I welcome Roger Olson's article and resonate with its analysis. There are different types of theologians, and we need to respect each other's work. We are being called to strive for the dynamic equilibrium of continuity and creativity that characterizes great theology. Olson believes, as I do, that fidelity to Scripture is consonant with innovation in formulating doctrine, and that it is all right at times to challenge assumptions that underlie certain of our traditions.
DOING THEOLOGY EN ROUTE
I also hear Olson saying (as a subtext) that, since more of our theologians are traditionalists, room needs to be made for reformists who are often under suspicion. I for one hope he is right in thinking that the evangelical movement is mature enough now to welcome both traditionalists and reformists.
As a reformist myself, I approach theology in a spirit of adventure, being always curious about what I may find. For me, theology is like a rich feast, with many dishes to enjoy and delicacies to taste. It is like a centuries-old conversation that I am privileged to take part in, a conversation replete with innumerable voices to listen to. More like a pilgrim than a settler, I tread the path of discovery and do my theology en route.
I also do theology contextually, recognizing that theology will reflect the culture in which it emerges. Everything I write is not only about something but is addressed to someone. I may have been unwise in introducing too many of my discoveries in too short a time since I have fallen under a cloud of suspicion on account of it. I know perfectly well that evangelicals are leery of innovation in theology (because it reminds them of liberalism), and that they expect their theologians to defend tradition, not ...1
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