Jesus Creed

Well, a real bug-bear of a term now comes up in Roger Olson’s Reformed and Always Reforming, chp. 5: Propositionalism. What is it? And what are the alternatives when it comes to understanding revelation and Scripture?
“A proposition … is a statement of fact interpreted as correspondence between and word and objective reality” (154).
And, postconservatives are concerned that conventional/conservative evangelicalism has been captivated by an excessive concern for the propositional nature of revelation. And Olson points here at Carl Henry and Paul Helm.
LeRon Shults and Alister McGrath both contend that there is an excessive concern with propositions in evangelical theology. They do not deny propositions; they think theology is more than stringing together the propositions into a systematic theology.
Olson: “Information is important and inescapable, but other uses of speech and other modes of revelation can be transformative” (159). And Olson emphasizes that postconservatives know that our putting together is an act of interpretation.
If we could do this — string together the propositions into a systematics — would the Bible be necessary any longer? (Frankly, this question is more important than many will admit.)
Olson sees three orders of speech:
1. God’s Word read.
2. Testimony and praise.
3. Theological articulation.
Only narrative enables the fullness of God’s Word: only in the narrative do the propositions make sense. “For narrative theology, truth is disclosure of a reality that transcends direct apprehension through the senses or reason and that transforms persons by absorbing them into a great epic story” (168).
Here he points to Clark Pinnock, Stan Grenz, John Franke and Kevin Vanhoozer.

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