Saturday, September 15, 2012
Cut text from my book on Contemporary Protestant Biblical Theology
The capacity to expand the Barthian project as an ongoing theological work is an issue of the most critical magnitude given the foundational status of the Bible as the classical Protestant magisterium. The persisting reality of the cultural divide between fundamentalism and modernism permeates all sectors of U.S. Protestantism to its core, which compounds the challenge of embracing Scripture as the primary narrative of faith in its complex relationship to church tradition and the broader cultural matrix. An imaginative coming to terms with the implications of this chasm in which critical theological issues are probed represents a crucial baseline for any viable Protestant renewal even within the context of its culturally marginalized diaspora setting. As argued throughout this book, any such reform within Protestantism will not come easy and will be ultimately limited in any event, although to what extent, one of course, cannot say. The point is there is a viable basis for some fruitful enhancement of centrist ground as exemplified for example in the critical dialogue between evangelical and postliberal theology and in the reclamation of the neo-orthodox legacy, all of which have the capacity to speak to searchingly attuned sensibilities underlying the confessing Christ movements within the mainline denominations and to critically articulated evangelical perspectives.