What's Postconservative Evangelical? Theology Unfinished, 'Inerrancy' Not Dogmatic: Roger Olson

"Postconservative evangelical theology is evangelical theology that does not consider the constructive task of theology finished. Conservative evangelical theology is evangelical theology that considers the constructive task of theology finished." - CPost

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Jeff Howell's picture

Does anyone else besides me ever entertain the thought that sometimes academia appears so disconnected from the vast majority of believers within Christ's church that it makes your spiritual heart hurt? That is my statement of sorrowful bewilderment at such verbiage that Olson is putting forth. To think I preach with confidence and joy, affirming a "thus saith the Lord" according to Scripture, when I should realize that there is some new nuance and qualification that I should be pursuing. 

TylerR's picture


Agreed. That's the feeling I get when I read many academic articles, and it makes me feel sick.

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and works in State government. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

Bert Perry's picture

It reminds me of the reality that a lot of nonsense is published by universities because you can't get your Ph.D. for saying previous people got it right; since there's only so much truth out there, especially in the liberal arts, that means a lot of falsehood gets published because that's how you get the degree and a shot at a professorship.

That noted, even as one who will freely admit that his approach to Scripture follows the "KISS" principle fairly closely, it strikes me that there is a tremendous amount of good scholarship to be done with Scripture.  For example, I would dare suggest that there is a tremendous amount of good analysis to be done with prophecy that falls into neither the "spiritualizing" trap nor John Hagee's "Paperback Writer" approach.  So I think Olson's critique might somewhat reflect some valid critiques of how "we" tend to operate, but it's unfair when one steps back and takes a good look at how conservative theology ought to operate.  No need to jettison Sola Scriptura or the inerrancy of Scripture to do that.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

WallyMorris's picture

Olson's beliefs on theology go back many years. See his Who Needs Theology (1996, InterVarsity Press) where he lays the groundwork for what you see today.

Wally Morris

Charity Baptist Church

Huntington, IN


Bruce Rettig's picture

This is utter nonsense:

"Postconservatives want to free evangelical theology from its paradoxical captivity to rationalism and its obsession with 'facts' so that it may recognize truth in experience and personal knowledge."

So truth and facts can be at odds? Sounds like "cultural accommodation" to me.



O taste and see that the Lord is good:

Blessed is the man that trusteth in him. 

Psalm 34:8

Rob Fall's picture

where the anti-academic sensibility in the pew came from.

Hoping to shed more light than heat..