Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Theology in Public

Elesha Coffman

As we embark on this shared project of blogging through the Institutes, I wanted to share an example I found today (January 12) of some serious public theology. Some of you might be aware of the big story at my alma mater, Wheaton College, regarding a tenured professor who is being disciplined for saying on Facebook that Muslims and Christians worship the same God. There are a ton of articles on this topic, but you can get the gist here.

One of the questions surrounding this story has been whether the college's response is really about theology or about things like race, gender, and bigotry. (Theologian Miroslav Volf argues the latter here.) When high-level people are wrestling with theology in the Washington Post, you know that an unusual moment has arrived.

Given this backdrop, all of you students in HT 775, and most especially those of you who have taken early and medieval church history, would do well to read this blog post by Bruce Lindley McCormack of Princeton Seminary. His piece is way more polished than anything I expect you produce for our class! But note how deep questions from one of the classes you might not have thought especially relevant to our world today get raised on social media as part of a major public discussion.

"Public theologian" is one of the tasks you take on for yourself by virtue of attending seminary. I hope that you can take it seriously and, perhaps, learn to really enjoy it.

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