Monday, July 31, 2006

Already a Heretic on Foreknowledge, Boyd Takes a Beating on Apolitical Christianity

We thank gentle reader Dynitta for drawing our SWNIDish attention to an article detailing the recent departure of about 1000 people (or 20% of attendance) from the Woodland Hills Church of Maplewood, Minnesota, where Greg Boyd preaches.

Boyd is famous for his adherence to "openness theology," the notion that God preserves human freedom by limiting his knowledge of the future. That position has made him the object of scorn for many in the Reformed tradition (and the object of praise for many in the anti-Calvinist Stone-Campbell Restoration Movement).

But now he has taken a step too far. He has questioned the justification for the alliance between evangelical churches and the Republican Party, yea, even the expression of American nationalism as part of the worship of evangelical churches.

SWNID applauds Boyd's position. Loudly, conservatively and patriotically.

If this surprises gentle readers who have observed our enthusiastic support for things Republican and American, note well what we say here. Our faith defines the values that we support politically, but not the means. We are not politically conservative merely because we are theologically conservative. We are generally politically conservative because we think political conservatism, as usually defined these days, has better historical and social-scientific support as a political philosophy that brings decent order to human societies. So our theologically conservative values are supported best by political conservatism, we believe.

But we don't think that a person has to be a Christian to figure out that political conservatism is the best available political alternative. Divine enlightenment is not necessary to perceive the general patterns of human history and social behavior. It's garden-variety, secular wisdom. As Boyd himself is quoted in the article:

I don’t think there’s a particular angle we have on society that others lack. All good, decent people want good and order and justice. Just don’t slap the label "Christian" on it.

Further we also adhere to a Christian tradition that insists on liberty in matters of Christian opinion and has always put political issues in that category. Further, we insist that the church embrace people of all nationalities, and so find the expression of American nationalism to be problematic in Christian worship, except as a prayer of thanksgiving or supplication for much-needed divine blessing that is not the exclusive right of America.

So Christians, like us, should be involved in politics. And their faith should inform their involvement. But they shouldn't confuse their political convictions with their faith.

So we're right there with Greg Boyd.


farris said...

Bravo. Guiliani in 2008.

some random guy directly associated with the biblically founded university on the hill said...

Indeed more Christians need to understand the positions that Boyd and SWNID hold concerning the Faith and politics. Perhaps a small defining step for some people would be to ask if they would still "pray for the President" when the President is a Democrat