From Canada to Mexico runs the continental divide, along which two raindrops falling just a few inches apart can end up in two different oceans. There is also a continental divide in contemporary theology. Certain truths and doctrines characterize historic Christianity and, if rejected, necessarily involve its repudiation.

The present state of contemporary theology is certainly one of confusion. Whom are we to believe? Weimann with his natural theism? Bultmann with his demythologized New Testament but existentially impassioned kerygma? Barth with his massive tomes quarried from a dozen different pits? Berkouwer with his scintillating restatement of Calvinism? Bishop Robinson with his theological first-aid kit? Ebeling with his vast historical learning used to buttress the new hermeneutic? What makes the situation really confusing for the layman, the seminary student, and the average minister is that all these theologians use the same Bible and the same or similar terminology, tackle the same or similar problems, teach in historic Christian schools, work in the same historic denominations, and practice the same sacramental life.

In a preliminary way we can find three different strands in contemporary theology. (1) There is the orthodox strand, which includes the Roman Catholic and the Eastern Orthodox theologian, the traditional Calvinist, and the Methodist. It is characterized by the belief, common to all versions of orthodoxy, that Christianity is essentially a religion of supernatural salvation wrought by the death and resurrection of Christ and appropriated through faith (and the sacraments). (2) There is the modernist strand, which believes centrally that Jesus revealed perfect spirituality; this may be interpreted according ...

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