We are more accustomed to thinking of syncretism as an errant imposition on the biblical text from culture. The point often overlooked is that even church and denominational subcultures are shaped by various dynamics in their surrounding culture(s). Who possibly knows the all the ways Christian organizations reflect the values and priorities of the numerous cultures in which we belong?
Furthermore, the inertia of tradition moves us along. We filter out certain texts and theological conclusions; or perhaps, we will overemphasize ideas beyond what is found in Scripture. In effect, our traditions and “Christian” subcultures create biases and impose significance or meaning into a passage.
Below is an excerpt from The Theology of Paul the Apostle by noted New Testament scholar James D. G. Dunn, where he briefly explores some of the earliest Christian traditions and how they are identified. Continue reading “The Earliest Christian Traditions”
One of the truly great church men of last century, missionary and theologian Lesslie Newbigin in his book The Household of God a collection of lectures on ecclesiology, identified the three main historic Christian traditions: Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholic and Protestant. He also proposed an addition to these historic traditions: Pentecostal. Continue reading “The Pentecostal Way”