Sunday, May 17, 2015

Re-Discovery?

Lots of noise is being made these days about the Church rediscovering the truth about the atonement, about the faith, about the nature of God. I've made noises earlier in this blog about the magic word "Patristic" and how it seems to be used as a golden ticket to selling your views especially when presented over against a more recent view. After all it's Patristic...

But I'd like to take a bit of a swing at the whole rediscovery thing. And the first thing to be made clear is that this is not like the story in Kings, where the Book of the Law had been lost and now it has been found again. This is one view, expressed chronologically earlier than another view expressed more recently. The assumption that that the one marketed to is expected to take on board is that the earlier view is 'of course' right because it's earlier and the later 'of course' wrong because it's later. But it all depends on how you tell the story. One way is to say that this was lost early on and now, thank God we've found it. The other way is to say that our understanding is now evolved and the newer idea has superseded the old. Can you see the problem? There's no way to tell which is the true tale. Which means no re-discovery has taken place. We've merely found something we like better than what we had. And we're willing to depend on a bad sales job, namely, what C.S.Lewis used to call chronological snobbery, to assure ourselves that it's the right one.

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