“Their first church was barn-like. ‘We want places so plain that every board will say welcome to the poorest,’ he said.” Phineas Bresee
It is fatal to let people suppose that Christianity is only a mode of feeling; it is vitally necessary to insist that it is first and foremost a rational explanation of the universe. Dorothy Sayers
The only wrong thing you can do with the gospel is nothing. Joe Radkovic
On our journey, we must live where Christ is in need. He is only needy in his followers, for he himself has no needs. Augustine
I am just a few pages short of finishing Thomas Oden’s “A Change of Heart: A Personal and Theological Memoir.” The ‘change of heart’ refers to his realignment with Christian orthodoxy after immersion into theological liberalism of the United Methodist kind, a particularly potent strain.
His memoir gives us the ‘feel’ of theological liberalism – its culture, its fears, its utter disgust of orthodoxy, much less its rage against Evangelicalism, its focus on Marxism, wealth redistribution and sexual liberation. Oden was a part of it. He knows personally the key players, the books, the worldview, and the key events.
He is kind but pointed. He knows the enemy of orthodoxy. His connection with Evangelicalism has beginnings in relationships with JI Packer, Chuck Colson, Elisabeth Eliot, and several Gordon Conwell faculty. As Oden turned toward what he calls “paleo-orthodoxy,” the theological consensus of the church of the first five centuries, he recalls the price he paid in the theological circles he traveled in. He was a tenured professor whose job was secure but whose influence was reduced to virtually zero. At the same time his field of influence grew exponentially as he found a Christianity alive and well outside of the academy and the liberal mainline denominational bureaucracies.
Some Evangelicals are not friendly toward Oden’s vision of the overlapping unity of Evangelical, Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthdox communions. I am on Oden’s side on this one. His is quite the story of loss and gain in the liberal/orthodox conflict.
All good theology, all authentic morality is an unfolding of Jesus from within. All bad theology and morality are a diluting of Jesus. Peter Kreeft
No folly is more costly than the folly of intolerant idealism. Winston Churchill