This week I borrowed “Across the Spectrum: Understanding Issues in Evangelical Theology” by Gregory Boyd and Paul Eddy, which I’ve been avidly reading yesterday and today.
It was partially prompted I think by the the prophecies of evangelical doom echoing across the pacific from Evangelicalism in America. Not that I want to give the impression that Australians are terribly concerned by the Rob Bell / John Piper spat. Few of the evangelicals I know recognize the name Rob Bell, even when they’ve seen a Nooma video, and some that do think he preaches at the same Mars Hill church as Mark Driscoll (laughs) so you can see we’re all hanging onto this debate oh so intently (not).
But the bigger prompting is just plain curiosity. How have others defined the evangelical spectrum? Across the Spectrum makes for interesting reading.
But it’s curious where Boyd and Eddy draw some of the lines. For instance, while I’m totally with them in differentiating the Genesis debate into the Young Earth view, the Day Age view, the Restoration view and the Literary Framework view (rather than the stereotyped and polarized Young Earth / Old Earth views so lamely reported in the media) I am rather puzzled by their differentiating the Atonement debate into the Penal Substitution view, the Christus Victor view and the Moral Government view (as if everyone sees those views as mutually exclusive) and the Millenium debate into the Premillenial view, the Postmillenial view and the Amillenial view (what, has Boyd not read N T Wright and grasped his alternative to gnosticized Amillenialism?)
And it’s interesting to locate myself within this spectrum. On the Genesis debate for instance I’m well and truly with the Literary Framework crowd, with the Women in Ministry debate I affirm gifts matter more than gender, in the Baptism debate I affirm it should be a voluntary informed choise, and as I’ve said, in the Hell debate I lean towards the Annihilationist view, though of a distinctly Apocalypstic flavour.
I must admit the Eternal Security debate is one that puzzles me completely. For even if one holds to the Eternal Security view, which suggests those who fall away were never true believers in the first place, even still only God knows who will endure to the end so I don’t see the justification for human arrogance / assurance.
Of interest, I think I may be out of step with many of the missional crowd over the Divine Image debate, in affirming the Functional view of Imago Dei over both the Substantial view and the Relational view. Yet it’s not unrelated to my support for the Literary Framework view in the Genesis debate. Basically, I interpret Genesis as a counter-imperial polemic against Mesopotamian state polytheism. Genesis affirms everyone is made in the image of God, to exercise divine authority on earth. Everyone – men and women, slave and free – not just the God-Empirors.