Tilling’s Tillingisms and My Responses
Tilling’s ideas are the bullet points. My response italic.
• “Christian faith involves *personal relationship* with Jesus” (it really does, and no, it’s not just a modern invention, even if the specific phrase is. Nor is this to reduce Christian faith to some kind of individualistic piety)
• “hate the sin but love the sinner” (yep, I even endorse this as heuristically helpful. There is also a case for claiming that it is necessarily true, theologically speaking. Behind the denial of this proposition can lie the more sinister world of thought policing, particularly as deployed by those sucked into identity politics)
• “evangelical universalism is coherent with creedal orthodoxy” (hell, yes)
there’s no such thing as evangelical universalism, there’s only the heresy of universalism pretending it’s evangelical.
• “Paul’s theology presents a trinitarian theology in a Jewish idiom” (of course everybody wants to shout aloud that trinitarian theology is an anachronism for reading Paul’s letters. But if the phrase “in Jewish idiom” is taken seriously, then trinitarian theology is not an anachronism.)
not really. but almost.
• “the various texts that constitute the Bible contradict themselves on numerous occasions on matters of history and theology” (this helpfully recalibrates what we mean when we aim to speak of “truth” in Christian terms. Acknowledgement of this statement, however, is not alone a sufficient posture towards the canonical corpus)
have different aims than, rather than contradict. the bible isn’t a history book and its various theologians have their own points to make.
• copyist errors, which are introduced into the biblical manuscript tradition, can constitute theological truth (well, why not?!)
no- they just indicate laziness, carelessness, or stupidity.
• “a canon within a canon cannot take the canon seriously” (let me put my position more provocatively: only an approach that endorses a canon within a canon can take the canon seriously… Okay, I don’t really believe that, but the sentence was fun to write)