Second in a Series

We have noted the high mortality rate of contemporary theological theories, and the tactics many recent theologians have used to commend their novel views as authentically Christian. We now look at some other characteristics of neo-Protestant religious views.

3. The special appeal of each neo-Protestant religious theory lies in its dramatic correlation of some urgent concern or deep longing in contemporary life with segments of the scriptural revelation that have been obscured or neglected by other recent religious alternatives. Barth stressed anew an authoritative Divine Word; Bultmann, the critical importance of personal decision; Cullmann, the centrality of salvation-history; Moltmann, the irreducible importance of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead; Pannenberg, the revelatory significance of universal world history; and so on. Each view gains a magnetic hold on younger clergymen through the reassertion of certain facets of biblical theology. And each theory compounds the errors of its predecessors in two ways. It first superimposes upon the Bible an interpretative framework alien to it, and then subordinates other definitive elements of biblical theology to this.

These theories, then, gain a following in the Christian community by correlating theosophical or philosophical novelties with broken fragments of the biblical revelation. The Bible is not appealed to as an authoritative Book, plenarily inspired and constituting a divinely given rule of Christian truth.

4. In regard to knowledge of God as an objective reality, the formative theological views of the last hundred years are metaphysically agnostic. This trend crested into the ecumenical vision of a world church that raised social involvement above ...

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