - Peter L. Berger
Exploring the edge of life and faith in a post-everything world. - Todd Littleton
I don't need another reason to believe, your love is all around for me to see. – anon
Thou art our need; and in giving us more of thyself thou givest us all. - Khalil Gibran, Prayer XXIII
Be careful what you pretend to be. You become what you pretend to be. - Kurt Vonnegut
Religious beliefs, far from being primary, are often shaped and adjusted by our social goals. - Jim Forest
People, even more than things, need to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone. – anon
Certainly God's love has made fools of us all. - R.E. Slater
An apocalyptic Christian faith doesn't wait for Jesus to come, but for Jesus to become in our midst. - R.E. Slater
Christian belief in God begins with the cross and resurrection of Jesus, not with rational apologetics. - Eberhard Jüngel, Jürgen Moltmann
Our knowledge of God is through the 'I-Thou' encounter, not in finding God at the end of a syllogism or argument. There is a grave danger in any Christian treatment of God as an object. The God of Jesus Christ and Scripture is irreducibly subject and never made as an object, a force, a power, or a principle that can be manipulated. - Emil Brunner
Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh means "I will be that who I have yet to become." - God (Ex 3.14)
Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. - Thomas Merton
The church is God's world-changing social experiment of bringing unlikes and differents to the Eucharist/Communion table to share life with one another as a new kind of family. When this happens we show to the world what love, justice, peace, reconciliation, and life together is designed by God to be. The church is God's show-and-tell for the world to see how God wants us to live as a blended, global, polypluralistic family united with one will, by one Lord, and baptized by one Spirit. – anon
The cross that is planted at the heart of the history of the world cannot be uprooted. - Jacques Ellul
The Unity in whose loving presence the universe unfolds is inside each person as a call to welcome the stranger, protect animals and the earth, respect the dignity of each person, think new thoughts, and help bring about ecological civilizations. - John Cobb & Farhan A. Shah
If you board the wrong train it is of no use running along the corridors of the train in the other direction. - Dietrich Bonhoeffer
God's justice is restorative rather than punitive; His discipline is merciful rather than punishing; His power is made perfect in weakness; and His grace is sufficient for all. – anon
Our little [biblical] systems have their day; they have their day and cease to be. They are but broken lights of Thee, and Thou, O God art more than they. - Alfred Lord Tennyson
We can’t control God; God is uncontrollable. God can’t control us; God’s love is uncontrolling! - Thomas Jay Oord
Life in perspective but always in process... as we are relational beings in process to one another so life events are in process in relation to each event... as God is to Self, is to world, is to us... like Father, like sons and daughters, like events... life in process yet always in perspective. - R.E. Slater

Monday, January 13, 2014

D. Oiver Herbel - "Turning to Tradition": Why American Evangelicals Turn to Eastern Orthodoxy or Catholicism

Evangelicals Turning to Eastern Orthodoxy

by Scot McKnight

So, let me put this together again: these converts search for the original-est NT church by riding the American encouragement to be anti-traditional. Yet, their restoration spirit encounters the Great Tradition of the Orthodox church as the best form of restoring the NT church so they end up being anti-traditional by being un-Americanly traditional. Clever, and right?

I wish Herbel had compared why the restorationism of the evangelical converts is not on par with the traditionalism of the Orthodox when their theological orientation is more or less the same (and frankly the evangelical-rooted Orthodox converts are some of the best witnesses today for Orthodoxy). The tension appears to be over what one thinks is restoration while the others see it as a millennia long living tradition — rather than (just?) the original faith.

Herbel’s work lacked nuanced analysis of the crises at work in the conversion of his subjects. Rambo and I have both explored this in our books (mine in both Turning to Jesus and in Finding Faith, Losing Faith) while Herbel stuck with little more than general (if accurate) orientations. There are a variety of crises at work when one converts and these could have been explored.

Finally, this book, especially the endnotes, was riddled with typos. I found enough that I got irritated and stopped marking them. OUP ought to be embarrassed with its copyeditors.

- Scott

* * * * * * * * 

A short note here.

To Herbel and McKnight's observations I would like to add my own observation that for some Evangelicals, having become exasperated with the state of affairs of evangelicalism, may also turn to "safe" groups that are perceived as remaining in the older Protestant tradition but differ by degree by practice or worship. Hence, groups like the neo-Anabaptists, or even re-invigorated mainline denominational churches such as the UMC United Methodists, would serve as examples of evangelicals moving left of right (but not too far left) while remaining snug within Protestantism's older traditions. However, I would not include Christian groups such as the Charismatic, Emergent, or non-denominational Bible-fellowships, in this category as they are simply variants of a wider, older, Evangelical tradition, which some may transition into, or out of, for one reason or another over their lifetimes.

R.E. Slater
January 13, 2013

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