Last November I attended a conference in Chicago where theology definitely did matter. It was the annual gathering of the American Academy of Religion. Scholars presented myriad papers on such topics as "Reconstructing Redemption in a Feminist Materialist Voice" or, in what could have been the conference's theme, "Abandoning the Paradigm, Embracing the Paradox." Yet, despite the theological theses presented, and despite the excellent work of some evangelical scholars, there was not much for CT to cover.
Does CT, then, think that theology does not matter? Some have argued this. (Of course, others have argued the opposite—that we are too preoccupied with theology.) But these critics misunderstand our mission.
Our goal is to embrace theology both as a tool and as subject matter, but to do so in the language of the church, not as a dialect of the university. This does not mean we ignore or oversimplify technical language. What it means to be "saved," for instance, can be a vacuous concept without words like atonement and justification to fill in the picture.
We believe a rift is growing between the academy and the congregation. We want to act as a bridge. In recent issues we commented on the state of Catholic doctrine, because evangelicals have questions about how to relate to their cultural allies; sin, because Christians often ignore that doctrine; and post-Christian goddess theology, because many Christians wonder about the roles experience and gender should play in theology. In this issue we provide a forum on a new paradigm for understanding God, because it arises from profound issues in the Christian life (see article "Has God Been Held Hostage by Philosophy?"). We cover these ...1
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