Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Differences matter (and there's nothing wrong with that)

Carl Trueman on why we should speak of Christian worldviews (plural):

Just to be clear: all this `Christian world life view' talk is not my language. I am myself very uncomfortable with it because it fails to respect difference among Christians; but I do not consider it inappropriate to ask those who do use this language with such confidence to explain it to me; to explain, for example, why they use the singular not the plural; and what are the doctrines that can be set to one side as matters indifferent when constructing this singular Christian world life view?

For myself, I am very comfortable with the view of the world expressed in the Westminster Standards. The theology therein profoundly expresses my view of life, the universe and all that. Does that mean I deny the name Christian to someone who is, say, an Arminian or a Lutheran or an Anabaptist or a Catholic? Not at all, though they would be as ineligible to serve as an officer in my church as I would be in theirs. But -- and here's the rub -- does it mean we share the same comprehensive world-life view? I would say not -- holding to Catholic sacramentology profoundly shapes how a Catholic looks at the world; holding to justification by imputation profoundly shapes how a Protestant looks at the world; holding to dispensationalism profoundly affects how a Fundamentalist looks at the world; and holding to Anabaptist ecclesiology profoundly affects how an Anabaptist looks at the world. And, while we're at it, to be indifferent to these things, to assume their a priori unimportance, profoundly affects one's view of the world as well. In other words, there are as many CWLVs as there are Christian sects (I use the term non-pejoratively); and it is extremely odd, not to say depressing, that, in a world where we are now supposed to rejoice in difference, it is frankly so hard to get people to see what seems to be a fairly obvious point.

I agree! Read the entire post for the context of Trueman's remarks.


Randy said...

As always, love the stuff you write and post, Steve. Not sure what to think of this but I want to avoid a long habit of overplaying an emphasis so as to elucidate potential flaws -- abad angle of straw-manism!
So, not sure I'll get to the whole article but wanted to respond. I think I really do agree that these theological dif. are profound. I would not want to say that they take us out of the Christian tent, which he seems to say fairly directly as well.
I DO have a rub these days in that I feel reformed folks have a juggernaut going of sorts and tend -- more than tend, sorry -- to suggest we Arminians will barely get in if at all. That really irks me and some of the stuff I see, even on Challies (though I admit to being too far out of the discussion these days), is simply and plainly not fair to the larger discussion encompassing orthodoxy and what I call classical christianity. The greatest throughout have had some serious idiosyncracies, and the reformed folks are not immune.
And I said all that without observing that the Reformation, properly so, is over. (Oops, I said it.)
Enough -- way enough.

Appreciate you, though, and you are definitely in the Christian tent in MY book. Is MY book Christian?

Did I say enough?!

Stephen Ley said...

Randy, you are most definitely in the Christian tent! Anyone that can affirm the apostolic faith as expressed in, say, The Apostles' Creed for example, is certainly my brother or sister in Christ. That doesn't mean, though, that I agree with the old song "I don't care what church you belong too." My room in the common Christian house (to use CSL's analogy) is the Reformed/Presbyterian room, but I love having fellowship with residents of the other rooms.

I have a soft spot for contrarians like Carl Trueman (which is probably not the best thing), but it makes for good fodder for the blog. As always, thanks for reading and chiming in! I hope you guys are enjoying the beautiful state of Virginia!

Randy said...

Thanks, Steve! I love CSL's analogy -- really captured me when I first read it. I want to be in that big house here and hereafter! And maybe.....only maybe....we'll gain a clue about some of these pesky wranglings then. I'm thinking though that alot of what we thought was granite will scarcely matter to us then, and might just get consumed as the straw that it is. Ouch!