Posted by: chuckbumgardner | September 10, 2007

Abraham on the Theological Task

Christopher Hall, in Reading Scripture with the Church Fathers (InterVarsity, 1998), quotes from William J. Abraham’s article, “Oh God, Poor God — The State of Contemporary Theology,” The Reformed Journal 40:2 (1990).

“. . . a true and truly Christian theology will surely be deeply rooted in revelation and tradition, in worship and prayer in the Christian community, in compassion and service in the world, in fear and trembling before the wonder of the Christian gospel, and in humble dependence on the grace and agency of the Holy Spirit. Yet precisely these notes are the ones missing from the prevailing canons of theological discourse.”



  1. Consider this good article: Intentional Doctrinal Imprecision

    Seems that doctrine is avoided to broaden the base of appeal.

    I have been involved in leading churches for four decades, with an emphasis on church planting in the last few years. I’ve also visited and addressed hundreds of churches around the world and have had the privilege of meeting thousands of Christian leaders. Through this time I’ve watched an unintentional doctrinal imprecision on the part of many pastors become intentional. In other words, I have witnessed a new “conventional wisdom” emerge. Simply stated it is the “wisdom” of attempting to circle in more people for our churches by unashamedly minimizing, or perhaps nearly eradicating, the restricting influences of doctrine. What pastors used to do (because of being poorly taught perhaps), now they do by intent, all for church growth.

  2. Hi, Jim,

    Quite a refreshing article; thanks for the link. I’ll highlight two other quotations from Elliff’s article:

    “The apostles began churches with the intent to grow them as solidly as possible by means of a steady and meticulous interest in doctrine.”

    “We forget that the difficult doctrines that we talk about are found in the Letters to the Churches. These were epistles that contained the very truths we are refusing to talk about in our churches. Do you see the incongruity? Is it really right to think that we should not talk about those doctrines that were the staple of the earliest churches?”

    I appreciated his emphasis on the leadership of a church working hard to determine what they believe about various doctrines, coming down to particular doctrinal positions.

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