[A note for some of our readers: It goes without saying that the thoughts I express below are my own. They do not necessarily in every detail reflect the opinions of every contributor to this website. Some tender consciences appear to have been offended by my calling into question one specific aspect of atonement theory which is popular in Evangelical circles. What some people fail to understand is that, around here, we do theology like grown ups. We are not afraid of being spanked should we call into question some cherished theological opinion or tradition, so long as we do not step outside the undivided Faith of the Catholic Church. You see, around here we think theological reflection should allow room for calling human traditions into question. We want to create space for each other, to allow serious dialogue and debate to take place without living in mortal fear of being branded a heretic by some over-zealous Doctrinal Guard Dog.
Unfortunately, some, held captive by their theological traditions, are apparently not mature enough to listen patiently while different theological opinions are expressed. And make no mistake about it, the penal substitution model, though it is now dominant in Protestant orthodoxy, is an opinion, not an explicit teaching of Holy Scripture. The Church Universal has never given a sancrosanct status to any particular theory as to the logic and mechanism of the atonement, beyond the fact that Christ “was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate.” Beyond that, grown up theologians can feel free to call into question any human tradition regarding the details of the atonement. We trust that some of our readers are mature enough to understand that.]
A note to our readers: It goes without saying that I’m pretty full of myself. What all the little people fail to understand, since they’re not near as smart as yours truly, is that, around here, we do theology like grown-ups. Whenever anyone dares to offer an intellectual critique of our position, we impute emotional motives to him since that’s how to have an adult conversation about theology.
We’re not afraid of patting ourselves on the back because, if we don’t do it, who else will? I pat Kevin on the back, and Kevin pats Tim on the back, and Tim pats me on the back in one great big back-slapping, head-patting orgy of mutual admiration and self-congratulation cuz we’re all just so dog-gone wonderful.
It’s hard for folks who aren’t half as wonderful as we are to imagine how unbearably wonderful it is to be so wonderfully wonderful. Sometimes I can hardly contain myself. In fact, I have my right arm in a sling right now after I broke it in three different places by patting myself so hard on the back. Now Tim and I take turns.
We are not afraid of tootin’ our own horn. We even wear earplugs so's we don’t go deaf at the decibel level of our self-horn tootin’.
You see, around here we think theological reflection should allow room to pose as Presbyterians whenever we want to attack Baptists, while allowing more room to attack Presbyterians for not being crypto-Catholics like us. We want to create space for each other—preferably lots and lots of empty space up in the cranial region—to allow serious monologue to take place without living in mortal fear of being branded as a heretic by some over-zealous Doctrinal Guard Dog.
Of course, we reserve the exclusive right to brand a Baptist a heretic for not being more Mormon, and brand a Presbyterian a heretic for not being more Papistical.
And we also reserve the right to wallow in crybaby rhetoric whenever anyone subjects our public drivel to rational scrutiny--cuz that’s how grown-up theologians react to rational scrutiny.
Unfortunately, some, held captive by their theological traditions, are apparently not mature enough to roll over and play dead while we take pot-shots.
Of course, we reserve the exclusive right to make a highly selective and purely opportunistic appeal to tradition whenever it happens to serve our own provincial purpose since we’re so all-fired special. Mr Rogers said we’re special, and he was talking about us’ns, not about you’ins!
Every year we hold a contest with Dave Armstrong to see who’s the extra-specialest and most wonderfulest blogger in the whole wide world.
And let there be no mistake--today it’s penal substitution, but tomorrow it may be inerrancy or hell or the virgin birth or the deity of Christ, cuz it’s all about giving each other his/her own space, dude. We trust that some of our readers—all five of ‘em, including Tim’s Mom and Kevin’s Aunt Bessie and Jeremy (Jeremy’s my cousin twice-removed)—are mature enough to understand that.