The Adventurous Phillip Clayton and The Predicament of Belief

I never got around to finishing a series of posts from last September. Maybe my schedule amped up and I just did not get around to it. It could have been I encountered a bit of writer’s block on that particular subject. I may have found a way to bring that series to an end, albeit six months later and not like I intended.

The underlying theme for that series of posts involved conversations, friendships, and adventurous theology. Normally once you have conversations about adventurous theology your friends get nervous, work to keep you in a particular fold, or un-friend you – maybe on Facebook.

My experience is less about my own theological turns and more about my willingness to engage others and learn from them. Too often we fear someone might persuade us. In turn we limit our exposure to critiques offered by others, stand aloof from any ideas they have found important to their faithfulness to Jesus, and in general offer “Thanks, but no thanks” out of fear our social circles might find out. Truth be told many times what keeps us beholden to a particular position is more sociological than convictional. And that reality crosses disciplines, religions, and more.

My friend Tripp and I were chatting late last year and he suggested I should head out to sunny SoCal and participate in a series of theological conversations. He was to play host for the event and he wanted his “favorite living Southern Baptist” to be a panelist. I was to be one of two who would interact with Phillip Clayton and his new book, The Predicament of Belief.

Phillip represents my third illustration regarding “scary others” not in the hallway. I read a piece where Phillip had been in conversation with Jains. Like many of you, I am unfamiliar with this particular religious tradition. What sparked my interest in his conversation was his statement that discussions with others do not have the effect of turning someone away from their Christian convictions, but in some ways help us clarify and articulate differences while maintaining friendship. I would add, who knows where and how that friendship may be the very place the Spirit of God intersects others in love and grace.

This Thursday evening Tripp is hosting a theology nerd book party at Phillip’s house.

The book, The Predicament of Belief, is the culmination of nearly 25 years of thinking through a rational justification for faith that takes science seriously. I warn you, the book is no bedtime reading venture. The event will be live streamed. You may RSVP here.

I already offered one question for Phillip while sitting on that panel. I do have another.

Phillip, since you offer six degrees of justification for belief in chapter 7, why did you choose to modify a form of adoptionism? It seems that such a move is as much a lower degree of justification as the orthodox vision of Incarnation following your spectrum? Seems that for some this may problematize your entire project. 

About the Author
Husband to Patty. Daddy to Kimberly and Tommie. Grandpa Doc to Cohen, Max, Fox, and Marlee. Pastor to Snow Hill Baptist Church. Graduate of Oklahoma Baptist University and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Reading. Photography. Golf. Colorado. Jeeping. Friend. The views and opinions expressed here are my own and should not be construed as representing the corporate views of the church I pastor.

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