Theology as democracy

This is another thought from the Scot McKnight seminar last monday. I tried to find where I wrote this down in my notes but I could not so here goes from my patchy memory.

If we do not allow the space of the voicing of doubts and find an honest and authentic way to hear and discuss the questions that many 20-30 somethings are asking then they will simply find out for themselves.

With the invention of the internet, (and this generation is intensely internet savy) we have seen the opening up and flattening out of theology. Everyone has access to knowledge and opinions and can access it as long as they can connect to the web. In a nutshell if we will not listen and interact with their “ironic faith” questions, then many will simply find somewhere they are discussing their questions on the net. Someone who is prepared to ask and think through the difficult questions that their church or pastor refuses to acknowledge. This is what McKnight calls the democratizing of theology.

As I talk to many of the black students on campus, this is a real problem that many of them encounter at home (mainly the Eastern Cape or Limpopo). Where the pastor is beyond question and those who question him are said to be trouble makers or lacking faith. What effect will this have on the many genuine questions of young men and women? I suspect we will either raise a generation of shallow thinking Christians (those who decide to capitulate and “go with the flow”) or they will find the answers for themselves in the murky, unpredictable, all opinions available, democracy of the internet. I agree with Scot, however, we do it we must find a safe place for questions and doubts within the local community of believers. But we must do this without giving away the gospel. If we fail to get either right we are in danger of selling short Africa


~ by John on May 18, 2008.

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