An Evil Question

Written by Mark Van Steenwyk : November 16, 2004

It seems to me that there has been little discussion within the emergent/pomo/post-liberal/post-evangelical/etc. dialogue about the nature of evil and the nature of Satan.  Why do you suppose that is?

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8 Responses to “An Evil Question”

  1. Jesse Gavin on November 16th, 2004 2:16 pm

    Because Satan isn’t trendy enough.

  2. Van S on November 16th, 2004 2:21 pm

    That is a good point. Much is determined by trendiness. But who determines the trends? I think many of the current trends in the Church started out of a valid concern. I think many reject such trends simply because they are trendy, and therefore react back into 17th Century Calvinism (hence the popularity of John Piper and the like). I think serious thought about evil and Satan is probably neglected by most Christians–except our Pentecostal and Charismatic sisters and brothers, who tend to over-indulge in speculation about evil and the occult. WHere is the balanced view?

  3. andy gr on November 16th, 2004 3:47 pm

    Because many of us come from contexts where ’spritual warfar’ and ‘deliverance’ were big (and sometimes pastorally destructive) themes, and we overcompensate by hardly mentioning evil/Satan at all?

    Or because the people we encounter in our culture are already quite aware enough of the darkness, and we just want to bring in a candle?

  4. Chris B. on November 16th, 2004 5:34 pm

    The last thing the emergent movement needs is more candles. ;)

  5. Blorge on November 16th, 2004 6:10 pm

    It’s not only this, but people within the regular evangelical camp. For instance, Wolfhart Pannenberg and people in the theology of hope movement tend to not have this emphasis. Karls Barth, and Rhaner, Paul Tillich, and many other of the “big” theologians of the twentieth centuries haven’t emphasized this metaphysical reality. It’s much wider than the camps you have mentioned, Mark. Evangelical, post-evangelical, post-liberal, pomo, and emergent theologians need to come out of the liberal theology and philosophies that have made this de-emphasis possible to begin with.

  6. Blorge on November 17th, 2004 7:55 am

    I forgot to mention that there is a growing number of scholars in whatever “camp” who are drawing from these significant figures in theology. For instance, Bethel Seminary’ LeRon Shults.

  7. Jeremy on November 17th, 2004 12:53 pm

    Does any tradition have an adequate theology of Satan? Honestly, the conservative Protestant tradition to me seems just as bankrupt in this area as the emergent/missional tradition (ah, it’s a tradition already!). If your main theological theme is the absolute sovereignty of God, then there’s not much point in talking about Satan. He is merely one of many “secondary causes.”

  8. Chris B. on November 18th, 2004 4:36 pm

    Alright, I’ll do it. You guys have brow beat me long enough, I’ll do it. I’ll write the definitive modern theodicy that has been lacking for over a century. And when I have completed this monstrous work, don’t say I never did anything for you.

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