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Alister McGrath, Christian Theology: An Introduction. Chapter 4: The Modern Period, c.1750 to the Present. Theology and Cultural Developments in the West. The Enlightenment critique of traditional theology The rationality of Christian beliefs

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alister mcgrath christian theology an introduction

Alister McGrath, Christian Theology: An Introduction

Chapter 4: The Modern Period, c.1750 to the Present

Wiley-Blackwell 2010

theology and cultural developments in the west
Theology and Cultural Developments in the West
  • The Enlightenment critique of traditional theology
    • The rationality of Christian beliefs
    • The basic ideas of Christianity can be derived from reason
    • Reason can judge revelation
    • Conflicts with traditional Christian theology
      • The notion of revelation
      • The status and interpretation of the Bible
      • The identity and significance of Jesus Christ
      • The doctrine of the Trinity
      • The critique of miracles
      • The rejection of original sin
      • The problem of evil

Wiley-Blackwell 2010

slide3
Romanticism and the renewal of the theological imagination
    • Appeals to human intuition and imagination
    • Friedrich Schleiermacher (1768-1834), The Christian Faith
  • Marxism: an intellectual rival to Christianity
    • Karl Marx (1818-83)
    • Marxism in Russia and Europe
    • Marxism and Latin American liberation theology
  • The crisis of faith in Victorian England
    • George Eliot (AKA Mary Ann Evans, 1819-90)
    • Matthew Arnold (1822-88)
  • Darwinism: a new theory of human origins
    • Charles Darwin (1809-82), Origin of the Species
    • William Paley; Charles Kingsley
  • Postmodernism and a new theological agenda
    • Abandonment of centralizing narratives (metanarratives)
    • Deconstructionism
    • Impact on biblical interpretation and systematic theology

Wiley-Blackwell 2010

key theologians
Key Theologians
  • F.D.E. Schleiermacher (1768-1834)
    • Christian Faith: defense of the faith to its “cultural despisers”
  • John Henry Newman (1801-90)
    • From the Oxford Movement to the Catholic Church
  • Karl Barth (1886-1968)
    • God’s self-revelation
  • Paul Tillich (1886-1965)
    • Correlation of culture and faith
  • Karl Rahner (1904-84)
    • “transcendental method”
  • Hans Urs von Balthasar (1905-88)
    • Theodramatics
  • Jürgen Moltmann (b.1926)
    • A suffering God
  • Wolfhart Pannenberg (b.1928)
    • Revelation as history

Wiley-Blackwell 2010

denominational developments in theology
Denominational Developments in Theology
  • Catholicism
    • Second Vatican Council (1962-5)
    • Catholic Tübingen School (1830s)
    • Hans Urs von Balthasar and Karl Rahner
  • Orthodoxy
    • Russian Orthodoxy
    • Greek Orthodoxy
  • Protestantism
    • Liberal Protestantism
    • Neo-orthodoxy
    • Postliberalism
    • Fundamentalism

Wiley-Blackwell 2010

slide6
Evangelicalism
    • Four central assumptions:
      • The authority and sufficiency of Scripture
      • The uniqueness of redemption through Christ’s death on the cross
      • The need for personal conversion
      • The necessity and urgency of evangelism
    • Adiaphora
  • Pentecostal and charismatic movements
    • Three “waves”:
      • Classic Pentecostalism (early 1900s)
      • 1960s and 1970s in mainline denominations and Catholicism
      • The “signs and wonders” movement (e.g., John Wimber)

Wiley-Blackwell 2010

some recent western theological movements and trends
Some Recent Western Theological Movements and Trends
  • Liberal Protestantism
    • Friedrich Schleiermacher
    • In light of modern culture and knowledge, Christian beliefs were:
      • abandoned (e.g., doctrine of original sin)
      • reinterpreted (e.g., divinity of Christ)
    • Optimistic view of human nature
    • Middle road between traditionalism and rejection
    • Paul Tillich (1886-1965)
    • Critiques
      • Universal human religious experience?
      • Reliant on transient, secular cultural developments
      • Willing to abandon Christian distinctives to be acceptable to culture

Wiley-Blackwell 2010

slide8
Modernism
    • Catholic theologians and the Enlightenment
    • Alfred Loisy (1857-1940)
    • George Tyrrell (1861-1909)
    • Modernism in mainstream Protestant denominations
      • England
      • United States
  • Neo-orthodoxy
    • Karl Barth (1886-1968), Church Dogmatics
    • The self-revelation of God in Christ through Scripture
    • Dialectical theology
    • Neo-orthodoxy
    • Critiques:
      • Emphasis on the trascendence and “otherness” of God
      • No external criteria to verify claims - fideism
      • No account of other religions

Wiley-Blackwell 2010

slide9
La ressourcement, or La nouvelle théologie
    • Catholic theological revival in France
    • Jean Daniélou, “The Present Orientations of Religious Thought” (1946)
    • Rediscovering and reappropriating original sources of theology
    • “Primacy of the pastoral” (Yves Congar)
  • Feminism
    • Conflict with Christianity
    • Reappraisal of the Christian past (Sarah Coakley)
    • Challenges to traditional theology
      • The maleness of God
      • The nature of sin
      • Pastoral theology
      • The person of Christ

Wiley-Blackwell 2010

slide10
Liberation theology
    • Latin American context, 1960s and 1970s
    • CELAM II (1968 gathering of Catholic bishops at Medellín, Colombia)
    • Basic themes:
      • Oriented toward the poor and oppressed
      • Critical reflection on practice
    • Use of Marxist theory for social analysis
    • Key theological issues
      • Biblical hermeneutics
      • The nature of salvation
  • Black theology
    • North American context, 1960s and 1970s
    • Joseph Washington, Black Religion; Albert Cleage, Black Messiah
    • The “Black Manifesto,” Detroit, 1969
    • James H. Cone (b.1938), Black Theology of Liberation

Wiley-Blackwell 2010

slide11
Postliberalism
    • Rejection of “universal rationality” and common religious experience; particularity of the Christian faith
    • Antifoundational: rejects universal foundation of knowledge
    • Communitarian: appeal to values and language of a community
    • Historicist: importance of traditions and historical communities
    • George Lindbeck, Nature of Doctrine (1984)
    • Paul Holmer, Grammar of Faith (1978)
    • Theology as descriptive, intrasystematic discipline
    • Christian ethics in communities (Stanley Hauerwas, b.1940)
  • Radical orthodoxy
    • 1990s movement in Anglican theology
    • John Milbank (b.1952)

Wiley-Blackwell 2010

theologies of the developing world
Theologies of the Developing World
  • India
    • Christianity indigenous to India by the fourth century
    • European colonizers
    • Resentment of westernization
    • Keshub Chunder Sen (1838-84)
    • Indian independence, 1947
    • Christianity and Hinduism
      • The cosmic Christ includes all pluralities of religious experience
      • Christ is the goal of the quest of Hinduism
      • Hinduism’s relation to Christianity is analogous to the Old Testament and Judaism
      • Christianity is incompatible with Hinduism
      • The Hindu context gives to rise to a specifically Indian form of Christianity

Wiley-Blackwell 2010

slide13
Africa
    • European missionaries and colonizers
    • Indigenous African theologians
      • John Mbiti (b.1931), Kenya
      • Kwame Bediako (1945-2008), Ghana
      • Charles Nyamiti (b.1931), Tanzania
    • South Africa and apartheid

Wiley-Blackwell 2010

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