Significant ministerial realignments during the past five years are pointing to our present religious situation as a time of transition, the directions and outcome of which are still uncertain. But the index to these realignments is not exclusively theological. It includes attitudes toward evangelism and ecumenism as well. In view of doctrinal conflicts, confusing currents of thought and activity, and a wide range of conformity, the permanence of some of these attitudes is unassured.
The original theological divide separated two distinct groups over the issue of biblical theology. On the modernist side, it was the rejection of any absolute theology that opened the door to creedal tolerance and theological relativism. On the evangelical side, it was the exaltation of the principle of scriptural revelation that issued in firm defense of a revealed theology.
The lines of separation dimmed, however, because of several factors. Some modernists clung to fragments of New Testament teaching (especially fragments of Jesus’ teaching) with absolute devotion. And some injudicious popularizers of fundamentalism, though comprising a minority, encouraged certain extreme views, e.g., inspiration of Scripture misconstrued as dictation, crass literalism, and emphasis on Christ’s deity neglectful of his humanity, which brought conservative positions into measurable disrepute. Nonetheless, the historic dividing line between evangelical and modernist approaches remained quite unobscured, until neo-supernaturalism arose to assail the classic liberal view and to profess a return to the theology of the Reformers. This neo-supernaturalism, or dialectical theology, has proved itself to be a midway haven for mobile modernists and discontented evangelicals. ...1
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