Steve Thomason I paused this morning to read. I have been writing for the past two days and I needed a change of mode.
Postliberal theology Postliberal theology often called narrative theology is a theological movement which became popular in the late twentieth century. The movement's proponents argue that the Church's use of the Bible should focus on a narrative presentation of the Christian faith as regulative for the development of a coherent systematic theology.
Thus Christianity is to be viewed as an overarching story, with its own embedded culture, grammar, and practices which can be understood only with reference to Christianity's own internal logic.
Scientific philosophers such as Thomas Kuhn and literary theorists such as Erich Auerbach also influenced the new approach. This movement has provided much of the foundation for other movements, such as radical orthodoxyScriptural reasoningpaleo-orthodoxythe emerging church movement, and postliberal expressions of Evangelical Protestantism and Roman Catholicism.
Its ecumenical spirit originates from George Lindbeck's work, which was partly animated by his involvement as a Lutheran observer at the Second Vatican Council.
In contrast to liberal individualism in theology, postliberal theology roots rationality not in the certainty of the individual thinking subject cogito ergo sum, "I think, therefore I am" but in the language and culture of a living tradition of communal life.
The postliberals argue that the Christian faith be equated with neither the religious feelings of romanticism nor the propositions of a rationalist or fundamentalist approach to religion and theology. Rather, the Christian faith is understood as a culture and a language, in which doctrines are likened to a "depth grammar" for the first-order language and culture practices, skills, habits of the church that is historically shaped by the continuous, regulated reading of the scriptural narrative over time.
Thus, in addition to a critique of theological liberalism, and an emphasis upon the Bible, there is also a stress upon tradition, and upon the language, culture and intelligibility intrinsic to the Christian community.
As a result, postliberal theologies are often oriented around the scriptural narrative as a script to be performed, understand orthodox dogmas esp.
The early postliberals followed Karl Barth's view that the best apologetic is a good systematic, and as such believed that Christians should "not engage in systematic apologetics.
Postliberal theologians will make ad hoc connections with the philosophy or art or miscellaneous experience of the cultures around them, but they do not believe that any non-Christian framework, philosophical or cultural, sets the context in which Christian claims must be defended.
In this way, postliberal theologies have largely replicated earlier 20th-century debates surrounding the notion of the "analogy of being" cf.
Unlike the pluralistic liberal trend preceding it, postliberal theology also tends to stress the dissimilarities between religious worldviews,  and will often strike out against dominant cultural trends. Scriptural interpretation remains fundamental for postliberal theology. There are at least four key exegetical differences between liberal and postliberal theology.
First, liberal interpretation of Scripture is done with a preoccupation with the historical context, whereas postliberal interpretation is "an act of imagination," interpreting the text with the needs of the reading sub-community in the forefront.
Liberal theology deals with aiming to understand the text as it would have applied to the past.
Using a non-foundationalist approach, postliberal interpretation aims to interpret the text as it should be applied now and in the future. Second, liberal theologians stress dependence on unbiased reason to ensure finding the objective meaning of the text. Postliberal theologians, however, recognize the impossibility of reading without imposing subjective interpretation of the text by the reader, where such a notion of objective reading disintegrates.
Third, "we read texts as bodied interpreters fully situated in some body politic. Finally, because reading is always done with a concern for the sub-community, postliberal interpretation always contains a normative element, encouraging an active response.
Liberal interpretation, on the other hand, center around time- and situation-independent truths that do not necessarily impel the reader to act. The Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible is one example of postliberal scriptural interpretation at work.
Catholicism, Protestantism, and Postliberal conversions It is also noteworthy that in recent years a great number of prominent postliberal theologians have become Roman Catholics, such as R. Renoand Paul J. Griffiths both former Anglicansas well as Bruce Marshall, Michael Root, and Reinhard Huetter former Lutheransin a manner similar to the followers of the tractarian movement within midth century Anglicanismwhich also occurred during global economic change see Industrial Revolution.
Prominent postliberals becoming Catholic is especially notable because George Lindbeck's ecumenical work at Vatican II and beyond expressed no interest in individual conversions to the Catholic Church, but did suggest the need for a communal transformation of liberal Protestantism so that Protestant Christianity might begin to be more identifiable as a form of Catholic Christianity.
Postliberalism partly arose in response to a decline of the prestige of mainline Protestantism in America, in light of which conservative Evangelicalism and Roman Catholicism were seen by some theologians and ministers as the only serious theological and sociological alternatives.
Post-liberalism has sought to transform Christian communities in a socially embodied, historically extended way. Criticisms Critics of postliberalism often have been concerned with its "post-foundational" aspects. Similar to the criticism of postmodern philosophical systems, critics wonder how one postliberal theology can be measured up against another to determine which is better, more appropriate, closer to truth.
Postliberal theology's divorcing itself from historical necessity and objective consideration is viewed negatively by many conservative Christians. Additionally, critics wonder what implications such allegedly relativistic views, such as the possibility of religious pluralism, might have for Christianity.
Some critics have suggested that because the movement has largely rejected a "mediating" theology thus, rendering it mostly inaccessible to laypeopleit is difficult to implement its tenets on the local congregational level, so postliberalism remains largely an academic specialty, much like preceding movements such as neo-orthodoxy.
Later postliberal theologies have, however, made mediation a central concern e. Milbankand grassroots groups like the Ekklesia Project can be seen to cut across the face of such criticisms. Debates have been centered on issues of incommensurabilitysectarianismfideismrelativismtruth and ontological reference.
A number of works have sought to resolve these questions to various degrees of satisfaction e. PecknoldVanhoozerDe Hartand the debates continue across the theological disciplines. Furthermore, critics have maintained that the internal coherence model postliberal theologians assume is difficult to square with developments in modern science which would seem to challenge the tenets of traditional, orthodox Christianity e.
Likewise, Bruce Marshall and others have developed postliberal approaches to truth that resemble the "moderate realism" of the medieval correspondence theory of truth e. Christ, Theology, and Scripture by William C.Scott Horrell Abstract Broadly across Christian traditions today, the renaissance of Trinitarian studies continues to yield productive directives regarding the practical implications of faith in the tripersonal God.
See all books authored by William C.
Placher, including A History of Christian Theology: An Introduction, and Readings in the History of Christian Theology, Volume 1: From Its Beginnings to the Eve of the Reformation (Readings in the History of Christian Theology Vol.
The Triune God: An Essay in Postliberal Theology.
by William C. Placher. Kapic and Justin Taylor (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, ) William C. Placher, The Triune God: An Essay in Postliberal Theology (Louisville, KY: Westminster .
George Lindbeck George Arthur Lindbeck (–) was an American Lutheran theologian. He was best known as an ecumenicist and as one of the fathers of postliberal theology.
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The Trinity lies at the heart of the DITB project. It is necessary, then, to define the term social Trinity in light of the larger theological conversation of the Triune God. The Triune God: An Essay in Postliberal Theology (Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, ),