From Augustine to Warfield: One Anglican’s Dislike of (Most) Western Theology « Musings of a Hard-Lining Moderate

From Augustine to Warfield: One Anglican’s Dislike of (Most) Western Theology « Musings of a Hard-Lining Moderate.

This may not be adequate easter freading, but I suggest Carson’s post is worth browsing through.

I concur with much of what he writes there.

Author: DanutM

Anglican theologian. Former Director for Faith and Development Middle East and Eastern Europe Region of World Vision International

2 thoughts on “From Augustine to Warfield: One Anglican’s Dislike of (Most) Western Theology « Musings of a Hard-Lining Moderate”

    1. Dear Carson,
      There is not much I disagree with. I would add, however, a few notes, coming mostly from my particular pilgrimage, in dialogue with Eastern Orthodoxy, which did not (and most probably will not) lead me into becoming an Orthodox. I am too Protestant at the core.
      My comments are not, however, about Olson’s book, that I do not know so well, but about his subject matter. And, I have to add, I am too postmodern to care very much about ‘objective’. I would leave that up to God. 🙂
      I have great doubts about the way the Church has sorted out, with the great ‘help’ of Augustine not only the Donatist controversy, but especially the Pelagian problem. Even if I am not a specialist in this, I would still chose Pelagius over Augustine, any day.
      There is a tragic absence in this picture of the Nestorian missions in the East. Again, the source of a very ‘westocentric’ view of Church history.
      I would say, there are a few figures after the fourth Council that we should not neglect: like St. Simeon the New Theologian (for his charismatic pneumatology); St Maximus (too much good to describe with a label) and St. John of Damascus (because I am not an iconoclast). May I also add an Armenian, St. Gregory of Narek, a sort of Oriental, St. Simeon?
      After the Great Schism (why are most people in the West neglecting the First – or Minor – Schism, that took place after Chalcedon? simply because it did not affect the West? is that enough?) St Gregory Palamas cannot and should not be neglected, even if his hesychastic theology sounds like Orthodox scholasticism to me, simply because it is, with the Fathers, the source of Orthodox mystical theology.
      Like you, I am wary of the Western forensic emphasis in theology and I prefer the more ontological, process oriented and relational emphasis of Orthodox soteriology.
      I too look at the Reformation as a great and failed chance of the Church to be transformed without loosing her unity. It took a temperamental reformer and a crazy pope to open the Pandora box and never ending splitting, in the ((mostly false) pretense of faithfulness. I agree on this account, with the main thesis of Richard Niebuhr’s The Social Causes of Denominationalism. In most cases, it is more about human pride than about doctrine. Excuses not reality.
      I have however, a much more positive view of the Counter-Reformation, which was really a reformation, with certain limits, which is responsible for the Catholic Church being much more diverse today, within the confines of the same institutional unit, than it ever was, and, of course, much more than it was at the time of Luther, with the Reformers included.
      The interaction between Lutheranism and Constantinople/Orthodoxy deserve much more attention, but they are often neglected because it is not very important for the West. Yet, it had major implications, to this day, for us in the East.
      I have no patience for Protestant scholasticism. I think most Protestant problems have their origin in that period. Vibrant faith was turned into ideology at that time and neither Pietism, nor the Awakenings were able to cure the disease, but only increased the confusion.
      I don;t care much about the first half of the last century. I think it stayed mostly under the spell of the two rationalist centuries before.
      The time after 2nd World War to today, however, I find exciting, mainly for the same reasons you have mentioned.
      Note: I will also add this comment on your blog.


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